In recent times, video calls have become ubiquitous—for obvious reasons. We couldn’t go a week without at least one Zoom quiz or a Google Meet between friends. This shift has affected consumers around the world, and, of course, it also affects businesses.
So-called unified communication and collaboration systems have seen an unparalleled increase during 2020, mostly due to Covid-19. Platforms like Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams have helped thousands of businesses communicate and function effectively during the global pandemic.
But despite the flashiness of video conferencing and live messaging, the business world would be on its knees without well-handled phone calls. Customers want to be able to talk to a human on the phone quickly and easily, especially for problems that are more complicated than can be dealt with by chatbot. While the video elements of platforms have been the ‘heroes’ of lockdown, nothing beats a traditional business phone system for customer contact. And full unified communications systems combine these channels (voice, video, messaging, and more) into one platform.
While many businesses may look past these systems, it’s the companies that take advantage of this technology that are improving their communications and assisting their customers, partners, and employees better.
Modern Phone Systems for Modern Business
In 2020, business phone systems might seem a little old-fashioned. Today’s technology has given us more options for communicating but the phone remains the main method of communication for businesses. The phone is crucial for business operations—especially a cloud-based phone system.
A cloud phone system or a hosted PBX is a VoIP-based business telephone service that’s hosted by a third-party provider. It allows you to make calls over the Internet easily, cost-effectively, and connect with staff, clients and customers across the globe. Modern business phone systems—also known as a PBX—are almost exclusively based on and using VoIP technology, which allows you to make calls using the Internet, rather than older analog and ISDN phone lines.
These phone systems have really come into their own during lockdown. Having a hosted phone system in place has helped businesses transition to remote working smoother and has made it easier to keep up regular communication. Having access to modern phone systems like 3CX has given businesses the ability to make professional phone calls, send chat messages to employees and hold audio and video meetings with screenshare and control, all while staff are working from home.
Systems like Slack and Teams are also realizing the importance of traditional voice calls. For example, Direct Routing allows external voice calls to be routed through Microsoft Teams, and even overlaying more specialist phone systems on top of the Teams platform to allow advanced routing, recording, and more.
Why Your Business Still Needs a Phone System
Many of us have worked in smaller companies, start-ups, and lifestyle businesses, and they may not have a phone system (or similar infrastructure) at all, other than a few mobile phones for contact and several spreadsheets for information gathering. This can slow a company’s growth significantly.
A phone system is a vital piece of technology for any small business, particularly a start-up company. A reliable, scalable, and powerful phone system is the key to establishing yourself as a fully-fledged business. A cloud-based phone system is always the most flexible and cost-effective solution, whatever business size. Here are some examples of why your business still needs a phone system.
When starting a business, it’s important to make a good first impression straight away. Using a personal phone number in the early days before you’ve sorted your technology can come across negatively and unprofessional. If you start with a professional phone number, you create a strong brand presence and make your company seem already established and professional.
The way you answer the phone is also important when attracting people to your business. Adding intelligent call features gives off an air of professionalism and makes it seem like your business is already booming when you’re only just starting out. If you introduce hold music, auto attendants, and a virtual receptionist to your phone system, it makes your business appear larger than it is. In addition, having a phone number assigned to a specific area code gives your business a virtual presence and makes your brand look stronger, bigger and boosts your ranking and status. It also gets you off on the right foot with potential clients as you’re proving how important their call is to you and handling it properly
By introducing a business phone system straight away, your employees can take full advantage of its efficiency—especially your sales and support teams. If your team does a serious amount of inbound and outbound calling, it’s much faster and easier to use a business phone system, including devices like headsets and softphones. Linking your phone system to a CRM is beneficial for employees who make and receive calls regularly. CRM records give you one view of all prospect and customer activity, including contact details, call records, and services purchased. CRM integration allows calls to be automatically added against a user’s record and have the record pop up when they call, which provides a better service. This helps you resolve incoming queries quicker and allows you to do less admin and more selling or supporting.
Good Audio Sound and Connection
One of the most important (and obvious) things when it comes to making and receiving phone calls is having high-quality audio. The most prominent reason for this is so the people contacting you can hear clearly what you’re saying and vice versa. Making sure you have a clear sound and connection when you’re first beginning your company makes your business seem more established, professional, and reliable—vital for any business but particularly for a start-up.
A phone system offers a wide variety of services and features that benefit your business, whether it’s a SME or a larger organization. These include simple calling features, like call queues and auto attendants, to the more advanced, like conference calls and call recordings that improve customer service. These features help your business appear larger and more professional—beneficial for beginner companies—and organizes your communications better.
Use it Anywhere
When starting a business, you’ll find that you’re running around trying to get everything sorted and putting fires out everywhere. With a business cloud phone system, you can make and answer calls from anywhere, meaning you can take your communications with you when you’re on the go. This can be done via softphone or desktop applications that keep you connected to your business infrastructure while you’re away from the office. This in particular has been a saving grace for many businesses and employees while we’ve been stuck at home during Covid-19.
Allows for Future Growth
As mentioned before, VoIP phone systems can be tailored and added as your business develops. As your company grows—if you’re employing new staff and expanding offices—you can add extra features, lines, and users. This makes expanding your business easier and less stressful. Plus, you won’t have to keep buying extra equipment and software, rather you can add and build onto your current system.
Gradwell is a leading provider of communications technology to the UK’s SMEs. Founded over 20 years ago, we were one of the UK’s pioneers in developing VoIP technology, and are now trusted by over 8,000 businesses to provide a wide range of leading telephony and connectivity products.