Face it, every business these days needs a reliable and flexible phone system to keep up with customer and client demands. If you are looking to pick the best phone system for your business, there are certain questions you should ask yourself:
- Do you need a system with physical telephones? Or are you tech- and flexibility-oriented, where virtual phone systems may work better? Would your employees work better on ground lines, or cell phones?
- If you require office phones, what services will you need with them? Traditional landline services through a local or regional company? And/or “Voice Over Internet Protocol” (VoIP) systems?
- If you want to use VoIP, do you want to house the VoIP system onsite (self-hosted) or by your service provider (cloud-based hosting)?
These questions may be easy for you to answer, but for those who need a bit more guidance, Algo Communication Products Ltd. can help walk you through the process. We will lay out the pros and cons of systems such as virtual phone systems, landlines, VoIP systems, Self-Hosted VoIP, Cloud-based VoIP.
Algo Communication Products Ltd. has been serving Vancouver and the lower mainland for over 40 years helping businesses and institutions achieve technological success.
Virtual Phone Systems
Virtual phone systems can connect business lines to employees working remote on their home phones or cell phones. Think of it like an extensive “call forwarding” system. Clients and customers will be directed to the appropriate phone line upon calling the main business number. On top of this handy service, you can also select additional features, like voicemail, automated receptionists, call forwarding, online faxing, and call screening.
This works best for companies made of mostly remote or at-home workers.
- Employees can work from home or remotely
- Remote workers have access to features that mobile and home phones don’t offer
- Professional round-the-clock access to your business for low cost
- Not a full phone system, so you are charged on your virtual system while using up mobile/home phone plan minutes
Landlines (Public Switched Telephone Networks or PSTNs)
Landlines, or PSTNs, are a more “traditional” phone system that usually goes through local or regional phone companies. Thees phone systems are analog systems, which run by using traditional copper wiring, and require on-site PBX hardware. PBX hardware is what allows for additional features, like multiple extensions, call directories, and call transffering.
These systems work best for larger businesses and corporations who can staff an in-house IT crew to maintain them – or businesses without access to high speed internet.
- Reliable telephone solutions
- Tried and tested for years
- Costly, a deterrent for smaller businesses
- Require regular maintenance
VoIP Phone Systems
VoIP phone systems rely on an internet connection rather than traditional copper wiring. VoIP systems allow even smaller businesses on smaller budgets to have access to the same features that larger corporations use every day. This includes automated attendants, computer integration that sends voicemails to email boxes and laptops (etc.), call queues, and desktop computers being turned into “softphones.” VoIP systems also allow access to business phone systems from a mobile or home phone for remote workers.
This system is best for smaller businesses that need “large corporation” functionality, as well as those who have remote workers who regularly need access to the main company phone systems.
- Offer complete phone system with many features
- Easy to set-up and configure
- Cheaper than landlines
- Rely on internet connection
- Spotty or unreliable internet service means unreliable phone service
Furthermore, you can select between self-hosted VoIP or cloud-hosted VoIP. Here’s the breakdown of these two options, if you’ve already decided that VoIP is the service that is best for your business.
Self-Hosted VoIP Systems
Self-hosted means that a business buys and hosts its own equipment (ex. PBX hardware for circuit switching).
This type of system is best for businesses who aren’t comfortable with their services hosted in the cloud and who have an IT staff in-house.
- In control of your own service
- Have access to all equipment at all times, on-site
- You’re responsible for any maintenance and configuration
- Large upfront cost to get setup
- Need someone on staff to service and maintain
Cloud-Based VoIP Systems
With cloud-based VoIP you won’t have to worry about hardware other than IP phones. The service provider will house and service all hardware, like PBX technology.
This system type works for growing businesses that need the flexibility of VoIP but don’t have a budget for an IT staff.
- Easy to add new lines and customize services
- No PBX hardware to buy and maintain
- Will pay a monthly fee per user
- Aren’t in control of hardware, must rely on provider if there is an issue
Still unsure which phone system is the best option for your busienss? Give us a call and we’d be more than happy to speak with you in greater detail.