Every kind of business in every kind of industry needs a business phone system. Although email is one of the most popular forms of communication, phone systems haven’t disappeared. Talking on the phone gives people the opportunity to talk in real time to one another, so answering any questions or concerns is immediate. I know what you’re thinking: texting and IM’ing allow people to talk in real time. Now although this may not seem like a “phone system,” these practices actually still fall under the telecom umbrella. In other words, the types of phone systems are evolving, and in some cases they don’t even seem like a phone system at all.
For this reason, buying a phone system can be extremely confusing for new business owners. Phone systems now come with a wide variety of features, so it’s tough to know which type of system is right for your business. If you’re having this dilemma, have no fear. Below are the four most popular types of phone systems:
Top 4 Types of Phone Systems to Help Keep Your Company Connected
1. Key Systems (KSU) – Great for businesses with 10-40 employees.
This is probably the most traditional type of phone system you can purchase. It offers the most basic telephone needs for a company, yet it can be upgraded as your company expands. It offers multiple lines and is supported by a key system unit (KSU). Essentially, it looks like your traditional phone.
2. Keyless Systems (KSU-less) – Great for businesses with less than 10 employees.
These are the least expensive phone systems, but they cannot grow with your business. The systems only support 2-4 phone lines and offer only the most basic features. For example, these phone systems often allow one person to pick up the phone while another person is on a call. The phones do not require a KSU or central control unit because the technology is built right into the phone. This makes the phones very easy to transport should your office move locations.
3. Private Branch Exchange Systems (PBX) – Great for companies with 50+ employees.
This is probably the most common type of business phone system available. Although it requires installation from a telecom vendor and is one of the most expensive systems, it has the most advanced features that are often needed for larger businesses (or businesses that plan to grow!). The system works well with other tools that are already in place, making it extremely flexible.
4. Voice Over Internet Protocol Systems (VoIP) – Works well for any size company.
This is where the Internet comes into play as a type of phone system. This system sends calls through the Internet as opposed to through traditional phone lines, so anyone using the system can be anywhere in the world while using the same phone number. As you know, the Internet is extremely portable. The systems are extremely inexpensive and are quickly becoming popular amongst companies and consumers.
Many new business owners jump straight to the phone system that works well for their size company, but the truth is you have to consider the features and be able to evaluate the future of your business. It may be worth it to splurge a little bit on your phone system so that you can save money in the long run. The last thing you want to do is buy three different phone systems as your company changes.
Once you decide which type of phone system works best for you, it’s time to evaluate prices and brands. You can visit StartupNation’s phone system comparison tool or the Business.com business phone systems webpage for more information about each type of phone system as well as to compare a list of vendors to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.