Don’t Skimp on a Phone System for Business

When choosing a business phone system, remember the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’. If you put in the effort to start and grow your business, cutting back and using a free phone service will only cause you problems.

So you have a growing company, and you currently pay very little for your phone calls because you are using a free service. It might seem like a good idea now but what about as your business grows? Do you want people to continue to view your business as a one man shop? If not, then you need to upgrade to a professional phone system. And with all the inexpensive VoIP hosted PBX options out there (telecom in the cloud) you not only set yourself up as a professional business but are ready for growth.

VoIP hosted PBX systems normally offer many features that free phone systems do not offer like: call queues, call reporting, call recording, and transcribed voicemails (voicemail to text).

Now, don’t get me wrong, those free phone systems a lot of fans who rave about the features it gives them. But, it’s simply not a professional phone system that any size business should utilize for their day to day operations.

Here are the reasons why you should NOT use a free phone system as a business phone system:

1. It Isn’t a Phone System

No admin login, no separate user logins, no call reporting, no call queues, no unlimited phone numbers, no toll free numbers, no logs for different users, no logs for different numbers, no e911, no dial by name directory, no web faxing, no music on hold etc. etc. It’s just NOT a phone system.

But… if you need more reasons:

2. Most free phone systems are not Based on SIP (Session Internet Protocol) and therefore Lacks Features

Systems that use SIP have many advantages over a POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) in that they can utilize many of the programmable features that only calls sent over SIP can provide. As an example, Asterisk is a programming language based on SIP and is constantly coming out with new features for VoIP providers. Asterisk is an open source software and therefore available for free. Some of the features free services are lacking that a business will need include: Call Queues, Conference Bridges with a Pin Number and email reminders, Call Reports, Administration and User level logins for managing lines/extensions, web faxing, a dial by name directory, music on hold, e911, and much, much more.

3. You Cannot Use Free Services on a Soft Phone

Since most free phone systems are not based on SIP, users of the system cannot use a SIP based client like a soft phone. Soft phones are software programs that run on a computer that enable users to make/receive calls over the internet. An example of a soft phone is Skype. Soft Phones are used by many companies for call centers and in place of a company phone. Soft phones are free to start and then can cost a small one-time cost for a lot of extra features. One company that sells soft phones is Counterpath.

4. Most Free Phone Systems Only Offer One Local Number

With most of these free phone services you are only given one local number. With the advent of VoIP, businesses can finally get local business numbers for any location in the U.S. without having to have a physical location there. So, many businesses are seeing the benefit of maintaining multiple local phone numbers. For example, if your business is located in Austin, Texas but you have vendors in New Orleans, Louisiana, you may want to give them a local number that they can call instead of having to make long distance calls or using your toll-free minutes on your toll-free number. If you have a VoIP hosted PBX system, you can purchase as many local numbers from as many local U.S. destinations as you want. And, you can forward these numbers to any location you want including your cell phone, an extension at your business, or your VoIP phone (wherever that might be located).

5. Free Phone Services Usually Do Not Work with Powerful VoIP Phones

Many of the features that are making businesses more successful when using VoIP are only accessible using a VoIP phone. Polycom, for example, has a entire line of VoIP phones used just for conference rooms. There are also phones used by secretaries that show who is on the phone, as well as basic VoIP phones with buttons like ‘hold’, ‘mute’, ‘headsets’, ‘conference’, ‘forward’, ‘Contact Directory’, ‘Call Lists’, ‘Messages’ and much more. And with a VoIP phone, you can use your phone anywhere in the world you have a dedicated internet connection.

6. HD Voice (wideband audio) is Not Available with Free Phone Services

Wideband audio is an audio technology used in telephony. It extends the frequency range of audio signals transmitted over telephone lines, resulting in higher quality speech. With HD, Voice calls sound clear and crisp, almost like the person is standing right next to you. HD Voice is available with most VoIP hosted PBX providers and with most VoIP phone providers but not with free phone services.

7. Free Phone Services – Voicemail to Text Service is Crummy at Best

Perhaps one of the free phone services coolest features is also currently among its weakest. The transcription service can give you some less-than-literal translations. Voicemails may or may not come through perfectly when transcribed to text. “I hope to see you soon” may come through as “I love your friend June.” Ouch.

