When it comes to choosing a business phone service, there are more choices available today than ever before. Businesses are also migrating from legacy systems to modern phone services en masse to to keep up with the changing times.
Considering the many technologies involved, making the right choice is not an arrow-straight road but a complex maze. But, how can you pick a business phone service that best fits your business requirements? Here is some straightforward business phone wisdom that will help you make the right call.
Apple makes iPhones
Windows doesn't windows
Tesla is not Nikolas Tesla
The why, how & what
To ask the right question is half the problem solved. What if you can ask three great questions — like, Why? How? What? These questions will lead you to a fine choice of a business phone service.
Every business, irrespective of the industry it operates in, will have to handle either or all three types of phone calls. A business phone service is a full-equipped offering that can help you handle all types of phone calls and also perform additional functions to augment productivity.
Each type of call requires a different set of features.Traditional phone systems neither have these capabilities nor the flexibility to cater to these use cases. Finding what kind of calls your business has to handle on a day-to-day basis makes it easy to select the right business phone service. Also, phone calls by nature are difficult to handle. Especially when you want to make an impression or reason with someone who is not on a face-to-face conversation. In such scenarios, a good business phone service can make a world of a difference.
It should not bug you with call quality issues, limited functionalities or even budget constraints. To put it other way, a well-chosen business phone service can make things easy for users at both ends of the line. That said, here are some surefire reasons why your business needs a dedicated business phone service.
More hands on the deck makes it easy to share the workload and get things done in a flash. A scalable phone service can extend your business reach with shared lines. Also, having a dedicated phone connection for each business functions lightens the load.
Set higher goals, chase them and win them all. In the process, your business must not lose track of how the phone system and call center metrics are faring. A real-time dashboard spewing live data is needed to fill the information void.
Every call and every customer is unique in their own way. Sometimes, you might want to record the conversations for future reference, training or quality control. An ordinary phone might be incapable, but a business phone service sure is capable of call recording.
This is the era of remote working and BYOD org culture. Businesses feel the acute need of portability to maximize productivity and collaboration. A business phone service can help delink the need for physical connections and make your business phone most portable.
The first step for any business growing globally is to have phone numbers in their respective regional offices. But, securing separate and maintaining separate phone connections is cumbersome. Virtual phone numbers that are linked to a single business phone is the perfect remedy.
As call volumes increase beyond your wildest imagination, your business will face the need for an automated way of dealing with calls. An auto-attendant with custom welcome message, skill-based call filtering, call forwarding, automatic call recording and so on can be a welcome relief.
For most challenges faced by businesses, technology has a sustainable solution. The right technology can save businesses from recurring capital expenditure to acquire new hardware, upgrade software and to keep their operations running at par with changing business scenarios. A one-time investment in the right technology can bring value to the business in the long-term.
For example, cloud computing has brought down the cost of commodity hardware drastically. Also, it is enabling businesses to reap the benefits of heightened productivity, seamless collaboration and rapid scalability.
If you are a business that is working with a toehold on the future, a cloud-based phone system can be an ideal choice. From bringing remote call centers together under one virtual roof to cutting down telephony costs with virtual phone numbers, there is a long list of possibilities that cloud can make reality. In other words, cloud telephony poses as a transformational technology upon which a business phone service can be grounded.
The phone systems of 21st century live in the cloud. Most often, they may not have a physical existence like a phone handset or cable wires jutting out of large circuit boxes. Instead, they take software avatars with virtual phone numbers, comprehensive dashboards, mobile apps, admin consoles and so on.
So, when you are looking for a business phone service, the best choice would be on that is hosted on the cloud and equipped with features like shared lines, IVR, call flows, call forwarding, automatic call recording and the likes.
Cloud + business phone
Cloud as an infinitely scalable technology is a perfect fit for hosting a business phone service. It comes in various flavors that can fit business requirements like hand in glove.
The various forms of cloud computing that can serve businesses include:
Software as a Service (SaaS) which offers great flexibility and versatility in providing ready-to-use applications for end user consumption.
SaaS software are usually centrally hosted by the vendors and is licensed on a subscription basis. They are accessed through a thin client like a web browser or mobile app.
Eg: Google Drive, Basecamp, Freshcaller.
