How to Find the Best Phone System for Your Business
If you expect any volume of calls for your business, a normal personal phone plan simply won’t do.
At some point, you’ll need a phone system specifically for your business. And preferably sooner rather than later.
But with the plethora of options out there, what do you look for? How do you choose?
In this post, we’ll talk about what to look for when picking a phone system for your business. As a bonus, we’ll also discuss a few attributes that make a phone system stand out from the crowd.
The first thing you need to explore is what features you’re going to need.
What functionalities will you need for communicating by phone with clients or partners?
We’ve compiled a list of business phone system must-haves you don’t want to miss.
This is one of the most basic functionalities any phone system should have. If the business phone system you’re considering doesn’t have call-forwarding capabilities, it’s a good idea to keep looking.
Call forwarding lets you receive phone calls on a phone number or device other than the one being dialed.
As an example, if you called the number 555-MONKEYS, your call would send to a different phone number, 555-GARAGES.
As the caller, you’d be none the wiser.
(Check out NumberBarn’s Ultimate Guide to Call Forwarding for more on call forwarding and how to best utilize it.)
As a business owner, protecting your personal privacy is crucial. Call forwarding helps give you that security.
With NumberGarage call forwarding, you can still keep your personal device and forward all calls to it without divulging your personal number.
But call forwarding isn’t just single phone usage for individual business owners, solopreneurs, etc.
Call forwarding becomes even more essential the bigger your business gets.
As your call traffic increases and your team expands, call forwarding allows you to enable the indispensable simultaneous ring function.
If you have more than one person in your business receiving and accepting calls, you need simultaneous ring.
Like call forwarding, phone calls can be directed to any phone number. However, with simultaneous ring, phone calls can route to multiple team members at the same time.
That way, you can minimize the amount of missed inbound calls.
It’s an incredibly valuable tool for growing businesses, especially as your different departments grow.
Your business has call forwarding and simultaneous ring, but now you’re at the point where callers may need to be directed to a specific department.
How do you not only ensure their call gets answered, but that it’s also answered by the right person or department?
Also known as a virtual receptionist, menus allow the caller to “Press 1 for sales, press 2 for support, press 3 for billing,” and so on.
This function can even be combined with simultaneous ring so when the caller presses their desired number, their call can route to multiple people.
Besides the many benefits of auto-attendant menus, they’re also an industry standard. There should be no reason they’re not included in the plan you choose to handle your business phone system.
Okay, but what about when you and your team are off the clock and unable to take calls?
That’s where schedules come in.
Aptly named, “schedules” let you configure where your calls are routed based on your schedule and business hours.
If you’re the primary contact for your business and you’re on vacation, with schedules, you can set all incoming calls to route to your second-in-command for the days you’re gone.
Or if your business only operates from 9 to 5 in your respective time zone, you can have all calls go straight to voicemail during off-hours. Then during open hours, calls will automatically go to the team (or other setting options), without you needing to change the settings yourself.
Schedules help your business run efficiently and give you peace of mind that all calls go where they need to go when they need to.
There’s no other way to say this. If you don’t offer SMS for customers to contact you, you are definitely missing out.
Over 20% of consumers have attempted to text a company’s phone number to get ahold of them. The only question is, would you get that message and have the ability to respond? And when it comes to outbound texting, SMS marketing has a 98% open rate and results in a 60x faster response rate than email marketing.
Your business phone system provider should include text messaging features, otherwise, you risk losing important leads and potential revenue.
If at some point you need to supercharge your SMS marketing with tools like templates, customizable auto-replies, keyword campaigns and mass messaging, you can always use platforms like String to augment your outreach efforts.
Text software like String gives you engagement opportunities you can’t afford to miss.
Everything is online and mobile in this day and age.
Your business phone system should have some level of mobile accessibility. Especially if you’re a solopreneur, carrying the responsibility of every facet of your business.
Yes, call forwarding to your cell phone number might suffice. However, having a dedicated mobile app can not only help you operate your phone systems while you’re OOO, but it can streamline your most important telephony functions in one place.
Determining if your business phone system includes a mobile app is something to strongly consider when choosing a business phone system to support your telecommunication needs.
In addition to a dedicated mobile app, make sure your business phone system also lets you manage your features, calls, messages, etc. from a browser directly from your desktop.
Companies like NumberGarage let you access every feature, including making and receiving calls directly from your computer, without actually having to pick up your cell phone.
Streamline your workflow and multiply your multitasking without ever missing a call or message.
