Alexander Graham Bell and his invention is such an integral part of our life that life without it seems difficult. Doing business without it is well, nigh impossible! A communication system is the life breath of every business and the decision on the business telephone system is one of the most critical decisions a business will make.
The business telephone system, when chosen right, can do wonders by connecting customers to the business and ensuring a smooth interface between the two while yielding economies due to such use. When the decision on the system is wrong, then it can wreak havoc in the business customer dissatisfaction being just one of the many resultant issues.
Since this is such a critical aspect of modern business units, how do you ensure you buy the right business telephone system for your business? There is no simple formula to this. A decision made with full knowledge and awareness of the critical aspects to be considered, will have a better probability of yielding the right result.
Here are a few factors, which you should consider, when going in for a business telephone system.
- Your company and its place in the growth curve: A company, which plans minimal growth in the next 5 years, will need less or no extension buffers than a company in its growth phase. Estimate the growth of your unit and decide on a system, which will allow potential enhancements seamlessly. The cost of such enhancements also should be considered and compared, prior to making the decision.
- Current requirement of extensions and lines based on current business needs: The number of external telephone lines, the number of extensions (some users may need a couple of extensions) are all to be considered along with the flexibility of the system to lend itself to future expansion.
- The life expectation of the system and its maintenance requirements: The time the system is expected to sustain optimum efficiency with least maintenance and, in case of maintenance, the estimated cost and time for maintenance.
- The telephone system feature package that your business needs: The system should also be one that allows convenient customization.
The basic features one would look for in a business telephony system would be the following.
- Auto attendant - which will give options to the callers for routing their calls
- Automated Directory allows the offer to search and pick an extension from a list
- Call Forward gives the option to forward calls
- Call Hold allows for holding calls when necessary
- Conferencing allows more than one extension ,and sometimes an external line, to hook up for conferences
- Voice mail allows messages to be left when the user is unable to attend calls
- Other features like Speed dial, Redial, Paging, Music on hold, Backup Power, Call recording, Call reporting, Call accounting etc
Additional higher end features like remote maintenance can also be considered.
- User friendly and training requirements: A system that has multiple users and is in use daily for long hours needs to be easy to understand and operate. The initial training requirements and the time taken for the system to be operational is another consideration
- Memory or storage space of calls especially where it is a 24 hour unit
- Installation and set up time
- Cost of the system and cost of additional features and how it fits into your budget
- Service Level agreements with the service provider, warranties and guarantees
Your decision to invest in a business telephone system would involve these basic considerations and more as per your individual business needs. It is not the latest or the biggest system that will yield returns for your business but the one that fits your business needs right and can help your business grow.