Platform as a-Service (PaaS) which allows developers to build, run and also manage applications without demanding IT infrastructure investments.
The hardware and software tools required to build and manage applications is provided by a third-party vendor over the internet. Hence, PaaS spares users from the hassle of having to invest and setup in-house software and hardware.
Example: AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Engine Yard.
Integration platform as a Service (iPaaS) allows disparate software applications to be integrated with one another for better data collaboration.
It enables a business to bring together software tools from different environments under one roof to make on-prem hardware, software and cloud applications work in harmony.
Eg: Informatica, Tibco, Vitria.
Unified Communications as a Service (UcaaS) which brings together the entire enterprise communication suite of online presence, messaging, telephony, online meetings, video conferencing.
UCaaS enables businesses to reap the benefits of a converged communication model without incurring hefty capital and opex.
SaaS is one of the core elements of the cloud wave that is tiding across all business verticals and functions. Under the hood, it is a software delivery method that allows users to access applications and data from any device irrespective of the operating system they are built on. All it requires is an internet connection and a web browser to use a SaaS system.
As a web-based model it liberates businesses from the clutches of upfront investment in expensive IT infrastructure. Also, SaaS adopts a pay-as-you-use pricing model where businesses have to pay only for the users/resources they have consumed. There is no coercion to pay lock-in fees or subscription for what you may not use. This make SaaS an economical choice compared to the perpetual licensing model followed by traditional software vendors.
SaaSification of your business processes, especially your business phone service can help grow and scale your business on the cloud without making you become bankrupt.
In fact, a study by BetterCloud reports that, “73% of organizations say nearly 80%+ of their apps will be SaaS by 2020.” Legacy systems are getting phased out as they prove to be extremely expensive and difficult to maintain compared to cloud systems.
Here are some definite benefits that your business can accrue by opting for a SaaS-based small business phone service:
If you know how to use a web or a mobile application, you can easily handle a SaaS application. They are intuitive and have well-designed interfaces that require minimal actions to get things done. Hence, they require minimal training to get started and to keep running. Ultimately, they aid in keeping training costs to a bare minimum.
The beauty of the web is that it depicts a digital mesh of website and applications that are intertwined with each other. Each one communicates, shares data and collaborates with one another through rich APIs to make lives easier for users. Needless to say, SaaS also follows the same system of integration where apps are built on the same infrastructure (sometimes by the same vendor) which makes scalability easier.
SaaS vendors have their data stored on their own data centers or with third-party data center vendors. You can have access to data at any time without any interruption. In a worst case scenario, even if the SaaS vendor goes out of business, the data can be exported or migrated to a new data center. In other words, you will always have your data within quick reach ensuring operational consistency.
SaaS vendors usually are capable of establishing strongest security measures than on premises systems. The plain reason being they are spared from spending sums of money on hardware which can instead be spent on high-end security measures. This enables SaaS vendors to comply with several globally recognized data security compliances like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation ), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance), etc.
SaaS systems work with Internet and web browsers as the cornerstone infrastructure. Hence, they are not restricted in terms of compatibility with operating systems or hardware devices used. They run on any mobile device or computing device that meets the minimal system requirements of memory and storage capacity.
In traditional systems, system updates and upgrades are to be carried out physically involving a whole lot of moving hardware, relaying of cables and re-programming of workflow, etc.. But, in the SaaS space everything happens over-the-air. Applications are updated or upgraded through patch releases that are transmitted over the internet.
Now, if SaaS is a great choice for business software, could it be an ideal choice for your business phone service as well?
Types of business phone services
IDC estimates that more than two-thirds of Canadian organizations had replaced some of their desk phones with wireless connections by 2016, with about one-third going completely wireless.
SaaS + business phone service = your business flying on a whole new plane. Here are some worthy options that can make it happen for your business.
Also known as hosted phone systems, virtual phone systems are cloud-based phone systems that can be used to transact voice calls from a laptop, mobile or even a tablet device. They also work fine on specific models of telephone handsets that can be connected to the Internet, like IP phone devices. Since a virtual phone system is hosted on they spare your business from the need to invest in telephone hardware.
