Aside from partner-to-partner or interdepartmental communications, business phone services offer small, mid-sized and large enterprises the opportunity to create strong relationships with their customers. Typically, there are three kinds of systems companies can use to fuel these interactions: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN) and cloud hosted platforms.
Moving past the switchboard
Traditionally, businesses didn't have much of a choice when it game to leveraging a phone system. According to Business2Community, a private branch exchange (pbx) - more popularly known as a switchboard - was connected to tangible lines and then programmed to manage calls as required. However, cloud hosting provides enterprises with a more versatile, flexible option that is likely to grow cheaper to implement over time.
One of the benefits associated with cloud-driven phone systems is that they allow company employees dispersed across multiple locations to correspond with clients, partners and coworkers much more easily than with traditional pbx platforms. For example, a staff member may have two different numbers - one for the office and another for home. By using the online control panel - or a mobile application, depending on the solution his or her company utilizes - a worker can forward all incoming calls to the appropriate location.
Another perk that comes with adopting a cloud-hosted telephone system is that it's generally cost effective. For one thing, businesses don't have to spend time and capital implementing and maintaining circuits. The solution is easy to deploy and allows more employees to communicate on a phone at once, depending on the quality of the broadband.
Sara Angeles, a staff writer for BusinessNewsDaily, compared and contrasted the benefits and drawbacks associated with VoIP. This technology has grown more popular with businesses looking to scale back on expenses - the majority of organizations providing this type of service typically offer contracts that cost under $20 per month. Obviously, this figure varies with the size of the business. For example, the rates may differ between an enterprise with 30 employees and another possessing 300 workers.
"The cost savings can be substantial because most VoIP plans include your service and all of your calling for one low monthly price," said Telecomquotes.com CEO Michael Bremmer, as quoted by Angeles. "VoIP features allow you to have big company features for a small company price."
One of the benefits of VoIP is the ability to create multiple phone numbers for each team member, in addition to several toll-free numbers. In light of this aspect, it's important for organizations to remember that the operability of VoIP is dependent on the user's Internet connection. If an enterprise's bandwidth is lackluster, than adoption may not be in its best interests.
Angeles also outlined the pros and cons associated with PSTN, which is very similar to pbx business phone lines but supported by an outsourced company. Integrating the system with a business isn't difficult, as no additional hardware or software is necessary. Also, it isn't going to take employees a long time to adjust to the procedure.
However, Angeles noted that PSTN phone systems are typically more expensive than VoIP. Due to the fact that PSTN platforms operate through conventional landlines, it can cost hundreds of dollars per month, which can be a bane to many small businesses with limited budgets. For enterprises operating across multiple regions and locations, the less expensive option (usually a $25 monthly charge) is simply impractical.
Out of the three primary business phone services offered, it all depends on what's more practical for a business. If a company is more locally based, than PSTN may be its best option, while nationwide enterprises should consider cloud hosting or VoIP.