There is a need for frequent communication with different stakeholders across and beyond the organization in the organization. Office phone systems are essential to handle this complex nature of telephony in the business environment.
With the advancement in technology, office phone systems have also evolved.
Did you know till 2020, there were 204.8 billion subscribers of VoIP – a state-of-the-art office phone system (Future Market Insights, 2021), and it continues to increase?
Let’s see why you need to upgrade as well. But before that…
What is an Office Phone System?
An office phone system is a network of software and hardware-based phones that enable an organization’s people to manage their inbound and outbound calls efficiently.
It is very different from the home phone systems. Both small and large organizations can utilize office phone systems. Different systems can cater to different organizations depending upon their size.
Here’s what makes them different from home phone systems:
Main Features of an Office Phone System
Following are some of the chief features of an office phone system:
- Office phone systems allow employees to switch among multiple lines phone systems and manage a high volume of calls effectively. The larger an organization, the greater the requirement of the number of lines.
- It can send an automated response/greeting to the caller and route him/her to the relevant agents.
- Meetings can be held by phone, allowing multiple participants to connect on the same call. This is useful for employees working remotely.
- Recorded messages or music can be played to inform the caller that the call is on hold. E-commerce players like Kohl’s and Amazon use the same feature.
- Enables all forwarding to another number whenever required
The above mentioned are some popular features of office phone systems. See detailed features here. Let’s look at the types of office phone systems.
Types of Office Phone System
1 ) Key System Units (KSU) Phone System
The most traditional phone system of all, KSU systems are most suitable for small organizations. Organizations with a maximum of 40 employees can opt for this type of system.
The KSU system has similar features as a home telephone. However, it is not portable and flexible because it uses a central switching device to manually determine the phone line selection.
A KSU system is not the right choice for a small organization that is growing in size gradually.
2 ) Private Branch Exchange (PBX) Phone System
PBX systems are appropriate for growing and expanding businesses. PBX systems have 2 components: a telephone set and PBX; therefore, it is also a virtual phone system.
It allows auto-rerouting of incoming calls by using programmable switching devices. Other inherent features like transferring calls, hold calls, customized greetings, and more are also present.
It has more features than a KSU, and it can work without electricity for some time.
3 ) Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Phone System
Like the name suggests, this system utilizes the internet for communication. It happens to be the most advanced office phone system which supports cross-country calling and allows unified communication.
This system boasts some great features, including voice to email, managing calls, monitoring calls, forwarding calls, sending customized voicemail, and more.
However, being the most advanced system also comes at the highest price, making this system the most expensive of all. Now, let’s know the reasons why you need an office phone system for your business.
Key Benefits of an Office Phone System
1 ) Multiple Phone Line Sharing
Imagine a scenario where an office phone system is not present. Here, if an employee wants to access a given phone line, the line will have to end on that person’s device. This is very inconvenient. We’ll tell you why.
In such a case, if an organization wants to have separate numbers for every employee, they will need a phone and a jack installed for every employee, which is not very cost-effective.
But all of it can be avoided if the organization uses an office phone system. Here, employees can share the phone lines. The system assigns a different extension for every employee and provides access to each phone line and the phone set.
2 ) A Unified Communications Interface
Another advantage of an office phone system is the unified communication interface. Be it messaging, voice, video conference, or data sharing, and such a system offers you a unified interface for all this type of communication.
Employees are not always accessible through phones. When they are unreachable, instead of calling, an instant message can be dropped to make any urgent communication.
Generally, subscribing to an external telecom provider to avail voice messaging service can be very expensive for small organizations. In such cases, the company can save these costs by installing a suitable office phone system as it allows them to send voice messages at no additional cost.
3 ) Allows Mobility
Often employees have to travel at work due to numerous reasons. If a client calls that particular employee who’s not at his desk, the communication doesn’t happen. This might very well mean delivering poor service or, in some extreme cases – losing the client.
Losing out on valuable revenue due to such silly reasons is unacceptable. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Phone System allows employees to make and receive business calls from anywhere without even having the business phone along with them.
It provides employees with smartphone apps or mobility features with full functionalities of their office phones, anywhere. The employees can go on meetings or collect receivables from debtors yet communicate with their business contacts.
4 ) Integration with CRM
Office phone systems also possess capabilities of integration with the organization’s CRM software.
This function shows basic personal information about the customers when they call, giving the employee a fair idea of who the customer is and addressing their concerns better.
Familiarity with the customer helps enhance the customer experience.
Recall how the customer care support executive tells your basic personal details right after connecting to them to confirm your identity? This is how the office phone system integrates with the company’s CRM to offer information when required.
The calls made or received are automatically recorded in the company’s CRM. With their call recording benefit, the office phone systems automate the recording of inbound and outbound calls. These recorded calls help in training or legal purposes.
5 ) Attendant Feature
Almost every organization with a large customer call volume uses an auto attendant. All the phone calls are received on one number and rerouted to the relevant executive’s phone.
Quick refresher: Remember to hear “Press 1 to know order status, press to cancel your order, press 3 for refunds, press 4 to know about offers and press 9 to talk to a customer care executive” when you dial the customer support of an e-commerce company?
That right, the auto attendant feature redirects your call to the relevant department when you press a particular number key. However, most e-commerce companies do use a virtual phone number at their respective support centers.
6 ) Call Supervision
These functions are extensively useful when training employees or supervising them. There are four chief ways in which the system helps you. It allows:
- Monitoring: It allows you to listen to a phone conversation. None of the parties on the call can hear you. This feature is useful to keep vigilance over the call quality.
- Whispering: Executives may require some guidance while handling certain customers. This feature helps you speak to the organization’s internal members without letting the customer know who is speaking or what the person is speaking.
- Barging: This feature allows you to enter an ongoing call which lets both parties hear you. This is similar to conference calling, but it can be initiated at any point in time. Suppose a conversation is going on between an employee and a client; you can be monitoring and jump in to throw in suggestions when you want to.
- Recording: Recording is also possible through a simple press of a button. This recording can be stored as an audio file and retrieved later for any training or legal purposes.
1 ) Maintaining Confidentiality
Office phone systems allow all your phone data to be managed by the cloud. Data can be stored in-house, too, but it needs advanced IT security specialists to maintain the security of the data. If the security is not strong enough, then all the data on your physical system can either be stolen or destroyed.
This is where cloud-based storage systems come in. It lets you have your data managed by someone else who is specialized in it. It is also economical in comparison to having your own IT team to look after your data.
2 ) On-Hold Music
Another benefit of an office phone system is music. While customers are kept on hold during calls, recorded audio or music can be played, informing customers of the promotional offers on certain products or simply thanking them for their patience.
3 ) Scalability
VoIP systems let you add new lines whenever new employees join and eliminate lines when you are downsizing. This means you pay for only what you use. In the case of traditional phone systems, such convenience is absent.
Such are the benefits of an office phone system. KSU systems, suitable for small businesses, are basic systems with entry-level features. But as you look further up for systems appropriate for larger organizations like PBX and VoIP, the number of features increases, and so does the cost.
But, these sophisticated phone systems bring much value, make their costs worthwhile and viable. Get started with the best office phone system here.