What are the best phones for business?
Having the best phones for business will help your company gain an edge over your competition — or at least be on par with them. The kind of phone you should invest in obviously depends on the size and nature of your business. We’ve put together this guide to make it easier for you to navigate the phone market.
How to find the best phones for business
There are quite a few manufacturers out there, so it can be difficult to find your way through the telecoms jungle. Some of the more known manufacturers include Cisco, Polycom, and Mitel. VoIP phones have been on the market for a while. That means the technology is very advanced, so you will get good value for money regardless of which brand you decide to go with. There are still a few factors to consider, however, so we have outlined some things to think about below.
Questions to ask yourself when shopping around
When shopping around for phones you should first decide on how many lines and extensions you require. Which features would benefit your staff? How much will you need to be able to scale up in the future? These are some of the most basic questions to ask yourself.
There are many ‘best phones’ for business
There are no one-size fits all model when it comes to your office phone system. The right system for you very much depends on the size of your office, how many employees you have, and how much you need to use the phone. You will obviously also need to consider your budget.
What is a PSTN system?
Publicly Switched Telephone Network, or PSTN for short is what most people think of when it concerns phone systems. The advantages of this system include good reliability and widespread understanding of how it works. The disadvantages include a lack of scalability, which means they only work for very small offices. International calls can also quickly become expensive if you make a lot of them, which doesn’t make PSTN systems the best phones for business.
What is a VoIP system?
VoIP stands for ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’. The name covers a range of functionality, including voice, video, and conference calls. As the name implies, this kind of phone system utilizes your internet connection. The advantages of VoIP include being reliable, having added features, being affordable, easy call routing, and cheap international calls. The only tangible disadvantage is that if your internet stops working, so does your phone system.
Different Types of VoIP Phones
As you can see from the above summary VoIP phones are clearly the best phones for business. VoIP systems are divided into soft, wireless, and conferencing systems.
Softphones mean that you have a piece of software installed on a computer which then allows it to make and receive calls. Many call centers use this system because of how cheap and easy it is to set up.
Wireless phones have their own WiFi receiver that connects to a base station in the office. They are practical because you can move around the office freely.
Conferencing phones work pretty much like non-VoIP phones, with the added difference that you can easily set up conference calls.
Depending on your requirements, any of these three options could be the best phones for business.
What is the cost of the best phones for business?
There are quite a few costs to consider when deciding on the best phones for business. You need to add up the cost of the IP-PBX central unit, network converters, installation, handsets, headsets, peripherals, maintenance, staff training, extra features, and customer support. Fortunately, most manufacturers will bundle all these things together to simplify the process for you. However, there might be some savings to be made if you purchase each of these components individually, so it is worth thinking about depending on your budget. Even if you choose to go for one of the bundles, knowing the cost of the individual components will make it easier to know if you’re getting a good deal. Be on the lookout for the TCO of the phone systems you’re considering.
What is TCO?
TCO stands for Total Cost of Ownership and is a practical way to calculate how much you will be spending on your phone system. TCO includes both the initial cost of setting up the phone system, as well as the cost of using and maintaining it over the course of a business year. A given phone system might be cheap to install but expensive to use and vice versa. Calculate the TCO in order to find the best phones for business.
What else should you be looking for?
Assuming that you’re expecting your business to grow (why wouldn’t it?) you might want to consider how expensive it is to scale up your phone system. The number of calls your office makes will go up as your staff increases. Focus on the features your business needs, so you don’t waste money on fancy ones you’ll never use. Find out how complicated the system is to use so you know how much training your staff will need. Finally, it is also a good idea to expect the unexpected when budgeting for your phone system.
What can a VoIP phone system do?
In addition to the standard features of phone calls and voicemails, a VoIP phone can also send and receive text messages and faxes. VoIP phones will also save you on international calls, just like the Skype app or similar. There are no issues with connecting to other kinds of network, which means that you can use a VoIP phone to call a regular phone, a mobile phone, a Skype account, or anything else you can possibly imagine. A VoIP phone will also use a codec to encode the audio and video transmitted through it, which means that it will use a minimum of your internet bandwidth. More advanced VoIP phones will have added features like a touchscreen and Ethernet ports.
What are the main benefits of a VoIP phone system?
VoIP phones will, as mentioned, save you a lot of money if you make international calls. Although the initial setup fee of a VoIP system can be costly, you won’t need to install a server on your business premises. Maintenance will also be a minimal cost compared to traditional phone systems, making VoIP phones the best phones for business.
Internet-based calls were previously subpar compared to a landline, but this is no longer the case. Today, the clarity of a VoIP phone system is equal to or better than that of a landline phone system. This goes for domestic as well as international calls.
VoIP also gives you the ability to redirect calls from your office to your mobile so you can answer business calls n the move. This is an amazing advantage, as you will not have to give out more than one number to your clients.
What are the key features of a VoIP phone system?
A VoIP phone system will allow you to simply click a button to call back a missed business call, rather than having to dial in the full number of the person who called you.
Most VoIP phones come with an online interactive dashboard that will allow you to see voicemails, call logs, contact books, automatic messages, conference call functions, and redirected calls.
This function allows you to set up your system in such a way that incoming calls try one phone first, and then other phones afterward if the call isn’t answered. You can also program it to call all the phones simultaneously.
This function creates a virtual greeting that will present callers with a few options that help redirect their call to the right department, thus saving you time.
If a member of staff needs to jump on a call between two other colleagues, this function facilitates the ability to join the call or simply listen in.
By inputting your work phone number on your website, customers can simply click on the number which will initiate a call to your VoIP phone system.
You will be able to record phone calls and then later download them as audio files on your computer.
You can program your phone to not take calls outside of business hours.
Virtual meeting rooms
This function allows you to create a virtual meeting room that clients and colleagues alike can dial into and join for conference calls.
Video conference calls
Similar to Google Hangouts or Skype calls, this function allows you to create a conference call with video functionality.
The top 5 best phones for businesses
#2: Snom 710 IP