Effective communication is a crucial element of success for businesses. It’s one of the secret ingredients that can help ensure an efficient and productive operation and seamless coordination with suppliers and clients. Without effective communication, external and internal aspects of a business could be in peril.
In most cases, clients and customers are likely to become annoyed and dissatisfied with the poor service they’re getting due to poor communication. As a result, it could lead them to look for other businesses that can serve them better. On the other hand, the lack of effective communication in internal business operations can result in confusion within the company. For instance, critical tasks may not be executed promptly, resulting in decreased productivity rate and increasing company losses.
To prevent and address these common communication mishaps, it’d be ideal for your business to have a foolproof business phone system. Doing so can help you ensure and implement effective communication in and out of your business.
What Is A Business Phone System?
A business phone system is a combination of multiple telephone systems often used in different organizations and other business environments. One of its principal purposes is to facilitate efficient employee-to-employee and employee-to-customer communication. You may check telecommunication providers such as Call Cowboy or any local providers to learn more.
But to note, a business phone system is different from conventional phone lines. In general, a business phone system has a set of various functions and features that make it more powerful and systematic than traditional phone systems often installed in residential and small commercial properties. These functions and features may include call forwarding, voicemails, conference calls, and automated dialers.
How To Set Up A Business Phone System?
Now that you’ve understood what a business phone system is, here are the things to do when setting it up in your organization:
1. Choose The Phone System Your Business Needs
Business phone systems have many types, and each has different functions and features. As such, it’s vital to understand how every type works to determine which among the options is the perfect fit for your business needs.
Here are the types of business phone systems to choose from:
- Key System Units
Key system units (KSU) are perhaps the simplest phone system you can get. They are typically best suited for small businesses with less than 40 users because the number of phone lines KSU can install and operate simultaneously is limited.
Unlike other phone systems, KSU is relatively simple and easy to use. Even with certain limitations, this phone system has all the basic functions and features your business will need.
However, this type generally lacks flexibility and portability. It requires a central processing unit—the KSU—to identify phone-line selection. If that’s the case, you might want to check out its variation. It is called a KSU-less phone system.
- KSU-Less Phone Systems
KSU-less phone systems are the flexible and portable counterpart of the traditional KSUs. It has all the functions and features of the basic system but without a central processing unit. On top of that, this variation is wireless.
However, there’s a catch. KSU-less phone systems are ideal and only suited for really small-scale businesses and organizations. It can only accommodate less than ten phone lines at the same time. Perhaps this is why it may not be the best option for businesses planning to expand in the future.
Also, KSU-less phone systems are not sold commercially. Therefore, if you think it is the right one for your business, you must personally request it from your telecommunication provider.
- Private Branch Exchange
Private branch exchange (PBX) phone systems offer more advanced functions and features than basic KSUs and KSU-less phone systems. It has an automated processing unit that can automatically route incoming calls. For instance, inbound callers can select which department they want to be transferred to by pressing a button from the prompted options.
In addition, PBX is recommended for businesses with more than 40 phone users with the help of its automated system response. On top of that, it has a reserved energy supply to ensure continuity of operations during unexpected blackouts.
If you want to save costs on maintenance and installation fees, you might want to try its hosted variation. Hosted PBX, as the name implies, has no automated processing unit. Instead, the system is hosted by a third-party service provider.
- Voice-Over Internet Protocol
Voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) is one of the latest innovations and most advanced options in business phone systems. Unlike other phone systems, this type allows two people from different countries to communicate effectively. The system requires a reliable internet connection and computer to function. Without it, the entire phone system will not work. This makes it the most expensive phone system solution in the market.
The cost of VoIP depends on the number of phone operators a business has. Naturally, the more users you have, the higher the cost. Moreover, be wary of cyberattacks that may disrupt the system since it runs via the internet. You can use a virtual private network (VPN) to keep yourselves protected.
2. Choose A Phone System Provider
Once you know the phone system best suited for your business or organization, it’s time to look for the right service provider. Before you sign any agreement, be sure to consider the following factors:
The phone system’s features are a crucial factor you need to look for in a service provider. Do they have all the essential features you need? Do they offer extra features that can help you in your day-to-day operations? Also, do they require additional payment for each feature they offer?
To know more about business phone systems and other features, you might want to check out this video:
In addition, you may want to ask the service provider how often they provide maintenance and updates. Then, you can check other versions to see how they commit to their promises.
