The world of work is changing faster and faster, but the need to be able to collaborate and communicate in real time remains constant. Before choosing an ideal phone system for a small business, you need to understand your current needs and think about how they will evolve in the future. Then you can start meeting those needs with the underlying features and technologies that differentiate the best business phone systems from the rest.
Looking for new ways to connect your employees and customers? Ready to upgrade to a VoIP phone system? Consider all factors to find the ideal solution for your business.
What is a small business phone system, and what does VoIP mean?
First, let’s agree. What does a “small business phone system” mean to you? Lots of wires and cables, a complicated handset and a headset? Maybe the memory of calling the wrong extension or forgetting your voicemail password? Or even having to dial 9 to call outside? This table illustrates well what many SME managers think: it’s far too complicated and we don’t have time to deal with it . If you have just thought about your current PBX system, we understand you!
For a very long time, the only option was to resort to these cumbersome on-premises phone systems, which took days to install and deploy. That’s why it’s so important to consider VoIP technology if you’re looking for the best phone system for your small business. But what is VoIP?
In fact, VoIP is much simpler than you might imagine (no, they’re not talking robots). VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Instead of using a phone line, VoIP uses your network’s Internet connection to allow you to make and receive phone calls. So you can connect with customers and co-workers from virtually any device, from smartphones to laptops or desktops.
Just imagine: all the on-premises functionality you want, accessible and available on a single platform — no matter where you work from. Cloud-based VoIP offers all of the cost and scalability benefits that are often associated with the cloud. However, it is important not to be fooled by the promises of the “cloud” and to choose a provider that takes security seriously and is committed to 99.99% availability.
Long story short, comparing an on-premises phone system to a cloud system is a bit like these two GIFs:
However, many other factors must be considered when choosing a telephone system for SMEs. Let us now examine the reasons for such a choice.
Why does your small business need a VoIP phone system?
The top reasons small business owners go looking for the best phone system are:
They want to make sure their growing team can stay connected in the most convenient and secure way possible.
They don’t want to miss a single call.
They want to reduce operating costs.
They want to optimize productivity and customer experience with features like visual voicemail, call merging, call waiting, and more.
This May 2021 Gallup poll found that half of all US employees still telecommute, at least partially. If we make the connection with our study on hybrid work ( PDF here ) which concluded that this trend will continue to increase and that only 9% of the global workforce will return to the path of the office full time, it is obvious that the possibility of communicating from any device and any place is no longer a luxury for SMEs. It has become a necessity.
To maintain a competitive advantage, many SMBs need an easy way to connect their employees in the office and working remotely. As this need to keep offsite staff up to date increases, the convenience of onsite business phone systems decreases.
SMB VoIP Phone Systems and Customer Experience
It’s not just about the convenience of internal communications . Customers should be able to reach your business at any time of the day. In fact, it is the notion of “being able to reach” that has radically changed. The days when a good old PBX switchboard and voice mail were enough to satisfy the customer are well and truly over.
Today, as this McKinsey & Company study attests , “consumers are switching between brands at an unprecedented rate.” All aspects of customer experience have never been more important. If your customers are calling outside of business hours, you still need to provide them with an exceptional experience; the slightest problem with an outdated phone system could cost you a client.