The article is written with intention to help business owners and managers with decisions in choosing appropriate telephone system either when they start new business, growing the business, moving/relocating or simply looking to modernise their communications.
A telephone system (communications system, PBX, PABX, Key system) is a vital part of any business, and a necessity for a successful to run smoothly. Business phone systems can grow with your business and be a real asset, but only if you choose the right one. If you feel like you need a more input on what features you need and which system to choose, be sure to include your business partners and staff.
The task requires moderate knowledge and experience:
Things to consider (main ones…relatively basic systems)
NOTE: some of the considerations might be specifically applicable for Australian market
- CHOOSE TYPE OF THE SYSTEM
There are a few options available:
– Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and Key System Unit (KSU) are system options with more reliable proven technology also including full VoIP options or any combination of features. They offer (for now) higher reliability, easier to use and easier to train people. Good brand KSU systems are quite a feature rich and robust – little difference to PBX. They can provide your business with flexibility, scalability and add as you grow/need capabilities. On Australian market there are a lot of players and one of the most present ones is NEC, known for reliability of the systems and developed dealer/service network. PYER communication can provide the business with tailored solution for any business.
– Some offices can benefit from VoIP technology, which is Internet-based and offers a few lines for a relatively low cost. – however you have to consider the quality of broadband services in your area, and hidden cost like more expensive switches, hidden licencing (PoE, QoS) etc. Also there are inherent issues with fax lines, EFT, alarm, door/gate phones etc. when VoIP is used – this issues are best solved with PBX/key systems incorporating VoIP capabilities. It is good for networking and other features – however there are no cheap and at the same time good and reliable VoIP – significant investment is required for good quality applications as well as ongoing maintenance. (look for the future post about advantages of VoIP and practical explanations)
– hosted systems – there has been a lot of attempts to introduce hosting solutions (no equipment on the premises) from nearly all the carriers and smaller telcos there are very few satisfied customers in this area. Lot of problem with reliability, service, etc. sounds great in principal however in reality there is very low level of service and reliability in general.
2. CHOOSE TYPE AND NUMBER OF LINES (trunks to outside world – analogue digital, SIP/VoIP trunk, ISDN..)
How many people you might have on the incoming and outgoing calls at peak times + spare lines (customers do not like busy tone)
– Do you run multiple businesses and do you need a direct numbers for selected or all employees – in this case consider ISDN indial service is the most reliable option – for details check post “practical advantages of ISDN”
– Make sure that system provides capabilities for e.g. direct lines like ISDN services if you need them, most of good systems do as well It is wise that system has VoIP capabilities even if you do not use them at the moment
3. NUMBER OF EXTENSIONS (internal handsets used by employees)
- allow enough extensions for every employee, reception, etc,
- consider the necessary number of analogue extensions to be used for Fax, EFTPoS, cordless phones, dial up modems if you use etc. That way you can share lines for services with low usage like fax, EFT. ..)
- type of handsets – now days handsfree display phones are not much more expensive than basic ones and will add to productivity and easier usage – some NEC handsets pictured. Handsfree, dysplay, intuitive menu..headset connector…
Pyer communication can provide you with a good range of digital and VoIP handsets based on your needs.
d) Do you need headsets – corded (cheaper) or cordless to roam around the office. (see the future post for detailed explanations)
4. OTHER SERVICES
Do you need – or might need later
i. External paging service (internal is usually build in)
ii. Door/gate phones and openers
iii. Cordless telephone system – if you have a large premises or w/h will allow connection anywhere within the premises while moving arround. Also consider “mobile extension” – to be explained in future post – mobile phone uused to use system features
iv. Conference phone – for conference calls with more people in the room (multiple party connection usually more than3, is different functionality – conference card). New NEC systems have built in multiple parties conference capabilities – if you do it frequently conference card is recommended – much more user friendly and quicker
v. Automated attendant, delayed messages, delayed announcements, and voice mail services
vi. Is there need for call handling in call centre manner and detailed reporting in real time and statistical data collection and analisys?
5. FUTURE EXPANSION CAPABILITIES
Carefully consider your future expansion needs – make sure that system can accommodate for them. It is always good to have minimum 30% spare capacity or more. It also applies to eventual features needed in the future. Lot of business get caught in saving a few dollars to spend much more down the track because their proposed solution cannot provide them with basic expansion capabilities. We at PYER communication always take care to supply the system with reasonable expansion capabilities.
6. HOW TO CHOOSE SUPPLIER
i. If you prefer big companies – you have a “security” without personal touch and care and responsibility of the person you recognise. Lot of policies talk from the manuals …etc. on the positive side there is a some sort of stability and peace of mind and the person you talked to might not be there in few months ..
ii. If you prefer smaller system providers – you will get much more attention and personal contact and responsibility for promises and work done. This is the model Pyer communications operates
iii. Be careful about “free and bundled” offers – please read the details before signing, there have been numerous “free system offers” on the market and significant number of them finished in ACCC and even debated in federal parlament a legal action have been taken down the track.
You want to get more clarity in what is the best option for your business – contact us
In Australia visit www.pyer.com.au (1300 761 030; 03 9397 7988)