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How to choose a small business phone provider

In a world where technology provides significant competitive advantages, it’s important to ensure your business telephone service provides the features and services you need.

Figure out your budget

Pricing, a common concern for even the largest businesses, is a major factor when it comes to business phones and varies widely depending on the type of system you ultimately choose. A standard analog phone system will be significantly less than a hosted PBX equipped with all of the available bells and whistles, but the levels of functionality will greatly differ as well. Factors like how many phones you need, how many will be added, and how much you plan to grow are extremely important when selecting a phone provider for your small business.

Look at your usage

Once you are comfortable with a preliminary budget, the next step is to determine which types of phones each employee within the office needs. Many providers will work with you to build a network of phones that offer functions based on necessity.

 

In addition to employees who spend their days in the office, you should also consider those who are frequently working offsite and would benefit from the “follow-me” services some providers offer. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) gives you the flexibility to add these services as needed and makes it easy to accommodate future growth.

Hands pointing at paper charts

Create flexibility for the future

Fight the urge to buy a phone system for the “now.” Instead, consider what your company will look like in a few years and if the phone system you’re currently considering will be able to scale. Right now, your company may only really need the capabilities of a standard service, but with time could come the need for conference calls, extensive calling features, and numerous extensions. It’s better to have the option to add on features and equipment in small steps rather than starting from scratch.

Look how others connect with you

Don’t just think of a new phone system in terms of how you and your employees will use it. It’s vital that you consider the experience of those calling you as well, mainly your customers and clients.

 

Call your own company, and experience the process your callers go through to ensure you’re happy with it. Keep in mind the attributes of prompts and automated systems you have heard when making calls to other companies. What did you love? What did you dislike? This will help you generate a list of what you’d like for your own system and, more importantly, what you want to avoid.

Man and woman laughing at a tablet

Factor in your network and equipment

Phone systems and networks are continually evolving with new features and technologies. Look for a business telephone provider that is a leader and innovator—one that can provide enhanced features and reliable services that help your business grow and be more productive.

 

Depending on the size of your company, there are a number of phone system solutions that can work for your business. You’ll want to select a provider that is consultative and provides the best options for your business.

Look at customer service

If your clients can’t reach you because the phones are down, what will happen to your bottom line? Will they wait to call back later or reach out to a competitor instead? It may be worth a higher price tag for peace of mind to contract with a vendor who is local and offers 24/7 onsite support—especially if you conduct business at night or on weekends, and waiting until morning for assistance isn’t an option.

 

Lastly, ask around. You’ll want a provider you can trust, and one of the best ways to find one is to ask friends, peers, and associates you trust for their recommendation.

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What can VoIP do for your business?

Learn about our cloud-based business VoIP phone system, IP Centrex. Get reliable, business-grade voice service to help you manage your business's call volume effectively and efficiently.

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What is VoIP and How Does it Work?

Learn about VoIP technology and how it works for businesses of all sizes.

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