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You may decide to stick with what you know. Possibly a traditional PBX system, or move to cloud based technology and embrace a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system.
Here are some compelling points you should consider before signing up to any provider and will help with the decision making process!
With a traditional premises based telephone system, you initially purchase the hardware and software upfront. This means you have to gauge how much capacity is necessary, now and for the future.
This means, if you are going through a quiet patch or your business is seasonal, you can’t scale down. You are therefore paying for lines and services that are not in use.
With a VoIP system, it's simply a case of adding or taking away extensions and services when demand dictates. This is especially important if your business is growing, as you can add to the system incredibly quickly and easily.
Generally a premises based telephone system costs more than a cloud based system and delivers less in terms of functionality. Once your premises based system is live, you then need to pay for bolt-on modules, which can be expensive.
We’d say this is probably one of the main reasons that business communications are moving rapidly over to cloud based telephone systems.
You will enjoy standard features such as:-
Easy to access call reporting
Voicemail to e-mail
Compatibility with CRM software using TAPI or API integration, for click to dial and screen popping
Auto attendant i.e. Press 1 for sales, Press 2 for marketing.
Call queues and cascading
Free inter-site calls
All these features can be implemented easily to create a bespoke system for your exact business needs.
Every small or medium business can now benefit from sophisticated features that once only larger companies could enjoy. The system can be tailored EXACTLY to your needs and changed with very short notice.
If business continuity is important to you, (and why wouldn’t it be!) then VoIP is for you!
You can easily divert calls to other phones and locations, if disaster strikes.
Divert to a mobile(s) or another landline(s) or both. This means your business keeps moving along without loss of important calls.
With a traditional system, it can take several hours to install a divert and take the divert off once everything is back to normal.
And, with a traditional telephone system, you can only divert the lines to one number. Conversely, with a cloud based phone system, you can divert to any number of devices.
Infact, you can set up an automatic divert so that calls instantly fall over to another phone if your data connection goes down, or there is a fault on the line.
If you have several sites or offices or occasionally work from home then a VoIP solution gives you the flexibility of being able to work from anywhere, providing you have a data connection.
This data connection can be broadband, 3G or 4G. You simply plug your own extension in, and the phone acts exactly as it would on your own office desk! This particular feature is practically non-existent with a traditional system.
The major advantage of VoIP over a traditional system, is that you can make numerous concurrent calls.
A broadband connection with a 1 Mbps upload speed is equivalent to 10 lines. You can immediately see the potential of being able to take and receive more calls at any given time!
With a traditional system, you can only make and take calls over the lines you have. One line - one call.
Having a system that is instantly upgraded with the current release of software is really important. And, this is exactly what you get (free of charge) with a cloud based system.
Why would you want to wait for an engineer to call and sort an upgrade out and then charge you for doing so?
Before you decide, take your time to talk to a telephony expert to establish what is best for your business now.
Cloud based telephony is THE way forward - what's not to love?
If you need impartial advice, give Merlin a call now.
The Merlin Team