As one among the many options of cloud-based business phone services, virtual phone systems enable your business to many multiple phone numbers, share lines with users, forward calls to other extensions, record calls automatically, push calls to voicemail and do much more.
Virtual phone systems look up to the Internet for connectivity instead of telephone lines. They use virtual PBX systems to orchestrate call connections, forwarding, recording and the entire nine yards of call center management.
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is a cloud-based telephony system that allows users to make voice calls with the Internet as the transmission medium. VoIP users can also conduct telecommunication using their mobile, laptop or even a tablet that can connect to the internet. It eliminates the rigidity that made POTS (Plain old telephone system) a poor choice for business communication.
In addition to voice calls, a VoIp phone system for business use also allows users to exchange multimedia information. Owing to its versatile nature and the definite cost-savings, VoIP is witnessing a high rate of adoption as the default mode of telecommunication.
VoIP systems convert analog phone signals into data packets. These data packets are intelligently transmitted across the Internet using ‘packet switching’. Packet switching is the term used to describe the routing of data packets from the origin until the destination.
Virtual PBX is a business telephone PBX on the cloud that orchestrates inbound or outbound calls. In addition to acting as a virtual telephone exchange, it also offers intelligent telephony features like IVR, ACD, call forwarding, call recording, call routing, etc. They can also be configured with business-specific call flows, IVR menus, call routing among many other customizations.
Modern-day Virtual PBX do not require businesses to invest in phone hardware. They can be easily setup like an email address or a social media account. The best virtual PBX system can help you start telephony operations in less than two minutes.
A Virtual PBX uses a cloud telephony software that allows users to handle inbound or outbound calls through a PC, laptop, mobile or even a tablet device. It takes the form of a web-based application that can be accessed universally like accessing an email id or online service.
A well-chosen business phone service will achieve the dual benefits of making your business work efficiently and keeping your customers happy. But, making a final choice from many small business phone service providers is not any easy task. There are challenges that complicate the decision-making.
Too many options can paralyze anyone from making a timely decision. Especially, while selecting a business phone service, there are too many technical specifications to bear in mind. For a business owner who is short on time, it complicates the selection process.
Legacy phone systems had complicated hardware, cables and separate phone devices for each user. If you are already stuck with a phone system like that, breaking free from it can be hectic. Especially without running into the risk of downtimes.
Certain business phone systems proudly claim that they take just weeks to set up . Considering the pace at which the digital economy is marching forward, a weeks-long installation process can cripple your business.
The tiny asterisk at the end of the pricing is a tricky one to decipher. Also, only a minority of business owners read through the entire fine-print of the pricing page before committing themselves to an agreement. The end result? Hidden costs that defeat your idea of an affordable phone system.
Most legacy phone systems like POTS operate with high hardware dependency. These hardware are difficult to maintain. Most often they also need an expert from the vendor company to carry out the maintenance process; furthermore, if you want to upgrade the system, like integrate an advanced hardware, add new users or customize the existing connections, the process again is lengthy and requires expert intervention.
Now that you know that toughest challenges in choosing a business phone system it is time to know the how-to make the right decision. Our buyer’s guide will make it easy for you.
Here is a gist of ‘what-to-look-for’ to spot the right business phone service:
The service should work round the clock and should have negligible downtime. It should also support HD voice calls without any hiccups during live calls.
As a business-friendly phone service, it should not demand any upfront fees for hardware. Preferably, it should follow a SaaS pricing model which is economical and consistent.
The phone service must aid in maximizing business productivity with advanced telephony features IVR, call forwarding, recording, non-business hour call routing, barging and the likes.
To give utmost protection to user data and also to comply with statutory regulations, the business phone service must comply with compliances like GDPR, PCI, HIPAA, etc.
The phone service should be feasible for the long-term. It should help your business forecast costs with consistency and carry out operations without interruptions.
An honest business phone service should not give any nasty surprises with hidden costs for renewal costs, extra charges for number port-in, adding new numbers/users, etc.
Freshcaller is a business phone service that will give you the much-needed cloud advantage. It is high on features and is priced affordably.
As a state-of-the-art business phone service, it allows businesses to set up a phone system complete with call conferencing, call forwarding, call recording, auto-attendant and many other features.
If you are already stuck with an existing on-prem phone service you can connect your desk/IP phones to Freshcaller or even start setting up one from scratch.
