In today’s business, where customer service and information flow are major priorities, having an efficient communication system is of huge importance. Telephones are the main means for interaction with customers and between employees and the choice of the right type of office phone systems can highly improve any business.
Telephone systems aren’t what they used to be a few years back when it was enough to have a few connected phone lines. They have developed into big networks, using digital and Internet based telephony to reduce costs and establish an internal network.
Every business can benefit from all the upgraded features, making it convenient for the customer to reach them and for their employees to work more efficiently. The market offers many different types and providers, so companies need to make a guided decision before investing in a phone system.
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Learn more about Office Telephone Systems
|Basic Concept of Key Telephone Systems|
|What is PBX Telephone Systems?|
|What is VoIP Phone Systems?|
|Basic concept of Hybrid Telephone Systems|
|What to Consider before Choosing a Phone System?|
This is the most basic and easy to use phone system available. It is operated by a Key System Unit (KSU), which is a general switching device, allowing to manually select a phone line. Key telephone systems are similar to home phone systems and include simple features, like forwarding calls, voicemail, call blocking, intercom and paging, speakerphone and hold function.
Advantages and Disadvantages of KSU
|Easy to use and adapt to||Not portable or flexible|
|Inexpensive, comparing with other systems||Supports a maximum of 40 users|
|Low installation and maintenance costs||Doesn’t allow advanced features|
Another version of the Key system is the KSU-less system, which is very similar but operates without the Key system unit. It is not available on the market and is requested by the business’ phone provider. There are no installation costs since the KSU-less is a do-it-yourself system.
Advantages and Disadvantages of KSU-less
|Flexible, portable, can be moved across locations||The maximum number of users is 10|
|Wireless and easy to use and maintain||Supports only basic features, similar to the KSU system|
PBX, or Private Branch Exchange systems is a fully digital system with advanced features, which are suitable for any small and medium business. The system is operated by hardware as a fully-programmable switching device.
The main leverage of PBX’s over Key systems is that they are highly automated and provide additional features such as conference calling, transferring, waiting time, hold music, and many more.
This type of system has the functionality of phone extensions, enabling internal networking. For big offices with multiple locations, internal phone systems are a must for effective communication. PBX systems use extensions or additional numbers (ex. 123) before placing calls to indicate to the system where the call is directed to.
PBX systems also have an off-premise version - hosted PBX, which saves businesses the costs of purchasing equipment, installation and maintenance.
6 Advantages of PBX Telephone Systems:
- Allows more than 40 users and is scalable for business growth
- High automation for a smoother process
- Supports other analogue devices, such as fax machines, phone extensions, and modems
- UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) function is able to power the system in case of a power outage
- Call information can be extracted for accounting purposes and calculating cost of calls
- Allows internal networking
2 Disadvantages of PBX Telephone Systems:
- More expensive than a Key system, which can be avoided by deploying hosted PBX
- On-premise PBX’s are a 'single point of failure,' meaning that if one part of the system fails, the whole system stops working and fixing this problem can take much time, during which the business will not be able to operate
What is VoIP Phone Systems?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is an entirely Internet-based phone system. It is the innovation of telephony, allowing calls to be transferred over IP and it is the most advanced with the highest functionality.
The difference between digital and Internet telephony is that calls aren’t directed at phone lines, but a computer network. When a person places the call, it is sent through the Internet, where when reaching the user it is transformed into a traditional phone format in order to reach the phone line.
Depending on the provider and equipment purchased, VoIP phone systems offer calls of high quality even with international calls. Some of the sophisticated features of VoIP enable employees to answer calls even if they are not currently in their office and rules out a receptionist since it offers an auto-attendant.
VoIP systems also have a hosted version, which can be helpful for businesses to avoid the high initial and maintenance costs.
7 Advantages of VoIP System:
- Highly advanced features for bigger convenience
- A long-term money saver, since long-distance calls are placed over Internet connection
- High quality of calls
- Mobile and able to access from any location
- Flexible in terms of current infrastructure and connection of devices
- Unlimited capacity and supported operators
- Easy to add and remove users without an operational impact
3 Disadvantages of VoIP Systems:
- The most expensive phone system, regarding installation and maintenance
- Needs more equipment to set up (phone, adapter, Internet connection, VoIP provider)
- More complex than traditional phone systems, so it may be harder for employees to operate with it
Hybrid telephone system have emerged recently with the aim to be the most flexible choice for businesses of any size. They combine on- and off-premise solutions and also enable companies to keep their current infrastructure and to take advantage of VoIP features without making a huge investment.
The biggest advantage of the hybrid telephone system is that it is completely customisable and can be suited for any company.
Every type of phone system has its advantages, but the one that will fit a business best has to correspond to its main objectives and needs. Consideration of the business profile is the first step for choosing the right telephone system.
When designing the plan for your business, you should consider the number of employees and price ranges of diffrent available telephone systems.
|Type||Number of employees||Price range per extension|
The size of the business is a big factor when choosing a phone system since they have different allowed capacity. For instance, KSU-less systems aren’t suitable for rapidly growing business because of the limited number of users, while others like VoIP systems have no limit of operators.
The current situation and future expansion objectives are important to consider, so the company can invest in a system that will suit their long-term goals.
Places of operation of the company can also determine which telephone system is best for them. Local businesses with only one office may not need a complex PBX or VoIP system, while others with multiple locations and international headquarters can benefit most from an Internet-based system.
Changing the current phone system causes some changes within an organization, especially with implementing more complex systems. Companies may need to re-train their staff to work with the new infrastructure, which is an extra cost for them.
Business owners should evaluate the level of complexity of the system and if their employees will be able to operate it efficiently.
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