Nowadays, you can run your business with the help of your mobile phone. But as your business expands, you must also upgrade your means of communicating with clients and vendors. Thus, you need to set up a system that can cater to your business’ growing needs. You don’t have to eliminate your mobile phone as many business phone systems allow you to incorporate it into them.
What Is A Business Phone System?
Figuring out whether you need a business phone system comes down to understanding what it is. As the name suggests, it’s a system you use for business communication purposes. Traditionally, it’s a multi-telephone system that allows you to monitor, meter, handle, and transfer calls, and it can accommodate conference calls as well.
But as technology advances, the business phone system has also leveled up. While traditional business phone systems still exist, more hi-tech ones have emerged, eliminating the need for cabled phone systems.
Steps In Setting Up A Business Phone System
There are various types of business phone systems depending on the needs of your enterprise. Thus, you may want to consider following these steps to help you determine and set up the right business phone system for you:
Choose From The Types Of Business Phone Systems Available
As mentioned, there are several kinds of business phone systems out there. Each has features that may suit your needs and preferences. Here are three types you can look into:
- Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP): So far, VoIP is the most advanced form of business phone system you can opt for. One of the best features of this type is that it connects individuals worldwide at affordable rates. Unlike traditional phones that require you to pay for costly calls, VoIP involves using the internet, computers, and even mobile phones to make or receive calls.
Another feature of VoIP is autodialing, which you can utilize for cold calls. Most VoIP providers allow you to have an auto dialer so you can still use your existing phone number to autodial from your mobile phone or computer. Using auto dialer apps like Call Cowboy Auto Dialer, you can boost your employees’ productivity since autodialing makes for more efficient outbound calls.
If your business is digitized, turning to VoIP would be a good idea since all you need is the internet and your preferred gadgets in order to make the most of it. Moreover, you won’t have to worry about maintaining your business phone system because VoIP comes with hosted versions. The VoIP service provider will ensure that you enjoy the features of VoIP without having to deal with maintenance and installation.
- Private Branch Exchange (PBX): Another business phone system with excellent features is the PBX. One of those is allowing you to route incoming calls automatically between programmable devices. It also lets your business operate in times of electric blackouts.
A more advanced version of this system is the hosted PBX, wherein the telephone provider takes care of your programmable switching device—no more on-premise installation involved. Thus, you can have someone maintain your telephone system similar to that of VoIP. However, the main difference is that VoIP uses the internet and no longer needs telephone lines, while PBX requires telephone lines for it to function.
- Key System Units (KSU): The last and most basic business phone system is the KSU, wherein the phone lines are limited. Thus, businesses with more than 40 employees may not be suitable for this type. Because it’s similar to a home telephone, its features are just as simple. That means you need to ask permission from your phone provider if you have 10 phone operators who’ll be using the system.
Since KSU is more for small businesses with no intention of expanding, you would be better off with VoIP and PBX. As mentioned, VoIP uses the internet, so if your business has taken the digital route, VoIP may be best for you. However, if your business is mainly based in a physical office with more than 40 employees, PBX might suit you. It allows interdepartmental sections to make, receive, or transfer calls during office hours.
That being said, your choice depends on the type of business you’re running. With the information above, you can avoid spending on a business phone system that may be inadequate for your operations.
Select Your Business Phone Number
Depending on the type of business you have, you can choose the following for your business phone number:
- Vanity Number: Although it’s not necessary to have a vanity number, you can still go for it. It’s because you can advertise your business using the number itself. Also, it helps your customers remember your phone number since you’ll be using digits associated with the letters corresponding to the name of your business.
- Local Area Code Number: This is helpful if you want your target customers to know that you’re from their local community.
- Toll-Free Number: On the other hand, you may want a toll-free number if your customers are located nationwide. You can also let your customers know that your business is national and at a larger scale with that kind of number. It’s also easy to remember, and consumers can call it for free. There are many providers like 1800 numbers that will help you acquire a toll-free number.
Aside from these types of business phone numbers, it’s advisable to use a series of digits with a catchy sequence. That way, consumers can remember it easily.
Since your business phone number represents your business, it’s best to choose one that matches your brand. That way, if clients see your number, they’ll know right away which business it belongs to. Thus, if they need a product or service that you offer, they’re more likely to remember calling you because they’re familiar with your business phone number.
