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How to Choose the Best Phone Service for Your Business Communications

How to Choose the Best Phone Service for Your Business Communications

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If you’ve been using the same phone service since you opened your doors, you might be feeling the pinch. Perhaps the system that has served you well for years is beginning to malfunction, or it is having difficulty with your increased call traffic. There should be nothing to affect your smooth and effective company operation. Luckily, there are new technologies available to keep your team engaged and your company competitive that you could never have imagined when you first started out.Keep in touch wherever your company takes you: the office, customer sites, trade events, and beyond. Encourage team collaboration through voice calls, instant chats, document sharing, and video conferencing. Simplify all of your company systems, such as CRM and online file storage. All these are possible with a properly selected phone service for your business.

So where do you begin, how to get a business phone number, and what makes a successful business phone system? You guessed it: we did the research for you. In this post, we’ll take a look at the factors to weigh up when choosing a phone system for your small business. Find the right solution to give your small business a professional, modern edge.

1. Determine Your Business Needs

The first step in choosing the best phone service for your business is to determine your communication needs. This includes the number of employees who will need access to the phone system, the types of calls your business will make (e.g., local, long-distance, international), and the features you require (e.g., voicemail, call forwarding, conferencing). Knowing your needs will help you narrow down your options and select a provider that can meet your requirements.

2. Consider Your Budget

To make sure you’re picking a phone system that’s right for your needs, it’s important to know how much you’ll need to spend. There are some phone systems that offer a great deal for the price. If you don’t want to be disappointed, it’s best to do your homework and do the math. Look at the rates and features you’re considering and add them up. Then, subtract any extras you don’t need. If you find that a certain phone system costs too much, look into service providers who offer affordable rates. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re able to afford your monthly costs. If you’re looking to keep your phone system costs to a minimum, choose a service provider that offers affordable monthly fees.

Budget is always a key factor when it comes to business decisions. When choosing a phone service, you need to consider the cost of the system, including any hardware or software you may need. Additionally, you should look at the monthly fees for the service and any additional fees, such as fees for exceeding your allotted minutes or data. By knowing your budget and what you can afford, you can select a phone service that meets your needs without breaking the bank.

An important reminder: many services appear to be affordable on the surface, but there may be some hidden costs just beneath the surface. Therefore, while assessing your alternatives, make careful to inquire about all potential “fine print” add-ons, such as:

  • Startup fees, consulting services, or training if required;
  • Additional fees for toll-free or vanity numbers;
  • Toll-free minute overages in excess of a predefined “bucket” of minutes
  • International call or forwarding fees to foreign users;
  • Costs for forwarded calls to desk phones
  • Fees for contract cancellation;
  • Document storage costs in excess of a certain space allotment;
  • Costs for integrating or developing tools;
  • Multiple locations or remote user fees.

Finally, don’t be afraid to inquire about discounts! The customer-oriented vendors will provide cost-cutting options such as price discounts for user volume tiers or annual payments.

3. Evaluate the Provider’s Reliability

When selecting a phone service, it is important to evaluate the provider’s reliability. This means looking at the service’s uptime, call quality, and customer support. You want to choose a provider that can offer reliable service with minimal downtime and good call quality. If you’re going to invest in new technology, it should deliver on its promises, right? Here are some things to look for when it comes to reliability:

  • Third-party reviews – Everyone claims to provide the best service, but who actually follows through? Reading reviews in reputable tech media is a wonderful way to find this out;
  • End-to-end reliability monitoring – If you’re going to entrust your communications to someone else, you need to understand how they monitor their service. A good provider will constantly check their network to ensure that everything is working well. A system with alarms that warn of major decreases in performance is an additional feature to look for;
  • Self-service is available – Is it possible to check the reliability of the new phone service, or do you have to sit back and wait for the service provider to notify you if something is wrong? Seek a system that allows you to evaluate the general health of your communications 24 hours a day, seven days a week, before an issue becomes widespread and impacts your organization.

4. Check the Provider’s Compatibility with Your Existing Infrastructure

When selecting a phone service provider, it is essential to ensure that the provider’s service is compatible with your existing infrastructure. For example, if you are using a particular type of phone or software, you want to ensure that the provider’s service can work with that technology. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the provider’s service is compatible with your internet speed and bandwidth to avoid issues with call quality or dropped calls.

5. Evaluate the Provider’s Scalability

As your business grows, your communication needs may also change. When selecting a phone service, you want to ensure that the provider can scale with your business. This means evaluating the provider’s ability to add new users, features, and services as your business needs change. Additionally, you want to ensure that the provider’s service can accommodate any new technology or communication tools that you may adopt in the future. You may move from one service tier to another as your company’s needs evolve with the need for video meetings, integrations, or using metrics. One of the nicest aspects of online phone services is the ability to subscribe to services based on functional needs and expected user traffic.

A new system, like phone service, is just as good as its potential to expand with your company. It might be difficult to predict what you’ll want as your business grows, but here are some scalable services to look for:

  • The ability to record personalized greetings, voicemail greetings, and phone calls;
  • Call forwarding, call waiting, and call parking;
  • The number of voicemail messages each user can keep until their inbox is full;
  • SMS and group messaging;
  • AI functions;
  • Inbound and outbound electronic faxing;
  • Integration of a calendar, email, and file sharing;
  • Desk phone hot desking;
  • Connectivity with CRMs, customer service help desks, and other collaboration and productivity software;
  • Analytics data for incoming and outgoing call volumes, as well as conversation time.

6. Check the Provider’s Security and Compliance

Security and compliance are critical considerations when it comes to business communication. You want to ensure that your business communication is secure and compliant with relevant regulations, such as HIPAA or GDPR. When selecting a phone service provider, you should evaluate the provider’s security protocols, data encryption, and compliance with relevant regulations. To ensure that you select a secure, reliable phone service for your small business, seek one that:

  • Clearly details the physical and electronic data center safeguards being used – from firewalls and encrypted data transfer to intrusion detection systems and vulnerability scanning;
  • Has the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ SOC 2 Type 2 or SOC 3 certification (AICPA)? Other notable cross-industry security certifications are SSAE 18 and ISO 27001. Both confirm that the service has been audited and deemed to be secure;
  • Is certified for industry-specific standards such as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) for retail, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) for financial investments, and HIPAA for healthcare;
  • Is open about their service quality throughout your business Wi-Fi network, home office settings, and mobile cellular networks.

Ready to Find the Best Phone Service for Your Small Business?

Whether you’re starting a new business or expanding, it can be tough to find a phone system that fits your company’s needs. You can’t just start up a new business and leave it at that. Without a business phone system in place, you’ll have no means to communicate with your customers, clients, or employees. With this being said, it’s important to start off on the right foot with your business phone system. You’ll need to pay close attention to things like cost, functionality, and compatibility.

Selecting the best phone service for your business is an important decision that can impact your communication, productivity, and overall success. By considering the factors discussed in this article, you can select a phone service provider that meets your needs, fits your budget, and provides reliable communication for your business.

Remember to evaluate your business needs, budget, provider’s reliability, features, compatibility, scalability, security and compliance, reputation, and reviews before making your final decision. With the right phone service provider, you can improve your communication and achieve your business goals.

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