Business Phone Guide

Even allowing for the rise of the Internet and electronic methods of communication, the telephone is still, by far, the fastest and easiest method by which a business can contact its customers, and vice versa. A business phone system should be large and flexible enough to cope with the anticipated volume of incoming – and, indeed, outgoing – calls, and to direct incoming calls appropriately, without baffling or disconnecting your customers. A business telephone system is effectively the lifeline of a business, and, as such, is the choice of an appropriate system is one of the most important purchasing decisions that a business can make.

Business Phone Systems

The business phone system known as a PBX, or Private Branch eXchange, is a popular solution for businesses with 40 extensions, or more, and/or advanced telecommunications requirements. A PBX business phone system allows the flow of incoming and outgoing calls to be managed effectively, typically with a direct line for each extension, the possibility of internal calls between extensions and straightforward call transfer. Other features may include a voice mailbox for each extension, an automatic switchboard, or auto attendant – which allows a caller to be connected to a department, or function, of his, or her, choice – and hold music. The flexibility of a PBX system does come at a premium, when compared to some other business phone systems, but technological advances mean that powerful, compact PBX systems are not as expensive as they once were.

At the other end of the spectrum – that is, for businesses with 10 employees, or fewer – key systems, or KSU-less systems, provide a cost-effective business phone solution. A KSU, or Key Service Unit, is a control switch providing call routing and transfer features, etc., but some systems do away with a large centralised unit, incorporating technology into individual phones instead. This means that a fully featured, multiple extension, system can configured using existing RJ-14, or R-11 jacks, and existing telephone wiring.

This latter type of system lends itself well to the integration of corded and cordless phones in the workplace. Cordless phones are not physically connected to a base unit, and so allow mobile workers – warehouse operatives, and the like – to roam freely, provided that they are within range (typically 150′, or so) of a base station. Cordless phone handsets are typically lightweight, offer a battery life of between 4 and 8 hours on a single charge, and include features such as speed dialling. The quality of the sound provided by a cordless phone system may not always be quite as good as that provided by a corded system, but the latest 5.8GHz and DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) cordless phones operate in dedicated frequency bands, free from interference from WiFi wireless networking devices, and other electronic devices.

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