Telephony is the cornerstone of many businesses. If a potential customer cannot contact you over the telephone, they will likely move onto the next company in the phonebook and try them instead. More importantly than just having a phone system that can get somebody on the end of the line is a well implemented system that can quickly direct a person to exactly who they need to talk to wherever they may be.
There are a large number of different systems available for most any business sector and because of this it is a very good idea to have a clear understanding of what your current business needs are in a phone system. A major factor can be expandability since PBX (private branch exchange) phone systems may remain the high-end business technology of choice for many more years. Thus, its important to invest in a phone system that will be able to accommodate any changes that might occur in your business during that period.
Sizing of telephony systems is generally fairly modular. As an example, standard sizing follows the pattern of 3 lines with 8 phones, 8 lines with 16 phones, 12 lines with 24 phones and so on. A more recent sizing method of phone systems has been sizing by number of ports. For example a 32 line system could have any combination of phones and incoming lines. The balance of phones to lines is typically determined by how many lines or extensions the manufacturer puts onto their boards. With this in mind, when selecting a phone system, the purchaser should look into how much potential expansion of the system will inconvenience your business and how much expansion would be likely to cost.
VoIP (voice over internet protocol) is another way of setting up the connection, and essentially entails hosting your phone systems over an internet connection. For many companies, VoIP works out a lot cheaper in the long run. There have previously been service quality issues in the past, with inadequate internet connections affecting the quality of the phone line. So in this respect, often people simply replace multiple phone lines for a large data connection. It does however make sense to look at PBX systems which accommodate IP connections and handsets to allow for future change.
Other fairly important things to consider are the number of locations you will need to hook up to your system, accommodating mobile users who will spend a large amount of their time out of the office as well as any additional services you may require as a part of your PBX. Obvious things you would expect from a phone system would include voicemail, call holding and conferencing since these are fairly integral to many businesses. Other considerations that are perhaps a little less important include speed dials, redialling and call forwarding.
There are also things that you may not know about but could greatly benefit your business, such as sharing the same phone network over multiple business sites. This can help companies who may have multiple call centres or offices spread over several cities by allowing the whole system to function as a single unit. Or computer telephony integration, (CTI).While CTI can vary largely depending on the complexity, from full integration to a simple level it may be the ability to dial numbers viewed on a computer screen. A more complex system might tie customer relationship management software in with the phone system to produce a highly integrated and efficient system. Another ability that is an absolute must have for people on the move, who may be in any number of locations from day to day, is a follow me system, which can reroute calls to a specific person around what they might be doing. For example, they may be driving somewhere and direct their calls to an in car phone or their mobile.
In the telephony market today, there is a solution to cater to just about every user. It would be well worth contacting a specialist in telephony to see how improvements could be made to your communications and maybe even change the way you do business!