Choosing the right business phone system is challenging. There are plenty of options available today, compared to the past where landline phones and complex PBX equipment were the order of the day.
Today’s VoIP systems can be based either on-premise (physical equipment on local company property) or in the cloud. Which are the benefits of each hosting option – and which type of system is best for your business?
Understanding Today’s Business Phone Systems
Handling customer calls is crucial for the success of any business. According to Invoca, 65% of people surveyed say they’ve called a business at least once in the past month. Companies large and small use sophisticated business phone systems to handle their customers’ increasingly complex communications needs.
How VoIP Business Phone Systems Work
Unlike traditional phone systems of the past, many of today’s systems utilize Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. Traditional systems require physical phone lines from the phone service provider, where VoIP systems operate virtually, over the Internet, no copper wire required.
A VoIP system enables businesses to make phone calls over the Internet without employing traditional telephone services, which often reduces costs. Certain VoIP systems even enable employees to communicate from any location, which is necessary for today’s increased volume of remote work.
What Business Phone Systems Do
VoIP business phone systems have capabilities well beyond that of the typical home phone system. Most business systems today include advanced features such as:
- Multiple lines, so more than one customer can call in at once.
- Conference calling, so more than two people can take part in the same call (ideal for business meetings with remote workers).
- Voicemail, so customers can record messages when specific employees are unavailable – and that those employees can retrieve later.
- Automated “assistants” that can answer the phone without human assistance and direct callers to the proper extension.
VoIP phone systems, such as the 3CX system, also enable functionality not possible with traditional phone systems – in particular, sophisticated customer service management. These systems can programmatically determine the needs of customers and, more precisely forward calls to specific areas of the company. This enables customer service employees to work more efficiently; research shows today’s VoIP phone systems can help employees save an average of 32 call minutes per day.
On-Premise vs. Cloud Hosting
VoIP systems can be hosted either on-premise or in the cloud. Both options have benefits, depending on a business’ specific needs.
Understanding Hosting Options
With an on-premises system, all the necessary hardware and software are hosted by the business and typically managed by the company’s IT or networking department. The business bears the burden of upkeep and uptime, which can be difficult, labor-intensive and expensive.
Cloud-hosted phone systems, on the other hand, are based in secure offsite data centers that handle the upkeep and provide assurances for uptime and reliability. The best cloud hosting providers are specialists whose entire job is to keep your cloud services up and running. They employ teams of people to support these systems 24/7; this level of support may not be practical for small- or medium-sized businesses hosting an on-premises system.
Cost of Ownership
This cost of ownership and the burden of uptime are the main differentiators between on-premises and cloud-hosted phone systems. The cost of on-premises battery backups, generators, redundant Internet connections, and 24/7 manned monitoring is prohibitive for most businesses. However, all this support is part of the package offered by cloud-based providers. This makes the upfront cost of on-premises systems considerably more expensive than cloud systems.
Cloud-hosting providers spread that cost out across myriad accounts, which helps keep the cost-per-user low. With a cloud-based system, the business instead pays a low monthly fee. This can add up over time, but rarely exceeds the lifetime cost of a complete on-premises system.
Uptime and Reliability
In addition, cloud-hosted systems are more reliable than on-premises systems and have near-perfect uptime. If a power outage, fire, or other disaster hits a company’s offices, it can knock an on-premises system offline for an indefinite period. If that same disaster hits and the company has a cloud-hosted phone system, phone service continues without interruption. (Assuming, of course, appropriate accommodations have been made, such as browser-based or mobile apps, both of which are available at no additional charge for 3CX systems.)
How 3CX Can Improve Your Company’s Customer Service
3CX is a flexible, powerful, and reliable cloud-hosted business phone system offered by CDS Office Technologies. It can support anywhere from a single phone to hundreds of lines and neatly integrates with other technology platforms and CRM solutions.
The 3CX system offers several features that can help elevate a company’s customer service functionality, including:
- Website Live Chat & Talk. This is a customer chat system that integrates into a company’s website for live online customer support. A customer in a chat can easily elevate that chat to a phone call with the representative with whom they’ve been chatting.
- Call Back. Enables customers to choose to receive a call back if they don’t want to wait on hold.
- Listen In. Enables managers to listen to a call without interrupting the conversation (as long as all users consent to monitoring).
- Whisper. Helps managers train new agents during live calls.
- Barge In. Enables managers to take over during problematic calls.
These features help provide a better customer experience and more efficient customer service for any company.
Let CDS Help You Choose the Right Business Phone System
If your business is looking to upgrade its existing phone system, you need to check out the cloud-hosted systems from 3CX. The experts at CDS Office Technologies can help you find the right system with the right features for your unique business needs. Contact CDS Office Technologies today to learn more about the 3CX cloud-hosted business phone system.