Don’t Skimp on a Phone System for Business

When choosing a business phone system, remember the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’. If you put in the effort to start and grow your business, cutting back and using a free phone service will only cause you problems.

So you have a growing company, and you currently pay very little for your phone calls because you are using a free service. It might seem like a good idea now but what about as your business grows? Do you want people to continue to view your business as a one man shop? If not, then you need to upgrade to a professional phone system. And with all the inexpensive VoIP hosted PBX options out there (telecom in the cloud) you not only set yourself up as a professional business but are ready for growth.

VoIP hosted PBX systems normally offer many features that free phone systems do not offer like: call queues, call reporting, call recording, and transcribed voicemails (voicemail to text).

Now, don’t get me wrong, those free phone systems a lot of fans who rave about the features it gives them. But, it’s simply not a professional phone system that any size business should utilize for their day to day operations.

Here are the reasons why you should NOT use a free phone system as a business phone system:

1. It Isn’t a Phone System

No admin login, no separate user logins, no call reporting, no call queues, no unlimited phone numbers, no toll free numbers, no logs for different users, no logs for different numbers, no e911, no dial by name directory, no web faxing, no music on hold etc. etc. It’s just NOT a phone system.

But… if you need more reasons:

2. Most free phone systems are not Based on SIP (Session Internet Protocol) and therefore Lacks Features

Systems that use SIP have many advantages over a POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) in that they can utilize many of the programmable features that only calls sent over SIP can provide. As an example, Asterisk is a programming language based on SIP and is constantly coming out with new features for VoIP providers. Asterisk is an open source software and therefore available for free. Some of the features free services are lacking that a business will need include: Call Queues, Conference Bridges with a Pin Number and email reminders, Call Reports, Administration and User level logins for managing lines/extensions, web faxing, a dial by name directory, music on hold, e911, and much, much more.

3. You Cannot Use Free Services on a Soft Phone

Since most free phone systems are not based on SIP, users of the system cannot use a SIP based client like a soft phone. Soft phones are software programs that run on a computer that enable users to make/receive calls over the internet. An example of a soft phone is Skype. Soft Phones are used by many companies for call centers and in place of a company phone. Soft phones are free to start and then can cost a small one-time cost for a lot of extra features. One company that sells soft phones is Counterpath.

4. Most Free Phone Systems Only Offer One Local Number

With most of these free phone services you are only given one local number. With the advent of VoIP, businesses can finally get local business numbers for any location in the U.S. without having to have a physical location there. So, many businesses are seeing the benefit of maintaining multiple local phone numbers. For example, if your business is located in Austin, Texas but you have vendors in New Orleans, Louisiana, you may want to give them a local number that they can call instead of having to make long distance calls or using your toll-free minutes on your toll-free number. If you have a VoIP hosted PBX system, you can purchase as many local numbers from as many local U.S. destinations as you want. And, you can forward these numbers to any location you want including your cell phone, an extension at your business, or your VoIP phone (wherever that might be located).

5. Free Phone Services Usually Do Not Work with Powerful VoIP Phones

Many of the features that are making businesses more successful when using VoIP are only accessible using a VoIP phone. Polycom, for example, has a entire line of VoIP phones used just for conference rooms. There are also phones used by secretaries that show who is on the phone, as well as basic VoIP phones with buttons like ‘hold’, ‘mute’, ‘headsets’, ‘conference’, ‘forward’, ‘Contact Directory’, ‘Call Lists’, ‘Messages’ and much more. And with a VoIP phone, you can use your phone anywhere in the world you have a dedicated internet connection.

6. HD Voice (wideband audio) is Not Available with Free Phone Services

Wideband audio is an audio technology used in telephony. It extends the frequency range of audio signals transmitted over telephone lines, resulting in higher quality speech. With HD, Voice calls sound clear and crisp, almost like the person is standing right next to you. HD Voice is available with most VoIP hosted PBX providers and with most VoIP phone providers but not with free phone services.

7. Free Phone Services – Voicemail to Text Service is Crummy at Best

Perhaps one of the free phone services coolest features is also currently among its weakest. The transcription service can give you some less-than-literal translations. Voicemails may or may not come through perfectly when transcribed to text. “I hope to see you soon” may come through as “I love your friend June.” Ouch.

8. Privacy Can Be An Issue for Free Phone System Users

Preston Gralla of Computer World says “Lost in all the hooplah about the release of — is this disturbing fact: The service will give (Internet Browser Company) — enormous amounts of information about the intimate details of your everyday life, including recordings of your voice mail and possibly your phone calls. Combined with what (Internet Browser Company) — already knows about you, it could mean your privacy is at an end.” Gralla goes on to say: “— will be offered for free. (Internet Browsing Company) —, though, will certainly be looking for ways to make money from it. One of the most obvious ways is via targeted advertising, particularly because the company recently announced that it’s going to figure out new ways to target ads based on your interests. It already does this with — So don’t be surprised to see ad targeted based on who calls you.”

