With so many modes of communication in play in the modern business environment, especially the recent growth in video conferencing, it’s tempting to think phone lines are less relevant.
But a professional business phone system remains an important tool for most businesses today.
Business phone systems have diversified. While traditional PBX and IP PBX services still have their function in offices, companies have increasingly moved to VoIP systems, which transfer voice signals across the internet in data packets. The best VoIP providers offer features difficult to implement in a traditional phone system at a low cost.
In this article, we discuss seven reasons a business phone system is a must for a growing business.
1. Ease of use
A business phone system simplifies your small business communications by consolidating many features into one place. Instead of trying to juggle several tools for call forwarding, call logs, conference calls, online meetings, and call screening, you can do it all with one system.
Business phone systems offer many features that consumer phone lines can’t match. You can set up advanced call notifications, rule-based call screening, and smart call routing. And it’s easy to integrate your phone system with online tools like Microsoft Outlook, Google Apps, helpdesk software, or a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
2. Lower costs
Older phone systems are expensive, bulky, and a pain to wire into a building. There are ongoing maintenance costs, and they often need specialized support. If you try to rely on consumer telephone lines or cell phones, you’ll quickly find it expensive.
Business phone systems, particularly newer systems that use VoIP, are much cheaper to install and run. Many VoIP systems are off-site, so installation and maintenance costs are tiny. And they come with advanced features that are expensive to implement in a traditional PBX system.
Your business might start out needing only one phone but then quickly balloon to needing 50, and consumer telephone systems scale poorly. The new phone infrastructure required to handle this growth is expensive, time-consuming to install, disruptive, and prone to error. And what happens when your business later goes through a lull? You’re left paying for 50 phone lines you’re hardly using.
New business phone systems, particularly VoIP and cloud-based systems, scale with your business needs. It's easy and inexpensive to add new phone lines when you need them and to scale them back when you don’t. You can add and remove features like call forwarding with no new investment in physical hardware. This scalability is a big reason businesses are switching to VoIP in droves.
If you’re relying on personal phone numbers for business, it’s only a matter of time before your work life encroaches on your personal life. Giving your cell phone number out to customers is initially empowering, as you’re able to get out of the office while still getting work done. But it also means they’re able to call you whenever they want, which can be a problem when you’re trying to balance work and life.
Now consider how many businesses are happy with their employees using their own devices for work calls. Customer contact data and call logs are being stored on personal devices. This is risky, as your business data is exposed if the phone is lost or stolen. Or if the employee leaves the company, they take your proprietary client data with them.
Business phone systems offer a separation between work and personal calls. You can easily keep your work calls separate by using a different phone number, and you can set up automated call forwarding rules so people can only contact you when you see fit.
Most entrepreneurs who have had success growing a business will attest that projecting a professional image at all times is crucial. Even when your business is small, it needs to look and act like one of the more established institutions in your niche.
Not only does using a great business phone system make your business seem larger, but it also suggests to your clients and potential clients you have the skills and wherewithal to solve their business problems. By routing calls quickly to the right people, offering quality voicemail, and keeping track of a customer’s needs with the right tools, you can exude an air of confidence and professionalism.
Little touches like hold music, seamlessly transferring a call between your office phone and your cell phone, or transferring calls to other people in your company help you offer impressive customer support service to your callers.
6. Business continuity
The idea of business hours has all but passed. As more and more businesses go online and stretch out to international markets, consumers increasingly expect 24/7 services across multiple timezones. They don’t want to hear that you’re out of the office, on a lunch break, or unavailable for any other reason.
With a business phone system, you can work from anywhere while still being available through the same central number. If you’re on a call, incoming calls can be routed to another person, or you can offer voicemail.
As your business grows, you can add an automated agent that can help answer some customers’ queries without requiring human intervention, or at least transfer their call to the correct team. These features greatly improve the customer experience, as people are no longer being told to call back some other time.
A business phone system improves communication, not just between you and your customers, but internally in your company. When your employees can easily connect with each other without getting up from their seats, you see increased teamwork and productivity.
The centralized nature of a business phone system makes it easier to share resources. Instead of each member of a sales team keeping their own list of customer data, you can pair a business phone system with CRM or helpdesk software so everyone can collaborate on sales as a team. Notes on when customers were called, what their status is, and who is dealing with the query are available for all to see.
Business phone systems are an important tool for any modern business that wants to project an air of professionalism. Even small businesses can benefit from features like call waiting, call forwarding, and hold music as they offer a better experience for customers.
Modern business phone systems lower the costs of phone communication through the use of off-site exchanges and VoIP. You get exciting features like rule-based call screening, advanced call notifications, and smart call routing, all at a very low cost. And when your business grows, it's easy and inexpensive to grow your phone system with it.
Put simply: business phone systems offer huge advantages over consumer phone systems for almost any company.
Find out more about the benefits of VoIP in our article. What is VoIP: a guide for businesses.