Small Business Phone System Buying Trends

By Ryan Ayers
Updated: July 06, 2011

Small business phone systems are more affordable, and more feature-intensive than ever before, and businesses of any size can now have access to phone systems that are both functional and professional without breaking their budgets. With VoIP technology firmly gaining a foothold in recent years, and mobile technologies expanding almost daily, new telephone solutions for businesses abound. Below is a glimpse at what is most popular on both the system and features end of things.

Business Telephone Systems

Hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone systems, also referred to as “Hosted PBX” systems, give small businesses flexibility and function at the same time without the need to purchase or lease expensive hardware for their telephone systems. These services are generally contracted as a monthly or annual subscription service with additional charges built in for additional handsets, users per month, features, or customizations. They typically come with a variety of pre-installed options and features, and provide an extremely in depth and functional telephone interface.

The adoption of VoIP telephony has increased drastically over the last several years as the technology has kept pace with the demand for inexpensive and high-quality voice, data and video transmission.

The Right Stuff

Beyond the capabilities a hosted PBX system delivers on the hardware side of things are the features that give all businesses the ability to interact with their customers and employees more effectively. Larger businesses with a dedicated premise-based exchange phone system have traditionally had access to a few of these features, while many others are new additions that simply were not possible with older technologies but are now indispensable for doing business.

  • Auto Attendant: Regardless of the volume of phone traffic your business receives, this will help cut down on time routing calls to the appropriate employee or department.
  • Call Forwarding: An invaluable tool in today’s always-connected environment, call forwarding simply lets you take calls to your extension from another line or number.
  • Visual Voicemail/Integrated Messaging: Another useful tool for employees who are often occupied with other phone calls or in meetings, this function will allow you to see or read your incoming voicemails without having to dial in to retrieve them.
  • Follow Me-Find Me: By sequentially dialing a series of telephone numbers that you have programmed in, this feature will track you from one phone to the next to be sure that you receive all your important calls – regardless of whether you are down the hall or out of the building.
  • Night /Holiday Service: A simple, but invaluable tool to let your customers know that your business is closed for the evening, day, or week. Particularly useful in conjunction with an automated attendant, your customers can be funneled to the appropriate employee or department even after hours.

Professionally designed small business telephone systems are no longer prohibitively expensive. With many monthly services set at exceptionally affordable per-user per-month rates, and the features and functions to make a small business perform more efficiently, it’s not difficult to see why so many small and medium sized businesses have made the switch to a hosted phone system.


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