Top Small Office Telephone Systems For Business
Benefits of a Office Phone System
Communication is an essential factor that influences the success of a business. It is common to find start-up businesses using mobile phones and single line phones to communicate with their prospects and customers. However, for growing companies, these are not enough. These only offer limited functionality and low-quality voice calls. Luckily, there are alternatives to cater for your Office Phone Systems needs.
What is a Business Phone System?
A Business Phone System is a multiple line phone system commonly used in business environments. They have different systems ranging from the simplest KSU (Key System Unit), PBX (Private Branch Exchange to the most complex VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).
What is an Internal Phone System?
An internal phone system is any given telephone line which communicates with a PBX. PBX stands for private branch exchange – the phone lines communicate directly to the system, allowing telephony functionality, as well as internal & external communication.
9 Benefits of a Business Phone System
Most people do not realise that having the appropriate Office Phone System can significantly improve productivity in the following ways:
- Maximizes the businesses resources
A phone system helps the company make the best use of their resources. Through its inbuilt functions and features, the business can improve their communication line locally and globally. Hence, it’s easier to reach more customers and prospects.
- Share phone lines
Without a phone system, an employee will need to terminate the line to access a call another client. With a Office Phone System, each employee will have a separate phone number, and a phone line which will be jack installed for each one. Muti line phone system such as 4 line telephone systems are very popular This way, employees can share the phone line without interrupting each other’s calls.
Have you ever dialled a business number and heard some recorded instructions to connect you to the right person? These recorded instructions come from an auto attendant. Having a Office Phone System gives you an effective replacement receptionist with an auto attendant.
- Expands sales potential
Capitalising in a Office Phone System opens communications in all directions. It makes it effortless to reach customers. Therefore, investing in the best phone system ensures you don’t miss sales. Also, it helps improve the calls you can receive.
- Abbreviated dialing
An office operating without a Office Phone System has employees who have to communicate with fellow employees by shouting or using sneakernets. In other words, for an employee to converse with another, they have to walk to the other`s desk, which is time-consuming.
With a Office Phone System, on the other hand, an employee can pick the receiver and connect with any employee with a simple dial. This can save time and increase productivity.
- Saves money during conference calling
A business can subscribe for conference bridge calls with less than £5 a month. Buying the conference bridge eliminates monthly expenses and supports several parties. On the other hand, a business using single phone lines charges higher cost for conference calling.
- No more cyclical monthly fees
A Office Phone System may be more expensive that other phone line options. However, it always pays off in the end.
Operating a business without a Office Phone System means paying a specific monthly fee to get a voice-messaging mailbox. For example, if the company has four phone lines, then the employees may end up paying more than eighty dollars monthly. With a Office Phone System, you get similar functionality without monthly expenses.
- Outgoing caller ID
Your business can achieve a better level of professionalism. By programming the phone system, all outgoing calls can have a uniform appearance on the recipient’s caller ID.
- Transfer Calls
Clients are particular about the professionalism displayed by businesses. Imagine what it would be like if a prospect heard an employee shouting to another person to pick up a specific line. With a Office Phone System, an employee can accept a call and transfer it to another employee easily and quickly. It will not only improve communication but also improve productivity, teamwork among employees, customer service, and customer experience.
Which Office Phone System Works For Me?
As a business owner, you can choose between the KSU, PBX or VoIP Systems.
KSU is the most basic system. It is suitable for businesses with less than 40 phone operators. It is simple to use as it is similar to a home phone system. However, it lacks flexibility and portability. KSU varies with KSU-Less, which has many limitations and is suitable for only ten phone operators.
PBX is a more advanced option. It offers more features; it is automated and has a programmable switching device. It is ideal businesses with more than 40 phone operators. The primary advantage of this system is its UPS- uninterruptible power supply, which enables it to remain functional for long.
PBX has a modification called Hosted PBX. The hosted PBX stands out because it is not installed in the office. The telephone provider hosts its BTS. Its significant advantage is that it allows you to evade installation and maintenance costs without losing its advanced features.