From Albania to Zimbabwe, Freshcaller lets you find and purchase virtual phone numbers in more than 90+ countries. You can truly become a global business not just in operational presence, but also in telephone access.
Freshcaller call charges and user fees per month are more wallet-friendly compared to any other business phone service providers out there. You can get started with for as low as $19 per agent per month. There is also a $0 plan you can opt for.
Buy and add as many local numbers with local area codes, international numbers, mobile or toll-free numbers for your business. No cap on the number of users either.
No kidding. No hidden terms and conditions. No phone hardware required. No credit card either. You can set up your Freshcaller account and kickstart your business phone service in minutes with an internet-connected laptop.
Freshcaller is a product of Freshworks - an umbrella brand of world-class suite of business software that is delivering ‘wow’ moments to every customer. Rest assured, you will never feel lost as our customer.
As a GDPR compliant business phone service, Freshcaller ensures that all your data is secured with state-of-the-art data security measures that eliminate any possibility of data breaches or compromises.
Set up local or international business phone numbers for mobile or landline numbers. Purchase business phone numbers from 90+ countries.
Quickly guide callers to the right information or solution quickly with a multi-level IVR system made up of multiple menus & sub-menus.
Keep an eye on the call quality by discreetly listening to live calls that transact between callers and agents with call monitoring.
Comply with statutory requirements and improve call quality by putting all your calls on record with an automatic call recorder.
Have a real-time pulse of your call center performance with performance reporting that sheds light on critical call metrics.
Enable customers to leave a voicemail when your agents are not available to pick the call or if the calls come in after business hours.
Set up your Freshcaller account. Buy phone number(s) and phone credits. You will not be able to start making or taking calls without phone credits. To start making outbound calls, use the phone widget that appears on the right hand side of the screen.
Setting up Freshcaller is straightforward and intuitive like setting up your email account. Right from call flows to teams, you can set up everything in less than a day. Freshcaller is cloud-based phone system. It does not require any phone hardware. If you have a working internet connection and a PC or a laptop, you are all set to start using Freshcaller.
You can buy as many as domestic and international phone numbers for mobile, landline and toll-free numbers. There is no cap on the number of phone numbers. The cost for phone numbers ranges from $1er month and will vary depending on the region. Call charges will also be charged separately for inbound and outbound calling. Refer to our country-wise and number-wise call rates.
As many as users you want to. Freshcaller is a dynamically scalable business phone service. There is no ceiling limit on the number of user/agents. Please note that the license fees is charged based per user and based on the plan you have selected. Refer to our complete agent license pricing.
Freshcaller pricing works in three ways. First, you will have to buy agent licenses. Depending on the plan you choose, the agent license fees will vary. Second, you have to buy phone numbers. You may also port-in phone numbers from your existing system. Third, you have to buy phone credits to be able to make calls. Inbound and outbound call charges will be debited to your phone credits.
Not necessarily. You can always port-in the existing phone numbers to your Freshcaller account. Additional charges may be incurred depending on the port-in process. Once the port-in process is completed, the numbers will continue to working like they used to in your previous phone system. Know more about our number porting service.
Except for customers having Europe as their domicile, Freshcaller does not require any documentation to get started.
Yes. Freshcaller is a GDPR compliant business phone service. Specific features like call recording require you as a business to seek consent from the caller before initiating recording. Read our Freshworks GDPR policy.
“We previously handled phone calls by sharing one phone and it wasn’t scalable for a growing team. Now, my team members can answer calls with just a click from their laptops. Each call is linked to a call recording and call notes so that pertinent context is readily available for all support specialists.”
“Freshcaller has made our organization more efficient thanks to features like Call transfer, IVR and call queues. The ability to access the system from anywhere has allowed us to perform better. Tasks that normally get done the next day are now dealt with swiftly, thereby minimising any possible delay. Call recording feature has been excellent for our quality training as we now know clearly in which areas we have to focus”
“It is a simple to configure cloud PBX system. I found it easy to buy numbers from different countries and set up my business call center in minutes. There are call monitoring options for supervisors during call and we make it a point to listen to all the call recordings together to improve our communication. Call center is not technical anymore.”