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What is a Multi Line Phone System? An A to Z Guide

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Naim Vakil
Senior Writer:
green tickDate: June 4, 2024

The best way to reach out to potential and existing customers is through a business telephony system. There are several kinds of telephony systems, and they have prevailed for a long time. Businesses have been utilizing these systems from way back for several business processes such as sales, customer services, etc.

With time technological advancements were seen in these telephony systems, and they were made more robust and feature-rich. These advanced telephony systems are known as multi-like phone systems. Nowadays, more and more businesses opt for multi-line phone systems as they are robust, and it gets easy to manage the inflow and outflow of calls. With a growing business, it is essential to upgrade the technology to gain efficiency and enhance productivity.

These systems are also known as cloud-hosted or VoIP multiple lines phone systems, and according to research by Global Market Insights Inc, the VoIP market will grow up to 15% by 2025 amongst SMBs. In this blog, we will understand in detail the definition of multi-line telephone systems, their types, features, etc. Also, in this blog, you’ll get a clear understanding of how to use a multi-line phone system and how to set up a multi-line phone system.

What is a Multi-Line Phone System?

A multi-line phone system is a cost-effective technology that allows users to manage multiple calls at once. With multi-line phone systems, the calling teams can multi-task, like placing an ongoing call on hold, dialing another number, whether internal or external and again getting back to the same call that was put on hold.

In addition, a multi-line phone system receives incoming calls and directs them to several lines, i.e., simultaneously connecting at least two phones to the same connection. This system allows executives to be given a specific extension number to amplify effective call distribution.

With a multi-line business phone system, the organization doesn’t need to add new telephone lines and requires a minimum number of resources. Businesses can set up multi-line telephone systems in two ways, mainly –

1. On-premise

This is a traditional hardwired multi-line telephone system that requires a lot of equipment and is complex to set up. Systems like PBX and KSU are included in the on-premise multi-line phone system category, requiring skilled personnel to manage.

2. Cloud-based

This is an advanced system, and unlimited phone lines are offered. In addition, the teams can work remotely from any device they prefer. It includes VoIP multiple lines phone system and IP PBX.

Types of Multi-Line Business Phones

Having multiple lines is not always better. It is a business decision that must be taken after effectively evaluating your requirements, employee size, and budget. Nothing can be left to chance. There are a few types of phones available that can be merged with your multi-line phone system. Let’s have a look at those.

1. Two-line phone system

Two-line phone systems are the best for start-ups and small businesses with low call volume. This can be used by solopreneurs, where one line can be used for conducting sales, and the other line for customer services. In addition, it can be used by small businesses.

2. Four-line phone system

Businesses and individuals needing to handle up to four simultaneous calls can opt for 4-line phones. It can be highly assistive in settings like call centers when employees have to take many calls or in small businesses or agencies where business calls can be separated from personal ones. Installing an additional phone like a 4-line phone will be a far better and more affordable option.

3. Six to Twelve line phone system

6-12 line phones are the most viable option for handling large volumes of incoming and outgoing calls. It can be used for various purposes like customer services, sales, and general office use.

Up to 12 lines can be handled simultaneously, which enhances productivity and provides a good ROI. In addition, these phones contain advanced features as opposed to 2 and 4-line phones. These phones are used in large organizations by team leaders who have to evaluate several calls simultaneously and by senior executives and their assistants in large organizations.

Features of Multi-Line Phone Systems

Multi-phone systems are highly modernized, and they offer a plethora of advanced features like auto attendant, caller id, etc., that assist organizations in optimizing their calling processes, whether it be sales, customer services, or other business-related calling process. Let’s have a look at some of the important features that are provided.

Features of Multi-Line Phone Systems

1. Power Dialer

With the power dialer feature, calls can be made consistently without little to no waste of time. With the multi-line phone system’s power dialer feature, the sales representative of an organization can save a significant amount of time as they don’t need to dial numbers manually. Moreover, the call volumes get increased, and call waiting time was reduced effectively, thereby elevating productivity.

2. Smart Switch

With this feature, almost zero connectivity issues are encountered. As it is cloud-based, the downtime is reduced to a great extent. Moreover, the executives can choose from multiple providers, due to which seamless calling can be done. Also, the process of switching can be automated, which reduces the hassle.

3. Global Connect

It allows organizations to easily expand their reach globally as it offers a local presence in several countries. International calls can be made easily and effectively with multi-line phone systems as they operate on the Internet and are cost-efficient. In addition, it assists in knowing the correct time to call international clients.

4. Smart Call Forwarding

With smart call forwarding, users can automatically route incoming calls to a specific phone number. This feature is essential for executives working remotely as they can attend to calls easily on the go. Apart from that, it also allows users to configure settings and filters as per their requirements.

5. Call Transfer

The name of the feature itself is self-explanatory; with the call transfer feature, the calls can be transferred from one party to another. This feature mainly assists customer service executives as they need to transfer the calls to their team lead or supervisors. In addition, it can also be used to connect the customer to the relevant department.

