Choosing telephone systems: a guide

In today’s challenging marketplace, cutting costs and increasing efficiency can be a number one goal of the business owner. But many overlook a crucial device that has the potential to achieve both of those goals while delivering a better customer experience as part of the package: your business telephone system.

A well chosen business phone system allows employees, managers and customers to connect and collaborate with each other in real time, removing any limitations, using whichever modes of communication and devices that they choose, with laptops, home phones, mobiles, smart phones and office phones included in the mix.

Today’s systems, such as the Avaya IP Office and Mitel 5000, offer a high level of compatibility too – allowing users to select IP, digital, analog or SIP technology in any combination. This makes integration with your current equipment possible, enabling you to keep costs down.

IP systems are also an ideal choice for new flexible ways of working that are becoming more and more common to more modern businesses. An example would be the utilisation of homeworkers and support of mobile workers. Systems such as the IP Office include features supplied in order to support specific user roles, from receptionists to customer service staff, from office workers to on-the-road salesmen. Expansion capabilities are built in making it possible to accommode your growing business needs, whether you are a small start-up business or a multi-site national organisation.

Most phone systems have optional or in-built features that add further functionality to support your company’s specific ways of working. For example, Avaya’s optional Radvision Scopia allows desktop and remote voice, video and data conferencing, wherever you are; and the Avaya Flare Experience allows your favourite communications tools – instant messenger, video, e-mail, phone and social networks – to be at your fingertips in a single unified enterprise network. Keeping these features as optional is a smart way of ensuring these systems are affordable to most businesses – so you don’t pay for anything you won’t make good use of.

A smart business phone system also makes management of communications very easy. Multiple sites can be managed and served from a single location, saving staff costs and travel costs. Advanced track, record, and report functionality on all calls allows supervisors to monitor and build optimal customer interactions. Presence functionality keeps all staff close to hand wherever they are, and allows remote management, enabling you to understand the best way to contact any staff member and even to see whether they are using their keyboard right now.