8. Privacy Can Be An Issue for Free Phone System Users

Preston Gralla of Computer World says “Lost in all the hooplah about the release of — is this disturbing fact: The service will give (Internet Browser Company) — enormous amounts of information about the intimate details of your everyday life, including recordings of your voice mail and possibly your phone calls. Combined with what (Internet Browser Company) — already knows about you, it could mean your privacy is at an end.” Gralla goes on to say: “— will be offered for free. (Internet Browsing Company) —, though, will certainly be looking for ways to make money from it. One of the most obvious ways is via targeted advertising, particularly because the company recently announced that it’s going to figure out new ways to target ads based on your interests. It already does this with — So don’t be surprised to see ad targeted based on who calls you.”

9. Free Phone Services Do Not Offer Phone Support

Okay, this has to be the biggest problem with relying on a free phone service for your companies phone system needs. Have you, or anyone you know, ever been able to actually talk to their support for anything? I doubt it. Go with a provider you can talk to any time since having a working phone system is most likely a crucial factor in your businesses success.

10 Free Phone Services Do Not Look Professional

Bottom line is, when you are trying to get a new customer to trust you, the fact that you are using free phone services instead of paying for a better phone system shows that you just don’t care. You don’t care that your phone calls are possibly being monitored, don’t care that your phone calls are breaking up and sound terrible, and you don’t care about having reliable business telecommunications.

Conclusion

Free phone systems are not meant to be used to run a business’s telecommunications system. The “fun” little features that they tout are just that, fun. They won’t help you run your business more efficiently and in fact will most likely slow you down. I mean who has time to set up different voicemail greetings for different callers when you are trying to run a business?? And do you really need that?? So stick with what works and grow your business without having to worry that your phone system will drag you down. Choose a VoIP hosted PBX system and you can’t go wrong.

Where to Go to Find Information About Business Telecommunications Deals

With the current economic climate, many businesses are struggling to keep their heads above water. Many others are doing okay, but are looking for ways to cut costs so that they can continue to ensure their viability as an ongoing concern.

One way to cut costs is with your business telecommunications plans. There are new business phone deals coming out all the time and it is important to ensure that you are on the plan that is most suited to your business. If you are thinking that it might be time for a change, here are some ideas to consider when looking at new plans.

  • Go and visit some shops- The most common way to find out about any new deals that may be out there is to go and visit a telecommunications shop and get an idea of the plans that they have available. The only problem with this is that there are countless phone providers out there and it can be very time consuming to go to all of them.
  • Research the information you are looking for on the internet- If you want to avoid the struggle of visiting countless shops, you could get online and do some research from all the company websites. This is still time consuming though as you have to analyse all of their plan offerings to see which one most suits you.
  • Speak to a business telecommunications consultant- This is by far the best option. Do yourself a favour and seek out the advice of a business telecommunications professional. It is their job to keep track of what plans are available on the market and then be able to advise you on which one of these plans is going to best suit your business.  

You do have a couple of options if you are looking at cutting your telecommunications costs to keep business spending in check. By far the most efficient and least time consuming option for you to take would be to see a business telecommunications consultant. Do yourself a favour and make an appointment today.

Outsource Your Business Telecommunications Needs – The Best Deals Without the Stress

A business phone, a mobile phone and an internet connection are integral for any company to succeed, however there are that many companies and plans out there that it may be extremely hard for a businessman or women to make sense of the plans and choose the best telecommunications deal. The purpose of this article is to show you the benefits of outsourcing your telecommunications requirements to a consultant so that you can get the best deal. Here are the reasons why you should outsource your phone and internet needs to a specialist consultant:

Business Telecommunications Plans Change Every day- Telecommunications is an extremely competitive industry with new competitors and plans appearing seemingly every day. A good consultant will keep abreast of all of these new plans and will be able to proactively work to moving your accounts to one of these new plans if they are best for your business.

A Business Telecommunications Consultant can both save you money and boost profits- A good consultant will get you the best deal available but also understands that the right telecommunications solution will not only save you money but can help grow your business. This is because a great consultant can give you advice on new telecommunications technologies that may help grow your business.

– Concentrate on your core business and make more money- Unless you are in the telecommunications industry, it is not what you do to make money- your core business. If you make the leap and outsource your phone requirements to an expert, then you will be able to spend more time concentrating on your core money making activities. Then your company will become more profitable on two levels. You will save money on your phone bill, and make more profits by doing what you do to make money.

Every business owner wants the best telecommunications deal. The easiest and best way for you, as a business owner, to do this is to hire a consultant to manage your needs.