We’re here to give you an in depth guide on office phone systems. The decision to select an office phone system can be a big one for your team, no matter your size. That is why we want to break it down into an easy to follow guide, to hopefully leave you feeling confident you can select the proper office phone system for your business.
Here’s a little glimpse of what we will be talking about today:
If that all sounds good to you, then we can’t wait to get started!
An office phone system is simply a phone system that is designed to be used by a business, rather than one individual as a personal phone. These phone systems will be equipped with the ability to have multiple lines, different extensions, and features that an individual just wouldn’t need when using their personal phone.
In 2022 there are two main types of office phone systems available, a traditional analog phone or an internet based virtual phone. They both should be able to provide the basics of an office phone, but the manner in which they do so will vary.
As we previewed, the two main types in 2022 are traditional phones, and internet based VoIP systems. We’ll go into all the essential components of each of these systems below.
A “traditional” phone system is made up of traditional landlines installed by a local phone company. You may have come across the acronym “POTS”, which stands for a Plain Old Telephone Service.
Analog phones haven’t seen many changes since they were first introduced more than a century ago. The technology behind these systems are quite simple. A copper wire is able to transmit sound using electrical pulses. These copper wires connect the phone service provider to your specific office phone.
In order for your office to take advantage of a POTs phone system, they would all need to be located in the same spot, where the copper wires have been installed. There would also have to be an on-premise PBX that could create an internal phone network. That allows for all of your employees to be on one shared phone system!
A Virtual Phone System is an internet-based system that eliminates the need for old fashioned telephone wires to be operated. Instead of transmitting your voice over copper wires, an internet based virtual office phone system will transmit your voice over the internet.
While the technology behind a virtual phone system isn’t essential to know, it can be helpful to understand why these solutions are seen as such a good investment for the modern business team. That is why we wanted to take a few minutes to explain all of the basics of the technology!
The operation of a virtual phone is the same as any phone you have used before. If you want to initiate a call, you simply dial the number and are instantly connected. Your caller on the other end, whether they are using a virtual phone or a traditional phone system, won’t notice any differences. For everyone involved, the operation is the same.
The technology behind the phone system is where one of the key differences in these systems lies. Instead of relying on the antiquated phone lines, aka those copper wires that were installed decades ago, your phone is able to send and receive voice signals over the internet. The process can be broken down into a few steps:
This process is done instantaneously. There is no delay between voice signals from a VoIP system and voice signals from telephone wires. That means you won’t experience any lags in the call or awkward pauses.
This technology is not detectable to users on either end, outside of providing a crystal clear voice communication experience.
This means that you can take advantage of a new system without having to be a technology expert, as you just simply use a phone the way you always have!
Within virtual phone systems, also known as VoIP solutions, there are both on-premise and cloud based options available for teams to choose between. An on-premise solution means that your business would be hosting all of the necessary servers at your physical location. This can come with a lot of maintenance and overhead expenses, and is really only feasible for large enterprises with the means and space to host these bulky servers.
With a cloud based solution, you are taking advantage of servers that your provider is hosting for you. That can help reduce associated costs, and you won’t have to worry about the logistics involved in maintaining the associated infrastructure.
While VoIP technology in general is a great way to take advantage of next-generation tech, a cloud system helps you avoid the significant expenses that come with an on-premise solution.
Cloud phones can provide a long list of benefits for your team. Not only can you access next generation features, and crystal clear voice communications, but you can also unlock the following benefits:
No matter what type or style of business you are running, it just makes sense to make the switch to a cloud based virtual office phone system.
When you are taking advantage of a virtual office phone system, the answer simply becomes everyone! We’ll break down a few of the most common types of office phone system use cases below, so you can envision your business with an office phone system on your side.
The traditional office team might seem like the most obvious use case for an office phone. You may be wondering though why a team who is located in the same physical office location would want to take advantage of a virtual office phone. Well, if the past couple of years has taught us anything, it’s that the businesses who are set up to enable remote or flexible working will be better equipped. Outside of that, a virtual office phone can also be helpful for members who will be occasionally out of the office, for situations such as parental leave, a sales team member who spends time out of office on sales pitches, and more. Even a traditional office will be better off with a virtual office phone on their side.
A remote office is a perfect use case for a virtual phone as well. With a virtual office phone, team members can receive calls from your business phone number no matter where they are located. They can also use a variety of different devices, making a home office easy to set up. A remote office phone is the perfect tool to keep you phone communication centralized, even if your team is split up around the world.