- Total Cost Of Ownership
Although some solutions may appear cheap, it’s still a good idea to determine the total cost of ownership (TCO). These are the forecasted overall operational costs within a specific timeframe. Check if there are other expenses you have to be responsible for, such as additional data or training programs. These may seem inexpensive and negligible, but if you sum it up over one year, it could be a significant loss to your budget.
When choosing a service provider, you want to ensure that they can provide the service your business currently needs. But if you’re planning to expand and grow your business in a short period, it’d be best to consider the solution they can offer for your future growth.
The right service provider should be able to adapt to possible changes that may happen someday. While you’re at it, ask if such changes require additional fees and the implementation timeline.
- Ease Of Use
You want to ensure that the solution provided to your business is easy to use and understand. It should only take your team an hour or so to use the phone system without any questions or confusion. Otherwise, your time and resources will be wasted on training.
The right service provider should offer a simple solution but complete with all the features you need. Try to avoid complex and sophisticated phone systems to save time and resources.
3. Check If You Have Everything You Need
Some business phone systems use both hardware and software to operate. For example, a VoIP phone system requires a software application and computer hardware to work. You want to ensure you have all the necessary tools and equipment before deciding on a provider or working on the system.
Furthermore, you may want to avoid cheaper selections. You want these devices to be as reliable and durable as possible to ensure that your operations are consistent.
4. Log In To Your System Dashboard
Once you’ve chosen the right service provider, the next task you should accomplish is creating an admin account. At this point, you may want to ask your service provider anything you need to know about the system, especially if you encounter some problems.
This dashboard is the main location where all calls are made and managed. In that case, look for someone who can serve as a backup admin if you’re out of reach or going on a vacation. Then, consider exploring the dashboard to learn and understand how your team will use it.
5. Set Call Hours
Set your business hours so all inbound calls will be forwarded and attended to accordingly. With this, you don’t have to worry about phone calls during lunch, special company days, and holidays. The system will automatically route incoming phone calls promptly.
When it comes to emergency phone calls, you want to ensure that such calls will be forwarded to the phones of your employees. At the end of their shift, don’t forget to change their numbers to avoid disturbing them outside their working hours.
6. Set Extensions
VoIP phone systems allow you to set phone extensions across different departments and locations. Keep in mind that configuring such extensions can be confusing. Therefore, it’d be best to start with an organized system.
You may start with setting extensions based on different locations or departments. Depending on how you want it systemized, you can assign each an extension based on the first digit. For example, you may set the extension of the main office to 100-199, receiving areas to 200-299, satellite branches to 300-399, and so on.
7. Establish A Positive Call Flow
You must understand the feelings of every customer when they call your company. This way, you’ll be able to serve them better and address their needs effectively. That said, create a positive call flow to ensure every customer is satisfied during phone calls.
Here are some questions to ponder when creating a positive call experience:
- Do callers receive a message upon calling the line?
- Does your company need a human receptionist to redirect incoming customer calls?
- How can your company reduce redirecting customers to another line until their problems are addressed?
- How can your company close a deal in just one call and create a loyal customer?
8. Enable Call Queueing
Do you get a heavy volume of inbound calls every day? Is it challenging to pick up those calls at the same time? If these are your day-to-day concerns, you should try setting up call queues.
Call queueing is an effective call distribution or automated routing strategy for handling multiple calls every day. Instead of trying to pick up multiple calls simultaneously, call queueing allows you to put customer calls in a queue.
Callers will have to wait for their turn until an agent becomes available. Once an agent has finished a call, they’ll be automatically redirected to queued customers on the other end of the line.
9. Install The App
If you’re using VoIP phone systems, the setup may not be complete without installing the application. If it runs on the cloud, you can also download the application for mobile devices so you can monitor and manage calls through your smartphones.
Mobile phone system apps are ideal for businesses with remote employees. With these apps, your remote team can facilitate phone calls anytime, anywhere. On top of that, mobile apps can enable employees to adjust and manage critical settings. For example, you can easily redirect incoming calls to your business number through the use of the app.
Once the app has been installed, you’re ready to start taking and making calls. But before you dial that first set of numbers, you want to ensure that everyone understands how to use the business phone system properly.
Setting up your business phone system can be daunting and overwhelming. If taking all the steps above is too much for you to deal with, don’t hesitate to call professional service providers and ask for the assistance you need. It can be the best way to ensure and guarantee that your phone system will be set up accordingly, reducing the risks and costs of potential errors and downtime.