One of the most important parts of running an IT company is your choice of small business phone system. Businesses make and field calls every day, so they need a reliable way to manage those calls and take messages. Phone systems can make all the difference when it comes to improving workflow productivity.
So today, the team at Succurri is here to tell you everything you need to know about phone systems for small businesses.
Contact us today to discuss selling your IT business.
What Are Business Phone Systems?
Business phone systems, like residential phone systems, give businesses a way to manage all their ingoing and outgoing calls. Unlike residential systems, business phone systems have several additional features for more complex call management, such as:
- Multiple lines. Businesses can allow employees and callers to switch between multiple phone lines to field several calls simultaneously.
- Conference calls. Conference calls allow multiple people to participate in the same call at a designated time. Conference call features are an important component of modern hybrid work environments.
- Call forwarding. With call forwarding, businesses can send calls to different levels and even email addresses.
- Call holding. Call holding allows you to hold calls until a staff member can answer the phone line. You can even add music for the caller to listen to when on hold.
- Headset support. Business phone systems have wireless and wired headset compatibility to reduce the fatigue of holding a phone up all day.
- Visual voicemail. Visual voicemail services not only store messages but can also transcribe and send them to the intended recipient via text or email.
What Are the Different Phone Systems for Small Businesses?
Modern offices use three main types of business phone systems: KSU, PBX, and VoIP. Below is a summary of these types of phone systems and their pros and cons.
Key system units (KSUs) are one of the older models of office phone systems and are usually used by small businesses with fewer than 40 employees. These easy-to-use systems carry all the standard features a small business would want, such as operators, voicemail, and call waiting
The main feature of a KSU is the central unit, which operators use to switch phone lines and direct calls. Some KSU systems do away with the central unit and have a wireless setup. Generally speaking, these are the cheapest kinds of business phone systems.
The main downside of a KSU is its relative inflexibility. KSUs typically only have up to 40 phone lines and do not allow many options for company growth. They’re best suited for smaller businesses that don’t have plans for growth.
Private branch exchange (PBX) systems are more advanced phone systems and have programmable central units, which does away with the need for individual operators. These switching devices can automatically reroute calls to the intended recipient.
PBX systems have a lot of automation and are better suited for larger businesses. High-end PBX systems have a diverse range of features for businesses, like call holding, call forwarding, voicemail, and more. Many PBX systems also have a separate power unit so you can still use them in the event of power outages.
The main benefit of PBX systems is their scale and flexibility. Some of the largest businesses use turnkey PBX systems to manage hundreds, if not thousands, of calls every day. PBX systems require substantial hardware installation, so they are usually more expensive than KSU systems.
Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is a relatively recent type of phone system that uses internet connectivity to provide phone functions. VoIP phone systems are highly scalable and can directly interface with your existing internet connection, reducing hardware and installation costs.
Business owners can opt for self-hosted versions of VoIP systems. However, since VoIP systems rely on an internet connection, you cannot use them when the internet is down. The upshot is that VoIP systems provide fast connections with the clarity and speed of a high-speed internet connection.
Another benefit of a VoIP business phone system is how you can use the protocols on different devices, like smartphones or tablets. However, internet latency issues mean you can experience stuttering and lag on calls. If you want something scalable, then VoIP is most likely your best choice.
The Best Phone Systems for Small Business
Below is a quick list showing the most popular and best phone services for small businesses.
RingCentral offers cloud phone systems for businesses. Their suite of technology includes options for phone calls, SMS, faxes, messaging, and video meetings. You can connect to the system and control it via a smartphone app, providing mobility for the world of remote work.
They have four tiers of services ranging from Essentials to Ultimate. The Essentials plan includes basic toll-free calling for up to 20 users in addition to voicemail-to-text and team messaging. Higher-level plans include remote monitoring, device reports, and extension codes, among other features.
Nextiva’s phone systems are cloud-operated and focus on scalable solutions for small and large businesses. Nextiva has options for basic phone services as well as conference calling, HD video calling, number pointing, and nationwide unlimited calling.
Nextiva offers two levels of service ranging from Professional to Enterprise. Professional comes with unlimited national calling, unlimited SMS, and video meetings. Enterprise contains everything in the Professional level as well as CRM business integrations, call recording, and real-time voice analytics.
Ooma offers phone systems for businesses and homes. Their flagship products are their small business and enterprise phone system packages. They also sell VoIP hardware individually for businesses and individuals.
Ooma offers three levels of service for small businesses: Standard, Enhanced, and Call Center. The Standard package features basic calling functionality in addition to text messaging, caller info, conference calls, a virtual receptionist, and a desktop/mobile app. The Call Center package has advanced features like call queues, automatic routing, intelligent reconnect, and more.
Vonage’s suite of VoIP technologies for companies in several industries ranging from healthcare to education. Vonage’s list of services includes basic phone calling and voice mail services as well as advanced features like conference calling, call forwarding, and virtual assistants. Vonage is also relatively inexpensive and offers landline and mobile compatibility.
Vonage has three tiers for business phone systems: Mobile, Premium, and Advanced. Mobile comes with basic calling and text features, while Premium adds unlimited meetings, CRM integration, and multi-line phone systems for small business. The Advanced plan adds call recording and visual voicemail in addition to call group features.
Last on our list is Dialpad. Dialpad offers VoIP systems and their signature Voice Intelligence feature that can analyze calls to extract useful data on customer conversions, customer sentiment, and post-call summaries. Dialpad has the standard bevy of VoIP features, including calling, messaging, and video conferences.
Dialpad’s plans start at Standard and Pro, with an Enterprise option for larger businesses. The Standard plan comes with unlimited calling, text, and web support, as well as Microsoft 365 integration. The Pro level adds international support, CRM integrations, and an open API so clients can customize their setup.
IT Service Buyers
Figuring out the right phone system is an important part of making the workplace as efficient as possible. Phone systems can greatly increase productivity if you tailor them to your company’s size and workflow.
Succurri is the Everett area’s premier IT merger and acquisition expert. We can help IT professionals like you sell your business, freeing you up for other projects. Contact us online or call today to get an IT evaluation!