VoIP is the latest business phone innovation. It works using both the computer and the internet. It is the most costly option as well. The significant advantage of this phone system is all its functions are accessible through a computer.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a VoIP
Investing in a VOIP Office Phone System like is important. However, before you purchase one, there are certain things you have to consider. They include:
What features does the phone system offer? Different phone providers offer various features. Determine the best features according to the needs of your business.
Buy a phone system within your budget. Usually Hosted VoIP solutions cost less but have monthly charges. Meanwhile, an on-site VoIP server costs more but has no monthly recycling charges. A hosted VoIP is best for a business with a maximum of 15 employees. On the other hand, business with 100 employees prefers a cloud phone system.
Unforeseen natural disasters can strike at any time. Therefore, it is necessary to have a contingency plan and a disaster recovery protocol. Choose a reputable hosted provider who can provide power, carrier connectivity redundancy, and network infrastructure.
Check your current technological infrastructure. Are you using an old system? You can determine how much money you can save in the installation by using an online VoIP calculator.
A business that chooses a cloud phone system will have a low cost of ownership since the provider is responsible for severing configuration as well as maintenance. However, you have to think about the structure and size of your business.
Hiring the wrong IT specialist may have dire consequences. You can neutralise the risk by selecting a reputable hosted provider who has the necessary resources to ensure your data remains secure.
How Much Does A Office Phone System Cost?
A KSU-less phone system is the best option for a small business with few employees. It costs between £30 and £400.
KSU has functionality better than a regular phone and is ideal for a business with 40 employees. The phone system costs between £300 and £1000.
The PBX Office Phone System is more complicated than the KSU and is suitable for business with more than 40 employees. The cost averages to £1000 per extension.
VoIP works for both small and large businesses. This phone system uses high-speed internet and costs between £175 and £200. However, if VoIP is combined with PBX, it may cost less than £1000 or more than £4000.
Knowing the best small office telephone system provider is often a bit of a minefield. With different phone systems having a range of features, functions and benefits it can often be confusing to determine which one will serve your business best.
We have compiled a list of the top 10 phone systems for small business available in the UK today. Along with why we think they are great and also why they might not be suitable for you.
In no particular order, here are our top 10 small office phone system companies;
Avaya is a global leader in providing office phone systems. With a wide portfolio of products and services they can cater to a company’s office phone system needs no matter the business size. Avaya systems are widely used by businesses not only to make and receive calls but to bring together conferencing, messaging and customer management into a single expandable system. Our rating 5/5 stars
Mitel phone systems are designed to improve efficiency and productivity. With a vast range of phone systems services Mitel have a solution for all businesses no matter the size. If your business is going through growth the phone systems are flexible enough to scale. Mitel’s highly affordable and powerful business phone system ideal for SMEs or large companies.
3) 8 X 8.
With attractive rates and market leading tech, 8 X 8 is a fantastic telecoms company. They focus mainly on VOIP systems that integrate with your existing CRM. Award winning services and customer help combine to make 8 x 8 a must check company on your road to finding the perfect phone system. They also pack in a whole lot of features that will keep you finding new things that the system can do for months to come. Although they are priced competitively, 8 x 8 isn’t the cheapest option on the market. Our rating 4.5/5 stars.
BT has specifically catered to the small to medium business market with their product Quantum. Allowing up to 48 users it should suffice for many small businesses and small call centres. The product is fast, reliable and full of functionality that will be enticing for small business up and down the country. The only problem? Well, it’s BT. When things do go wrong, customer service is lacking and often, ironically for a telecoms company, communication breaks down. Our rating 3/5 stars.
Another big telecom name makes it onto our list. CISCO aim to create bespoke VOIP system solutions for small businesses. With a bunch of innovative features and a customer focused approach, CISCO has a refreshing take on VOIP systems. The only hitch? They are often not anywhere near the cheapest and other providers do offer more functionality. Our rating 4/5 stars.
