Small business phones have become a necessity to most companies that have a network of contacts. There are many ways to set up a local or toll-free number for this purpose but it’s difficult to find one that suits your budget and the type of business you run. The two main types of phones used by call centers are the hardware-based ones or software-based ones. Both have their pros and cons when it comes to usage.
The most expensive type of small business phones are cordless handsets that have to be plugged into a wall socket and are usually not very reliable. If they don’t work, the company will be without telephone service for days. These are the biggest problems for small businesses that rely on the Internet and email to expand their business. Cordless handsets also use up a lot of battery power, which means that you will need to have an extra source of power.
One alternative is a software-based handset, which can be a great choice for a small business with fewer phones. Features include auto attendant, instant messenger, SMS, and various other web functions. Some of these can even be used as a cell phone. You can hook your auto attendant to your laptop or a remote support device if you’re traveling so that all your employees will have access to the Internet wirelessly.
Another choice for small business phones is a two line or three-line systems. These systems are cheaper than cordless handsets but they still function quite well if used with an answering machine. They are also not as dependable as a modern cell phone. Even though the call quality won’t be as good, most calls made using these phones will be better than most landlines.
Most modern cell phones come with auto-dialer programs. These allow multiple lines to be connected to the same telephone number and route all incoming calls to the correct line. This reduces the time it takes for your customers to get a hold of a customer service representative. Customer service representatives are trained in handling all types of calls and can usually schedule calls with customers at the designated times. Some customer service representative jobs require that they be available at all hours, making these or three-line small business phones ideal for businesses with employees that can be away from their offices at any given time.
A third option for small business phones is a full-featured unified communications system. These systems include both a trunk and a hosted PBX. Trunked systems are used by large companies because they offer more features for a higher price. However, many small businesses find these systems to be less expensive and more flexible, and are a good choice for smaller businesses.
Small business phones that include voice mail and caller id options offer great advantages over traditional phones. Caller id allows callers to stay anonymous and allows you to block certain phone numbers from calling your business. Handsets that include voice mail allow you to send greeting cards, coupons, and automated e-mails to your customers. Both of these options reduce the need for expensive and annoying flyers or other written materials. Also, a handset that includes voice mail has the added benefit of delivering your messages immediately, allowing your staff to focus on more important tasks.
Another thing to look for when choosing a small business phone system is ease of use. The interface must be user friendly and configure easily enough for even the most inexperienced of users. Great buttons should be easy to access and buttons that do not change when a call comes in should be easy to use. The ease of use should extend to how quickly callers can be connected to the correct phone line and routed. The last thing you want to happen is to customers who can’t connect to your phone system because the system is being overwhelmed or the phone number displayed is not a match for the number being dialed. All of these things are important factors that must be considered before purchasing small business phones.