Great value VoIP business phone systems
So you’re looking at new business phone systems. You’ve heard the great things about Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and its many advantages over traditional wire-based telecommunications systems, and decided to make the switch.
Great. Now all you need are some new phones, software, and related materials to go with your new technology. But what kind of set-up is ideal for your business – and which are the products worth considering?
Choosing A Business Phone
There are several factors you should take into account, among them being:
- Cost: How far does your budget stretch, and how much equipment do you need to cater for your entire organisation?
- Calling Features: Draw up a list of required/desired features like auto-attendants, call recording, voicemail, one-click dialling, integration with computer systems, CRM, etc.
- Installation, Management, and Maintenance Options: How easy will it be to set up and run? Will you need to buy and install equipment on site, yourself?
- Mobility and Collaboration Options: Especially if your workforce is widespread or on the move, you’ll need number portability, call routing and forwarding in the mix.
- Reliability and Service: You’ll need equipment from a reputable manufacturer – and the assurance of help whenever you require it.
Beyond this, there are other considerations that will affect how your new VoIP system is deployed and managed.
Physical Or Virtual?
A virtual phone system operates by re-routing business calls to remote workers on their domestic or mobile phones. If you’re on a tight budget, have a large number of remote staff, or have a very small organisation, this might be a viable option – and one that could require minimum investment in new hardware.
Systems offer a range of functions like call forwarding, call screening, voicemail, online fax, and automated receptionists. But all traffic is routed via your existing mobile, Smart phone Ap or domestic phone network – with charges to match.
On Premises Or In The Cloud?
If you’re a larger enterprise with space on site, and a desire to keep in-house control of your own equipment and data, then an on-premises PBX (private branch exchange) with associated hardware may be for you. There’s greater capital outlay involved, and the management overhead of maintaining and monitoring the system will require specialist assistance.
By contrast, a cloud-based subscription service eliminates the need for complex hardware installations on site (you may need to buy or rent VoIP-enabled phones, headsets, and software), and shifts the responsibility for managing and maintaining the system to your service provider or host.
The Pick Of The Bunch
It’s a buyer’s market to a large extent – and there are several cost-effective and feature-rich options out there for a range of business environments.
For Micro-Enterprises & Small Offices: For businesses with a staff of 16 or less, Samsung OfficeServ 7030 features include auto-attendants, voicemail to email, and ring groups. Special IP phones aren’t required, and there’s a virtual phone system option, if you wish to use your own mobile phones (such as those offered by Samsung, a partner of LG Networks).
For Smaller Businesses: A range of IP Desk Phones (£75 – £250) support from 3-16 lines, and provide call features and technology normally associated with higher-priced phones. The cloud-based phone services offers a comprehensive set of features and tools for small to medium-sized businesses, coupled with a top-notch customer support service.
For The Remote Workforce: Hosted Systems offer a low-cost option for enterprises having a largely remote workforce, that nonetheless offers a wide range of features including “softphones” (a headset and telecommunications software) for laptop and desktop users, and a dedicated mobile app.
For Call Centres & Larger Enterprises: If opting for a hosted system, The Polycom SoundPoint IP Series of desk phones (£56 – £419) provide great sound quality (including HD in their 650 and 670 models) and solutions for a range of businesses – including expansion modules for reception desks and call centres. For in-house service provision, the Samsung OfficeServ phone system provides the infrastructure and features required for call centre operation, and is available as either an on-premises or hosted.