The first big tech company to wade on to our list. Panasonic has many products available, however, their KX-TES824 system is the one aimed at small enterprises. Panasonic provides great tech and functionality as well as a surprisingly competitive price package. The only downside is that compatibility with other tech isn’t optimal. That means Panasonic might not integrate as well as other systems with your company. Our rating 3/5 stars.
7) Elite Telecom.
Elite is a premium service aimed at small business but with a lot of functionality as well. The Elite system is also one of the better looking phone systems providing a nice aesthetic to your office. It is a great option for successful small businesses that are looking to grow over the next year. Unlike other systems, Elite is a great system to support growth. It does come at a cost though so don’t expect the cheapest quote from them. Our rating 4/5 stars.
8) AudioOffice iPhone Companion.
This is an innovative product that turns your Iphone into your telephone system. Ideal for one-man small businesses this is a brilliant way to get all of the functionality of your Iphone as well as functionality of a landline phone. The hybrid system is not that feature rich, relying instead on the functionality of the IOS system. It is also not a particularly cheap option. Given its almost non-existent scalability if your business is looking to grow then this probably won’t be the system for you. If you simply don’t want to put your iPhone down, then this is a real treat. Our rating 2/5 stars.
9) Skype Business.
Another big name, another big offering of functionality and features. Another big price point. If you have used Skype before the interface and usability of Skype Business will be familiar, allowing you to hit the ground running. The system will fairly basic; but wrapped up in a Skype bow. Pricing is not very competitive and although you would expect Skype to pioneer with lots of options, they don’t. Our rating 3/5 stars.
A cloud based VOIP system that focuses on SMS, MMS and marketing solutions. This is a great system if you often communicate with your customers or prospects by way of text message. Competitively priced as well, which makes for an all-round solid system. They may not be as feature rich as other providers, but they are still extremely functional on a small business level. Our rating 4/5 stars.
Another of the cloud-based telephone systems that operates much like Skype, except its global offering isn’t quite as extensive. Allowing numbers in 30 different countries worldwide this company is a brilliant and relatively inexpensive option for small multi-national companies. Features again are not as exhaustive as other providers, but they fit their niche like a glove. Our rating 3.5/5 stars.
12) TalkTalk Business.
A big company and a small price make TalkTalk’s business offering a refreshing option. Saving considerably on BT’s offering TalkTalk positions itself at the value end of the market. Solid and simple tech and good functionality make it an even more attractive package. If you go wrong though, customer service is not always as simple as one would hope and being a large company don’t expect any dedicated service. Our rating 4/5 stars.
Choosing the right small office phone system option
The business telephone system market is saturated with companies, all vying for your business. Always read up on reviews of companies we have not listed here. Also, be wary of less reputable companies that offer packages that seem too good to be true (chances are that they are). Our advice is, if you’re putting faith in a big telephone system providers company then Mitel and Avaya are probably your best bet. If you’re looking for a personal more tailored solution, then approaching the smaller companies is a great way to get exactly what your business needs. Be aware that the more bespoke you’re needing the more likely the cost will be increased compared to standard packages.
Don’t settle for the first phone system you come across, or even the cheapest system you come across. Make sure you identify your business needs. Perhaps you need to work remotely overseas and still require your companies dedicated number? Maybe, you are going into a phase of rapid growth? When you have honed in on the specific business requirements then you can really narrow down products that fit your company. If you conduct regulated business, remember, not all companies have call recording facilities, some VOIP systems won’t be integrated with your CRMs and some telecoms companies don’t allow automated disclaimer messages. These are all significant considerations that simply getting the cheapest of first system that comes along would cause untold misery down the line.
Get a quote to start comparing small office phone systems today.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to haggle. If you have found a company that you like but is a little dearer than another company, then ask for discounts. This is a highly competitive market and customers are not easy to come by. Aside from the companies like BT that are too big to care about clientele; it is safe to say that other telecoms companies will literally chase you to obtain your business. Use this to your advantage by filling our quote form and letting the leading providers come to you.