As a solo business, you may be thinking that your personal phone would work just fine as an office phone. However, this can often lead to missed calls and awkward situations if you mix up personal calls with business calls. Give your business a professional edge by taking advantage of a virtual office phone. You can even avoid buying extra equipment and hardware, and simply use an app on your personal phone. That way you will be able to distinguish incoming calls, maintain a business phone, take advantage of office phone features, all without having to make a huge investment!
The right office phone for your business will have all of the necessary features to enable effective business phone communication. That’s why we wanted to include a list of the features that we think are necessary, to help you determine the best office phone system for your business.
Making the switch to a new virtual phone system should go as seamlessly as possible. This won’t be the case if you have to configure and customize every component of your virtual phone system just to get started. Instead, you should search for a solution that allows you to customize as you go, or only requires a few configurations to get running. This can help you avoid unnecessary downtime and additional frustrations.
You shouldn’t have to worry about purchasing entirely new hardware just to support your business phone system. When making the switch, make sure that the systems make sense with your other business plans. The best solutions will be accessible from a range of device types, helping to give you flexibility and options.
You want to make sure that your virtual business phone system provider will be there for you if anything goes wrong, or even if you just want to learn more about their product. Look for providers that give you options such as free demo calls, webinars, newsletters, and other resources that you can take advantage of.
Affordable and flexible pricing
Avoid complicated plans where you don’t know exactly what you are getting. The best VoIP systems will allow you to pick from multiple, easy to understand, pricing plans. This way you won’t be paying for a system with features you won’t be using, but you won’t be stuck adding on new features every time you want to take advantage of a different functionality.
With a virtual phone, you will automatically have access to a virtual phone number. But, the top providers should be able to offer a wide range of virtual phone number types. This should include toll-free numbers, international numbers, as well as porting in your existing phone number.
Traditional IVR system will rely on menu options, giving your callers the frustrating experience of “press 1 for sales, press 2 for billing.” In 2022, your customers are expecting more from their phone communication, and want to leave the IVR menus in the past. That is why you should be seeking out an intelligent voice-based IVR system. These systems will route callers based on what they are saying in real time.
Here is another tool that will help your calls be routed effectively to the proper team members. Create ring groups for your teams such as “Sales”, “Customer support” and more. When there is a relevant incoming call, all members of the group will be alerted ensuring that your customer is connected to the right agent, who is available at the time.
Make sure that your callers are taken care of, even when you aren’t able to pick up the phone. With canned responses, you can create customizable responses that will be read to your callers in real time. For example, if you often receive calls while you are in a meeting, you can pre-write a message simply saying “I am currently in a meeting, and will be able to return your call as soon as it concludes.” Sending this message to your callers will keep them in the loop, and feeling supported even when you aren’t available.
Open up a new channel of communication with your customers by allowing for business SMS messaging. This means that you will be able to send and receive text messages from your business phone number, keeping communication consistent and accessible.
Your team is likely using more business tools than just your phone system to run effectively. Whether that means that your team lives in a tool like Slack, loves to take advantage of CRM platforms, or has a place to manage incoming tickets, you don’t want to miss out on connecting your phone with these tools.
We mentioned earlier a few benefits that your customers and team will be able to see, and we wanted to make sure you fully understand just how beneficial a virtual office phone could be for your business.
Benefits for your customers
Benefits for your team
We know that selecting an office phone can seem like an overwhelming task for a team of any size. Hopefully you’re now better equipped to do so. You should now understand what an office phone is, and what your options are in 2022. As we’ve said, we highly recommend a virtual office phone system, as it enables you in a way that a traditional office phone cannot. Whether you are looking for the improved features, ability to enable flexibility, or simply looking forward to lower communication costs, we’d understand why you are also in favor of a virtual office phone system.
If you are looking to get started with a virtual office phone, we highly recommend that you take advantage of a free trial. With a free trial, you will be able to test out all of the features that we have mentioned, and more. If you get started with Yodel’s free trial, you will also be able to experience our incredible support team who will be by your side throughout your entire journey with Yodel. Whether that means taking advantage of our free demo calls, chatting with our customer success manager, or checking out our resource library, you’ll get to take advantage of a wide variety of tools.
Get started with your Yodel free trial today to experience a virtual office phone system.