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How a phone system upgrade could help your small businesses

Have you been using the same business phone system for the last twenty years? Many companies install a phone system when they first set up their office and then never upgrade it again.

However, with more and more people moving to mobile phones instead of landlines, is the business phone on its way out? Most experts say yes - it will soon find its way to the same place the fax machine and the Rolodex did. That’s why now’s the best time to update your business phone system.

Not only will you get rid of a system that’s about to become obsolete, but you’ll also reap a number of other benefits. Here are a few of the things that you can take advantage of by upgrading your phone system.

You can More Easily Scale Up

No one wants their business to stagnate - you always want it to grow. But older phone systems simply aren’t very easy to expand, leaving you stuck with a limited number of business lines. If your system isn’t easily scalable or would be very expensive to scale up, then it’s definitely time to upgrade. It may actually cost you less to install a brand new system instead of upgrading your old one.

Expanding is Easier

If you already have other offices or if you’re planning on opening additional branches soon, you need a phone system that will support these additional areas. It can be difficult to add numbers or forward old numbers to a new office in some cases, which is why it’s imperative that you have a phone system that can support multiple offices.

A system that is easily scalable for a single business may not necessarily offer you easily scalability when you start talking about multiple locations, so this is definitely an area that needs to be considered.

You can make use of VoIP

VoIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol, is definitely where business phones are headed. This technology allows you to route your business voice calls through the internet, which gives you a number of advantages:

  • You can call anywhere in the world without worrying about long distance charges.
  • You can take calls from your laptop, tablet, or other internet-capable device.
  • Adding additional numbers does not require buying any new hardware or running any new cables.

By upgrading to a VoIP system, your employees can truly work from anywhere and still be accessible to clients. Many systems allow you to make use of your existing business phone lines in the office, but also route calls to VoIP when needed, giving you the best of both worlds. If you have employees who are often working out of the office (on a job site, at conferences, etc.) or have many employees who work from home, you need a VoIP system.

App Integrations

Many newer cloud-based phone systems support app integrations. You can integrate your phone with apps for texting, virtual meetings, faxes, and more. You can also share files directly from any device or cloud storage, making it much easier to collaborate on different projects. Using a phone system integrated with Google Apps for Work makes many tasks much easier. For example, you can make calls directly from Gmail just by clicking on a contact or can view your entire communications history including calls, messages, emails, voicemails and recordings all in one place. You can also install an app that dials a phone number when you click on it in an email or on a webpage. You can even send a Word document or Excel spreadsheet as a fax to someone with just a few clicks - there’s no need to even print it out first.

Other apps are perfect for businesses that do a lot of customer relationship management. You can record calls made over the phone using a CRM sales app, plus there are apps that automatically search and find a customer’s record from caller ID so you have their file up and ready to go before you even answer the call!

There’s Very Little Setup Time or Cost

Setting up a cloud-based system or even a VoIP business phone system is much faster and cheaper than putting in an old-style landline system. If you’re setting up a new office, why not go with the faster, cheaper, and better option? Cloud systems are especially quick and easy because it’s all plug and play - there’s almost nothing to install.

Can you Add Mobile Devices to your System?

If someone calls your office looking for their sales rep, there’s a good chance that person is out meeting with other clients. Their call, then, either goes to voicemail or is picked up by an assistant who takes a message. Either way, the client may not get a return call until the next day or even later.

In today’s fast-paced world, even a 24-hour turnaround isn’t always acceptable. That’s why many of the newer phone systems allow forwarding to a cell phone. If you can’t automatically forward someone’s call to a cell phone, it’s time to look for a new phone system. Even giving out someone’s cell phone number isn’t really acceptable any longer, especially since many people are calling from their own cell and don’t have a pen and paper handy.

Unifying your Communication Channels

Finally, new phone systems give you the chance to unify your communications channels. You can send voicemails to your email, for example. In some cases, this means listening to your voicemails by clicking on them; in other cases, you can actually have voicemails automatically transcribed and emailed to you. You can also use your computer to make phone calls and other tasks.

So are you ready to upgrade your old phone system? If you have, have you taken advantage of all of these things, or is there some other great reason you’ve found for upgrading?

Photo credit: Everett Collection / Shutterstock