As more and more businesses move to home working, and the use of e-commerce and online chat widgets grow, fewer and fewer businesses are opting for a professional telephone system—but that doesn’t mean they don’t still play a vital role in your businesses communications.
So what is the role of a telephone system in the modern business world? In this article we’ll explore telephone systems, what they are and how they fit in with a modern communications environment.
What is a Business Phone System?
A business telephone system is a technology solution that allows your team to make and receive telephone calls—it’s literally that simple.
Modern business telephone systems come with a lot more features, such as auto attendants, hunt groups, call queuing and more, but at the most basic level, a phone system provides a platform for communication.
A professional phone system gives each of your users or employees their own DDI (also known as an extension). This is a number that people can reach them on directly, and allows calls to be transferred between users
What is the Purpose of a Business Telephone System?
The role and purpose of a business telephone system has changed greatly over the past decade. Originally a business telephone system was there to allow staff to make and receive calls. But as home working became the norm, and telephone systems moved to the cloud, the purpose of a telephone system changed greatly.
Nowadays, a modern telephone system offer so much more than just telephone calls. These platforms are vast communications hubs, with built in features like video calling, web chats, instant messaging, conferences, call queues and more.
The purpose of a good telephone system really depends on what your business is looking to get out of it. If you’re a call centre, then arguably your main purpose will be to serve incoming calls quickly and ensure high quality audio for callers.
If you’re a company that is utilising work from home, then the purpose of your telephone system might be to allow more flexible working, using soft phone apps and video calling etc.
There is no single purpose for a business telephone system any more. In fact, almost every single one of our customers uses their telephone system for a different role. We have single-user systems, that like to have a professional landline and business number in their pocket, all the way up to multi-site businesses, schools and healthcare facilities with phones across their premises.
Because of the adaptability of a modern, cloud based phone system, you can build a system around your purpose, rather than having a phone system that only serves one purpose - to answer calls.
Below are some of the most important benefits that come with a business phone system, and something we often see our customers ask about when they’re looking to upgrade.
A professional main telephone number
Every business needs a professional main number. Having a geographic such as 020 (London) or 0117 (Bristol), gives your callers a professional impression.
Having a location specific number also allows you to focus parts of your business on specific regions.
The alternative to a local number is a non-geographic number, such as an 030 number. These are free to call and give your business a non-geographic restriction—so you don’t have to worry about specific office locations being a barrier to sale.
A modern telephone system will come with call controls such as, holding, transferring and forwarding. These controls offer vital functionality to businesses.
For example if you had a potential customer call up, and want to speak with someone specifically, but you couldn’t transfer the call, the caller would have to hang up and re-dial—which puts an additional barrier between you and that sale, and makes the process disjointed. Whose to say they’ll even re-dial?
Transferring calls is a hugely important feature for businesses, and the ease at which calls can be transferred is vital—in fact it’s our most commonly asked question: “how easy is it to transfer calls?”
Many businesses now are doing away with reception staff or people employed to answer the phone in favour of an automated attendant. An auto attendant is a pre-recorded message, played to the caller before they can select from a series of options. Chances are, if you’ve ever called a company, you’ve gone through an auto attendant.
Auto attendants allow small and medium sized businesses reduce their staff numbers, and get callers to the department they need to speak to quickly. It gives the user a level of control, and allows their call to be dealt with more quickly than routing through lots of other departments/staff members.
What is the Future of a Business Telephone System?
The biggest changes that the telecoms industry has ever faced have happened in the past couple of years, with home working and the ISDN switch off being announced. But what is the future of the telephone system?
There’s no set path for communications, the ever changing environment means that the telephone system’s role and purpose is constantly switching and adjusting. As more technologies are brought forward and implemented.
Who knows, in a few years telephone calls could be completely replaced by instant messaging, or telephone numbers replaced by chat bots.
That being said, the telephone system is still here to stay, as many businesses opt for a customer-service focused approach to their business, and a business telephone system allows customers to speak directly to them.
When upgrading or changing your phone system, its important to consider the purpose of your system, and what role you think it would play in your business. Do you need it to allow home working? Maybe you have high call volume and need a call queue etc?
For honest, no obligations advise about your next telephone system, speak to a member of our team today.