6. Call Conference

As we all know, what is a conference call? It is a call where multiple parties can connect on the same call simultaneously. But with multi-line phone systems, the capacity to connect the number of parties on a call increases considerably. In addition, clients from all over the world can connect on the same call. All of this can be done in a highly cost-effective manner.

7. Call Queueing

Call queuing is a feature where incoming calls are kept on hold or queued in sequence and automatically assigned to a representative as and when he/she gets free. This feature is mainly useful in call centers to effectively manage the large inflow of incoming calls daily. Moreover, an estimated time is also stated to the callers to help them decide whether to stay in the queue or call back later.

8. Call Barging

It is a common yet highly assistive feature offered in multi-line phone systems. The call barging feature allows users to add a third party to an ongoing call. This is useful in any organization and is more useful for internal purposes such as training, meeting, or collaborating. This feature is highly assistive in enhancing productivity and performance if utilized effectively.

9. Call Recording

As the name suggests, all the calls can be recorded. It can be for several purposes, such as proof keeping, enhancing the call quality, and training the representatives. With the call recording feature, the organization can pinpoint areas of improvement. It is highly assistive in amplifying and quickening the dispute resolution process.

10. Call Analytics

This feature is useful in analyzing the data of the calls made to or by the organization. With call analytics, insights related to the performance of sales and marketing campaigns and customer service can be gained. In-depth information is gained, which is highly assistive in decision-making and framing new strategies.

Hence, these are some essential features provided in multi-line phone systems. Many providers offer these VoIP multiple lines business phone systems like CallHippo, which all kinds and sizes of businesses can use to optimize their calling operations.

Benefits of a Multi-Line Telephone System

It is obvious as to how feature-rich the multi-line telephone system is it is evidently beneficial for organizations. Such features allow the organization to streamline processes and considerably enhance the teams’ performance. Let’s look at the benefits of this system.

1. Cost Effective

Businesses are shifting to cloud-based phone systems from the carrier providers like AT&T, Verizon, etc., for a sole reason, i.e., cost-effectiveness. With cloud-based telephony systems, organizations can save a substantial amount of communications costs.

cost effective

In a traditional multi-line phone system, much investment has to be made in the hardware and other equipment. However, in a VoIP-powered phone system, organizations don’t need to hardwire any equipment and get unlimited calling.

2. Reliable

As opposed to an on premise multi-line phone system that is vulnerable to downtime via network outrages, the cloud-based multi-line phone system is highly reliable and secure. It stores data in several data centers, which assists the organization in operating seamlessly without interruption.

Moreover, business enterprises don’t have to worry about adhering to regulatory compliance. All of this has been taken care of by the VoIP phone system service providers like CallHippo as they are already PCI, SOC 2, and HIPAA compliant phone service.

3. Flexible

Most small and large business entities these days are opting for hybrid work culture, i.e., part of the employees work from the office, and others work from home. With a cloud-based multi-line phone system, the calling processes can be conducted without being affected. As it can be operated from any device preferred by the user, web and mobile applications are also offered.

Hence, it offers pliability, so the performance is not impacted, and the productivity is enhanced. A device and an internet connection are all that is required.

4. Easy to Scale

The multi-line phone system is easy to adapt, and processes can be scaled effectively. No advanced technical skills are required to operate this system as most of the features offered are automated and don’t require manual applications, which cover most of the tasks.

With the VoIP multi-line phone system, the representatives just need to focus on the quality of the calls and performance rest of the operations can be automated to a great extent.

5. Highly Convenient

With the availability of so many features, it offers convenience to users to take and make calls. Easy to set up and operate quality of the system allows organizations to overcome challenges and optimize the process considerably.

Moreover, 24/7 customer support and quick resolution are offered by the service providers if and when any difficulty is encountered. As a result, multi-line phone systems simplify things for organizations.

Overall, the multi-line phone system is highly beneficial and essential for a business organization to operate seamlessly and gain the desired efficiency level. With this system, the determined goals and objectives can be achieved.

Exploring the Mechanics of Multi-Line Phone Systems (How it Works)

As mentioned earlier, there are two basic mechanisms of multi-line phone systems, i.e., traditional and cloud-based multi-line phone systems. Let’s understand how both systems work.

1. Traditional multi-line phone system

This system has existed for a long time, and many businesses have been using it too. It is also known as an analog multi-line phone system. It is divided into two parts.

The first is a sole landline that offers two-line features, and it is connected with wires. Black and yellow colored wires are used and attached to phone jacks. A flash button is provided to hold the calls and switch lines. Also, the phone company charges extra for extra lines.

The second one is a PBX, i.e., Private Branch Exchange, here also, landlines are used, but multiple lines can be connected. It is a bit advanced and offers features like voicemail, call forwarding, speaker, etc. Also, to dial an external line in the PBX with a traditional multi-line telephone system you have to add 9 before entering the number.

However, this is a dying technology as more advanced multi-line phone system alternatives are available, like VoIP service provers such as CallHippo.

