Running a startup is never easy. You need to find your target audience, do marketing, develop services or products, and so on, just to get noticed in the market. However, if there’s another important thing that you should consider for your startup, it’s the business phone system that you should use.
No matter what type of business or how big or small it is, the need for reliable small business phone systems is important not just for your workplace but also for meeting your client’s communication requirements.
A business phone system makes it easy to communicate beyond and within your startup. It isn’t only used for receiving and making calls. These days, phone systems enable businesses for a more unified communication experience which combines conferencing, messaging, and some mobility options for businesses and their workers.
If you’re confused with the options available in the market, below are some of the things you should take into consideration when choosing a business phone system for your startup:
The cost structure you prefer may impact your hosting option. With an on-premise system, you pay for the installation and equipment upfront, and user license fees.
The prices start at a few thousand dollars and may rise easily depending on the equipment you choose as well as the number of employees you have. There are also providers that charge monthly fees for the packages they offer.
2.Types Of Business Phone Systems Available
There are various types of phone systems you can consider and these include:
- Landline – It’s the traditional phone system that uses an optical fiber telephone line to avail the services of a local phone company.
Generally, landlines depend on the physical wire connections monitored and are usually run by a regional phone company. It means that opting for landlines would guarantee a dependable connection, but there might be fewer features in comparison to online-based phone systems.
- Virtual Phone System – These are a good option for startups with remote work or lots of employees working in different locations.
Virtual phone systems aren’t full-fledged. But rather, it helps provide multiple features for your business while still operating on your home phone or mobile network.
- VoIP – It pairs your phone system with the internet and connects you with other users through your interest service provider. Depending on how reliable your internet connection is, this can be bad or good for your business.
There are several benefits to using a VoIP system. It offers a lot of features that could be advantageous for your startup. The system depends on the power of the internet and doesn’t require costly hardware. Because of this, VoIP plans can be more affordable than the landline options depending on the number of users you want to add to your system.
If you choose VoIP, you should decide if you like the system hosted in the cloud or at your business. Hosting it at your business is referred to as establishing an on-premise VoIP phone system, which involves renting or buying costly software outright and paying monthly fees.
3. Current And Future Needs Of Your Startup
You must check if the phone system meets your current needs and would be useful for your future growth as a startup. Your startup may be small today, but with your efforts, it could grow in the future, and of course, you’d want to expand it over the next few years. For this reason, your chosen phone system must be able to accommodate your future growth.
Fortunately, phone systems like cloud VoIP make it easy for you to remove and add lines per your requirements. Plus, you only have to pay for what you need and assign numbers to the new hires in minutes. However, it’s important to note that not all phone systems work the same, so make sure to do your research.
It’s one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a business phone system for your startup. A small business may choose a variety of options that are supposedly intended for big businesses. However, once you go overboard with routing systems and fancy virtual attendants, you might turn off your customers who might be used to a more personal approach.
With employees, it’s best to keep everything simple. So, choose a phone system that’s easy to use and not too complex to operate.
A business phone system provides a variety of services that would benefit your startup as it grows from a small business to a full-fledged one.
Some of the features you should check in a phone system include the following:
- Call Recording – It’s a good feature that lets you record both your outbound and inbound calls. Oftentimes, it includes the ability to link with your contact records and CRM system.
This may be beneficial for your startup because it lets you provide feedback to your employees regarding phone calls, listen to your calls, monitor your call history, and more.
- Conference Calling – It’s one of the most popular features of any phone system which supports conference calls and some features such as sharing desktop screens, messaging, and sending files.
It also enables you to unify your communications which is useful and professional when you’re making your startup grow.
- Hunt Groups – Another feature of a phone system is it allows you to manage and make hunt groups. Basically, a hunt group is the people set up to take any incoming calls.
It’s a great way to distribute phone calls from one group to another group of phone lines. Once callers ring in, they ring a telephone number and the calls will be routed to some members to answer.
It’s helpful for your startup as you can distribute the calls with it, ensuring that all calls will be answered and that your startup is open to everyone.
- Support For Mobile Devices – Your business phone system must support remote and telecommute workers, especially if some of your employees are working remotely. Check if a phone system has support for all types of mobile devices.
Mobile support will be more crucial for startups. So, see to it that your system has this capability. Mobile support ensures that your employees are connected always, regardless of where they are located.
- Disaster Recovery – Security and protection are very crucial for businesses like startups. If anything goes wrong with your phone system, it’s nice if it includes a disaster recovery solution. It ensures that your data or call records are protected from disasters.
So, make sure to keep this factor in mind when looking for a business phone system, most particularly if your startup is located in an area prone to natural disasters.
- IVR – Interactive Voice Response or IVR enables a computer to interact with the use of a voice through a keypad. It also lets the customers interact with the system of your startup.
IVR basically works by responding with audio to advise your customers on how they should proceed. It’s also an intelligent system that makes answering a huge volume of calls more efficient.
The best thing about IVR for your startup is that if you have some employees dealing with many calls, IVR will take care of everything for you. In short, it’s an impressive feature to have in your phone system, whether you’re a small or a big business.
Even if the internet continues to improve communication among customers, employees, and businesses through phone systems, you must be cautious of any of your preferred providers. Cases of malware, fraud, and phishing attempts by entities offering phone system services with motives must not catch you by surprise because they’re part of the challenges that affect both big and small companies these days.
A reliable provider must have demonstrated architecture, authentication, tried and proven encryption, and some security measures that provide you an assurance that your startup information is secured and protected from any possible cyber threats.
7. Vendor Support And Track Record
When shopping around for your startup’s phone system, take a look at the expertise and track record of your preferred vendor. Do they have a history of providing phone systems for startup owners like you?
Another thing to consider is the customer support they offer. A good vendor serves as your business partner. Once your system breaks down, it should provide you all the help that you need until your issues are resolved. If a vendor has poor customer support, look for another one with better customer service.
8. Consult An Expert
If you find it hard to choose the best business phone system, it’d be worth it to consult an expert. This may come in handy, especially if your startup doesn’t have an IT department and don’t know about the technicalities of a phone system.
Moreover, the majority of service providers are always happy to guide you throughout the selection process and give you answers to your questions.
Finding the best and right business phone system for your startup may not be easy, but with the above factors to consider, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to make a well-informed decision without wasting your time and money. The right phone system won’t only improve and meet your communication needs, but it’ll also improve your startup’s reputation and productivity at the same time.
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