Get The Right Business Phone Features
Since your business is more likely to choose an advanced business phone system, you must select a provider that has all the features you need. By doing this, you can maximize the service fee you’re paying while improving your business operations. Here are several business phone features you can consider including in your plan or phone system:
- Caller ID: With this feature, the name and number of every person who calls you are digitally displayed. By being able to identify the caller, you or your employees can determine the best response prior to picking up the phone. It also helps you obtain relevant information about the person on the other line, which you can later use for business purposes.
- Voice Mail: If your business doesn’t have a 24/7 customer support team to answer calls, voice mail would do you a world of good. By having voice mail, you can still receive calls you can attend to or answer later on. Instead of leaving your customers to attempt calling you for several hours, they can just leave a voice mail regarding their concerns. This would minimize their frustration and give them peace of mind knowing that their message has reached you. Nowadays, more advanced voice mails are accessible from your mobile phone even when you’re not in the office. Moreover, some business phone systems allow longer messages for voice mails, so your customers can get into detail when talking about the issues they’re facing.
- Call Delegation: With this, your employees can easily transfer incoming calls to designated persons. Most call delegation features come with visuals, which make it easy for the receiver to know whom certain calls are for.
- Answering Rules: Your business phone system should have a feature that allows phones to be answered during operating hours only. After those designated hours, calls can be routed to voice mail or individual extensions if you have call center support.
- Shared Lines: Most importantly, your business phone system should enable you to use one business phone number on various devices. Especially if you’re not limited to doing business in an office, a good business phone system should allow you or your employees to answer calls from your mobile phone or home computer. That way, you can operate anywhere.
Record Your Main Message
After having the vital features ready, it’s time to record your main voice mail message. This is crucial as it can help your business create a positive customer experience. Since you can’t answer all calls immediately, particularly after business hours and during holidays, it may be best to leave a message.
Don’t leave your callers with a beep tone. Instead, greet them and inform them of your absence at the moment. Or you can tell them about some exciting news they can look forward to, such as upcoming sales once you’re back after the holidays. Avoid being monotonous so customers will be encouraged to call you again in the future.
Use your voice mail greeting to convince potential clients that they should do business with you. You can accomplish that by keeping the following in mind:
- Provide important information about your business such as your contact information, social media pages, website, and operating hours. That way, your customers will know how they can learn more about your business and the best time to call for urgent matters.
If they’re calling to get more details regarding your products or services, informing them about your website or social media accounts will allow them to visit those pages and easily check out what you’re offering. The next time they call, it may be for the sake of ordering a product or asking for your services. Since publishing a website is one of the many ways to bring your business online, sharing your site address with callers is a free way to generate more traffic to your website.
- If possible, hire a professional voice artist who can effectively convey your message. By doing this, you can ensure that the voice your callers get to hear is pleasant and professional.
- But if you prefer to record the message on your own, avoid being a script reader. Personalize it like you’re talking to a friend in a professional manner so your callers won’t hear a robotic voice.
- As mentioned, make the message professional yet friendly. Your tone should reflect what your business is all about or the current season. For instance, if your absence is due to holidays like Christmas, your message and manner of speaking should be upbeat.
- Last but not the least, be sincere. Do away with overused phrases and cliches such as ‘Your call is important to us.’ Callers have already heard that many times, so make your message unique and memorable.
For example, you may want to record a message similar to this:
‘Hi, you’ve reached [name of your business]. It’s the Christmas season, and our team is spending the holidays with family and friends. Please leave your name and phone number, and we’ll call you ASAP when we return on [date]. You can also check our website, [website name], and our [social media platform] account, [social media handle], to stay updated. You can also grab discount coupons for our after-holiday offers when you drop by our website. Have a merry Christmas!’
Add Phone Extensions
Lastly, you can add your business phone extensions if you want to automatically direct your callers to specific employees, departments, or the information they need. This step is easy as most business phone providers allow you to create your own phone extensions with their assistance.
By having phone extensions, your customers can press a number to get the information or person they’re looking for. For example, you can say ‘Press 0 for our location and business hours’ or lead them to the right department with ‘Press 1 for support, 2 for sales.’ This way, you can encourage productivity among your employees rather than letting them answer generic queries or transfer calls to other departments.
Since many business phone systems are cloud-based, you can direct calls to any device programmed into your system. This means you can add all essential team members to your phone system so they can use their own devices when answering rerouted calls.
Having a business phone system lets your customers know that you’re running a professional and legitimate enterprise. And instead of changing your number all the time, which may lead to the loss of customers, you can stick to one number that allows clients to reach you anytime.
Your business can grow and become more efficient through a business phone system with the features mentioned above. It would be best to have a business phone system installed soon and see how it can benefit your company.