Volume of Business
The business phone system you choose for your phone support should be able to accommodate your company’s needs, at any size.
Sure, you may just be a startup right now. But you have plans to increase the size of your business, right? Think long-term and make sure you choose a business phone system that can stick with you long-term as well, through all the fluctuations of your enterprise endeavors.
Phone System for Solopreneurs
The business phone system you choose should be able to have options for startups and gigs. Meaning, you don’t need flashy features with unflattering prices.
If you’re a gig worker or a startup, a virtual phone system that’s easy to use and handles the primary needs of your business is perfect.
Call forwarding with inbound/outbound calling, voicemail, schedules, and texting features will set you up for success. And if you’re feeling fancy, mobile app accessibility would also be great, considering you’re the one in charge of all operations.
(Pro tip: NumberGarage includes all these features, including a dedicated mobile app, with our virtual phone system for gig workers.)
But having these features for your startup would be pointless if you can’t grow beyond it.
Phone System for Small Businesses
Your virtual phone system should be able to support your evolution from startup to small business.
Your business has a small, but developing team. Some, if not all, of your team may need to interact with your increasing number of calls.
With a small business phone system, you can have multiple users, simultaneous ring, a menu for callers to reach who they need, schedules to accommodate your team’s needs, and more.
And, of course, your phone system should also have the ability to scale as your business expands and establishes multiple brands.
Phone System for Large or Multiple Businesses
You’ve done it! You’ve built your business from the ground up, even with a few new brands under your belt. You have multiple departments, each with large teams.
And hopefully, your phone system supported you every step of the way. You’re ready to upgrade your virtual phone system for your multiple departments and brands.
With a big business phone system, you can manage multiple phone numbers, multiple users, along with all the other critical features we’ve just discussed.
Transferring or migrating all your operations and users to a new system could be extremely frustrating. So, you can see why it’s paramount to have a phone system that can grow with you.
Access to Phone Numbers
As you enlarge your business, you will also likely need to add additional phone numbers for team members, departments, etc. To avoid unnecessary porting fees on top of the price of your new number, it’s best to get them all in one place.
When choosing your phone system, look for one that also offers phone numbers.
So then how do you choose these new phone numbers?
First, you need to determine whether the number you need is local or toll-free, so make sure that your phone system service offers both.
Then, make sure you’re able to choose your number. And we don’t just mean you have a list of 20 numbers and you choose which one you like. We mean you can choose your area code and each subsequent digit thereafter.
The number you choose can be one that’s significant to you, it can have a pattern of repeating numbers or it can be a Vanity Number that spells out a word of your company name. (The latter option is ideal since you’re more likely to get more calls with a Vanity Number.)
If that doesn’t matter to you and you just need new numbers, one for each member of your team, that’s fine too! What better phone system to go with than the one with the largest marketplace for local and toll-free phone numbers?
With NumberGarage, you can search for any phone number you need among our over 66 million numbers (and counting!).
There are only a couple of things left to evaluate, one of which we’re sure you’ve been waiting for: pricing.
The cost of a virtual phone system is a major deciding factor when choosing a company to support all your operations. Probably the most important factor to you.
You’ve likely already noticed that pricing between companies can be drastically different, as well as pricing between plans within those companies. So, how do you choose the right plan for the right price?
First things first, make sure all the features you need are available in one plan. Then verify whether any of their plans offer extra features you might anticipate using when your business grows.
Basic plans usually suffice to start off with.
But don’t just go with what’s cheapest. Read the fine print.
You can avoid sticker shock by assuming that there may be additional fees at checkout for initial setup, taxes, surcharges, etc. Expect to see inevitable required State taxes and industry-standard fees like the Federal Cost Recovery Charge on your bill.
Just make sure the primary plan costs aren’t exorbitant.
Charging for additional users and features is normal, but make sure you’re not breaking the bank for it. Also, verify you won’t be paying for features you don’t need.
If a business phone system’s pricing is slimy from the start, you won’t have a great experience with them in the long run.
NumberGarage’s Business Phone System
We hope we’ve educated you with these practical tips on choosing the perfect phone system for your unique business needs. They might seem like a lot to consider. But, don’t worry, you can still make it easier for yourself and your company.
Why not go with NumberGarage?
We pride ourselves on simplicity and affordability. With NumberGarage, you get straightforward service with some of the lowest prices in the industry and no hidden or bloated feature add-ons.
We can support you through every step of your journey. From small start-up to large enterprise.
If you’re not sure which plan to choose, our support team is happy to help.