Few things are more important for businesses than communication. If employees cannot reach out to each other and clients easily and effectively, the organization as a whole will suffer. With this in mind, choosing the right business phone system is essential. A powerful, intuitive phone system can dramatically improve a firm's collaborative capabilities and overall efficiency.
Here are five key features to look for when choosing a business phone system.
1. Computer connection
One particularly useful factor to consider is a computer connection. Speaking to Business News Daily, Ryan Scott, a marketing specialist with a premium chauffeured transportation provider, emphasized that virtual phones have yielded significant results for his company. He told the news source that the business's employees have the ability to activate their extensions via virtual phone on their laptops.
"[U]sing my computer as a virtual phone, I can take and make phone calls and do anything no matter where I am, as long as I have [an] Internet connection," Scott said, the news source reported. "I can even install a 'soft phone' app on my iPhone and get an entirely new level of mobility out of it."
For businesses with employees who need to move around a lot, the ability to make calls through the computer can have a major impact on performance.
2. Number control
Another key issue to keep in mind is the ability to control the user's phone number. If you have employees working outside the office or plan to move offices but don't want to change your numbers, you need an advanced business phone system.
Specifically, a hosted phone system is likely the best choice. Writing for Small Business UK, industry expert Matthew Guise recently noted that these resources provide diverse capabilities.
"With a hosted number you can divert calls to any other landline, mobile or international number. You can instantly change this destination number as often as you want through an online control panel," he wrote.
3. Voicemail transcription
The ability to transcribe voicemails is another key feature, as Business News Daily highlighted. Speaking to the source, business owner Gabriel Mays claimed that this is his single favorite feature of his firm's phone system because of how often it comes in handy.
"Whenever a voicemail is left, typically after hours, we'll get an email with the transcribed message," said Mays, the source reported. "This lets us quickly and easily review the voicemail in a non-intrusive way."
A broader feature to look for when choosing business phone systems is flexibility. The more flexible a system is, the more likely it will prove to be a long-term solution. This is especially important for organizations that plan or hope to expand or move in the coming years.
Once again, hosted phone systems are usually the best choice in this area. As Guise pointed out, hosted systems can take advantage of the cloud's innate scalability. Businesses can either increase or decrease their usage of the provider's offerings as needed, without being forced to invest in costly hardware. For firms that experience varying levels of activity throughout the year, such flexibility can translate into major savings.
5. Remote callback
A final valuable feature to seek out is the ability to call back remotely. Speaking to Business News Daily, Alan Friedlander, president of a financial firm, called this the most important aspect of his business phone system.
"If I push '8' while listening to a message on any phone, the system will redial and the client will see my office phone number on their caller ID," Friedlander said, the news source reported. "This saves me a lot of time, because I can return many phone calls from the convenience of my cell phone and the client will not know my cell number nor know that I am out of the office."
This ability therefore also provides a huge potential boost to productivity and can improve response times.