2. Cloud-based multi-line phone system

This system has surpassed the traditional multi-line phone system. It offers advanced functionalities and is highly scalable. In addition to that, the cloud-hosted phone system utilizes Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. With this, the organization doesn’t need to stay dependent on the services of a carrier and pay high prices.

VoIP technology is dependent on the internet and is completely cloud-based. As a result, the organization needs minimum investment and infrastructure to conduct operations. VoIP service providers like CallHippo offer a cloud-based, feature-rich phone system with little to no downtime.

The mechanism is as follows:

Calls are transformed into data packs. They are then transmitted to the nearest data center of the provider. Then the IP converts the audio in a way it can be heard. Virtual PBX is offered by the service providers.

In addition, no matter how many phone lines an organization requires they can get it from the provider at minimum cost and all they require is an internet connection to operate.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Multi-Line Phone System

Choosing a multi-line phone system totally depends on the requirements of an organization. However, to choose the right multi-line phone system that contains all the essential communication functionalities, here are the five factors that must be evaluated.

Factors to consider when choosing a multi-line phone system

1. Integrating different locations

Most businesses nowadays operate in multiple locations or have plans to expand their business geographically. So the multi-line phone system provider must be such that it offers cross-border functionality. As effective communication is  highly essential to gain a competitive edge.

2. Supports hybrid work environment

Post Covid, many organizations have adopted a hybrid work culture, and the multi-line phone system must-have features that offer seamless connectivity. Moreover, it will be highly feasible for representatives if they are able to call on the go hassle-free.

3. Requires minimum resources

As small and medium businesses are always on a budget, the multi-line phone system that SMEs are opting for must be such that it requires minimum resources and provides optimum results. The traditional multi-line phone system requires a lot of resources for seamless operability.

4. Easy to adapt

The system must be easy to adapt and install. So that the organizations would not have to hire professionals with high expertise as it will take a toll on the budget. However, if the multi-line phone system providers offer easy-to-use software, a huge amount can be saved from the budget, and good ROI can be gained.

5. Customizable

Every user has their preference, and if that is offered, they can give an impeccable performance, and productivity is enhanced. So last but not least, the system must be easy to customize as per the preference this will lead the organization to achieve the determined goals and objectives.

So, these are the five factors that every organization must consider to when choosing a multi-line phone system, as these factors are essential and elevate the level of performance to a great extent.

Installing a Multi-Line Phone System (How to Setup)

Now, as we understood earlier, there are mainly two types of multi-line phone systems, i.e., traditional and cloud. So the setup process depends on which phone system you are choosing.

How to Set Up a Multi-Line Phone System

If you are opting for a traditional multi-line phone system, then you’ll have to allow the phone company to do all the installation work for each line. In addition, you’ll have to have a huge budget to set up the lines, as a lot of hardware and resources are required. Moreover, organizations need to hire expert technicians to set up and ensure the smooth functioning of the system. Apart from that, the desk phone is to be configured with the PBX.

In comparison to all this, if a cloud muli-line phone system is opted for, then all the setup and installation can be done in around 15-20 mins. It is a far better, simpler, and cost-effective solution for all kinds and sizes of business.

Here are the steps to set up a virtual or VoIP multiple lines phone system:

  • Select a plan that is in consonance with your requirements and budget. CallHippo offers a wide range of feature-rich plans. A 10-day free trial is also offered.
  • Post choosing a plan, you need to provide phone extensions to team members, due to which call forwarding and routing will be much easier.
  • Then a custom phone greeting is to be recorded, which leaves a good impression on your customer.
  • Now you can start the calling process in no time. The best part is that you do not need a VoIP phone line. You can initiate the calling process from your smartphone as well.
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Expert Advice

"To cope with the competition opting for a cloud-based multi-line phone system is a beneficial decision. With these systems, you can reach to customers quickly and effectively and vice versa. Most important of all, they are cost-effective and offer you way more convenience than a traditional phone system."

Wrapping Up

According to a report by Persistence Market Research, the VoIP market will reach up to $194.5 billion by 2024. Also, according to this blog, we can clearly figure out that a cloud-based, hosted, or VoIP multi-line phone system is the most viable choice as it is easy to install, adapt, and convenient. In addition, the organization using it can gain the desired ROI in no time.

So all you need to make the right choice of a multi-line phone system provider. There are many providers as it is an emerging market. But providers like CallHippo are the best choice as they are cost-effective, highly scalable, and trusted by Fortune 500 companies.

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How to get multiple phone lines?

There are many ways to get multiple phone lines, but it depends on which multi-line phones you are choosing if you want traditional phone system, then you will have to contact the local provider and inquire about the plans and features they offer to get physical phone lines. However, if you are going with a cloud-based multi-line phone system, then it’s a cakewalk, and everything can be done online hassle-free in a cost-effective manner.

Which is the best multi-line phone system for businesses?

According to us, for any organization to offer the best business phone service to its customers the best option is the cloud-based multi-line phone system, as it is easy to set up and requires fewer resources and maintenance. In addition, organizations can also save on hiring professionals. So these systems are beneficial in every way. You just need to be careful while evaluating service providers.

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