What should I do about telephones for my business?

There are lots of options for implementing a telecom strategy for your business with today’s technology.  There was a time when picking your phone number and deciding your initial telecom strategy was daunting because if you every moved your office to another town or went from one system to another all of the history with your phone number would be lost. Well, that is a thing of the past now with number portability.  Now you can start small and scale as appropriate since you can port your phone numbers from place to place and system to system.  The type of system you choose is dependent upon your business needs, but here are some of the options.

 

Google Voice

One simple way to get started is by getting a Google Voice number and simply having it forward to your home or mobile phone.  This allows you to obscure your personal number from your business and publish one that you can forward wherever you want in the future. The downside is that when you call a this type of number, it does indicate that it is a google voice number and can make you look small.

 

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Services

There are services available that are fairly inexpensive where you can subscribe for only as many numbers as you need now and add more as you grow.  These usually come with options for voicemail, a virtual attendant (phone tree), and forwarding capability to your home or mobile phone.  Examples of these services are Vonage and Grasshopper.

 

Small-Mid Sized Business VoIP Solutions

Once your business grows to a point where you need more functionality and more users, there are larger services that allow you to have local handsets on your desks, more calling features, and advanced call handling functionality such as call queues.  These services work best if you have a dedicated high speed internet access line dedicated to telecom traffic only such as a fiber optic line.  Depending upon the number of users you have, some may put a “server” on your site to handle call traffic and quality of service (QoS).  The need for this will depend upon the call quality you require, the number of concurrent calls you expect to have, and the speed and quality of the internet access line you have dedicated to the system. If your business depends upon clear consistent calling with your customers, be sure to use a professional to evaluate this setup or you could suffer from dropped calls and lousy call quality which is not good for customers and not good for your bottom line if they get frustrated when calling you.

 

There is still also the option to install a “old school” digital PBX in your office but with all of the other types of VoIP services available, doing that normally requires that you are a more enterprise business with dedicated staff.  In the mean time, you can scale as necessary.

 

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Michael Giuffrida from Southington CT has been operating businesses since 1997.  He is an experienced entrepreneur in business management, profitable growth, business valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and information technology managed services.

 

3 thoughts on “What should I do about telephones for my business?

  • Great topic and one that is still very daunting to tackle. You can also look in your area for brokers that provide help with determining what type of service and features you may need. As with any type of technology investment and one that can be so crucial as phones is to get talk with several different providers. Your very own internet service provider may even be able to provide you phone services.

  • I am amazed by all the phone services and features available which can sometimes mute the company message. I once worked for a amll company who’s owner insisted that every incoming call was answered in person. No call would automatically go to voicemail or transfer the caller to the company directory. Although not feasable for all situations, it was very powerful and spoke volumes about customer service.

  • Thanks for the great information. I’m sure many businesses have questions on how to handle their telephone systems.

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