9. Free Phone Services Do Not Offer Phone Support

Okay, this has to be the biggest problem with relying on a free phone service for your companies phone system needs. Have you, or anyone you know, ever been able to actually talk to their support for anything? I doubt it. Go with a provider you can talk to any time since having a working phone system is most likely a crucial factor in your businesses success.

10 Free Phone Services Do Not Look Professional

Bottom line is, when you are trying to get a new customer to trust you, the fact that you are using free phone services instead of paying for a better phone system shows that you just don’t care. You don’t care that your phone calls are possibly being monitored, don’t care that your phone calls are breaking up and sound terrible, and you don’t care about having reliable business telecommunications.

Conclusion

Free phone systems are not meant to be used to run a business’s telecommunications system. The “fun” little features that they tout are just that, fun. They won’t help you run your business more efficiently and in fact will most likely slow you down. I mean who has time to set up different voicemail greetings for different callers when you are trying to run a business?? And do you really need that?? So stick with what works and grow your business without having to worry that your phone system will drag you down. Choose a VoIP hosted PBX system and you can’t go wrong.

Do You Think Wireless Phone Systems Are Good?

How good it would feel to have wireless phone systems installed all over, without messy wires and tubes hanging all over the place. Communicating with people around you, who are in your line of vision is certainly not a difficult thing to do; think of a situation where you need to talk to someone who is miles away. How would you do this without a proper channel of communication? This would be all the more of an attractive proposition, if this could be done without the presence of wires or tubes or any such paraphernalia. The point is to check out the various kinds of phone systems that are wireless, which can fulfill your needs and requirements.

To know how good the wireless phone systems are today, it would help if you could take your mind back to the days in which your granddad held on for dear life to a telephone all the time trying to ensure that the wire does not strangulate him. If you have heard him sound more like a frog than like the grandpa you love, it was most probably due to the fact that he had suddenly got his feet or his hands entangled in the mess of wires that were hanging near the phone system. Today, this has changed; the age of wireless communication has arrived.

The wireless phone systems have a lot of additional faciloities that make them all the more attractive. For instance, the call wait facility is available on most phone systems today. With the wireless system, you find that there is an LCD screen that lights up as soon as there is a call that is coming through. You might find that just as this call comes through, there is another one that is on its way as well. There is an indication on the same screen that the second call is in queue and is waiting to be picked up. The wireless system also provides indication that there is a second call waiting to be attended to.

The wireless phone systems come with speaker phones and clear display screens that help make communication quite easy and simple. You do not have to go through any complicated procedure to answer calls and more so, to find out who has called you. The latter is something that comes in quite handy when you are answering a call. Very often you might be in a position where you do not want to talk to a person for some particular reason. When you see their number flashing on the screen, you could put them on hold when you attend to a more important call.

When you buy your wireless phone systems, make sure you check out the various manufacturers who are in the business; there are always deals and discounts for you to choose from, any time of the year.

The Benefits of Asterisk Phone Systems

Asterisk phone systems are an excellent, fully integrated VOIP PBX solution for businesses of all sizes. The set up eliminates the tremendous cost of setting up a traditional PBX system. This high cost often eliminates the possibility of using PBX for small businesses, but with Asterisk, even the smallest business can have all of the benefits of PBX in their office without spending money they do not have.

What Is Asterisk?

Asterisk is an open source software PBX that can be used by businesses and individuals alike. It is designed to run on Linux, but it can run on other platforms as well, including Windows. Asterisk was developed by Digium, Inc., who also sells the hardware necessary to set up Asterisk phone systems. Compared to other PBX options, Asterisk is incredibly affordable and has many features that are hard to find elsewhere.

Benefits of Asterisk in the Office

Besides the fact that it costs thousands of dollars less than a traditional PBX system, Asterisk provides its users with numerous other benefits. Since Asterisk phone systems are VOIP PBX systems, they use broadband connections to connect the telephone network to the traditional global telephony network. Calls can still be made and received in the same manner that they are with a traditional PBX system. Additionally, because the connection is made through the Internet and not the phone line, employees that work remotely can be connected directly to the office PBX through their Internet connections. When someone calls your office and chooses extension 10, that extension could actually be your home-based worker, and the customer would be none the wiser.

For large businesses that have locations in several geographical areas, using asterisk will allow the various offices to connect over the network. This can eliminate much of the expense of conference calls a company spread over several states usually faces. Additionally, employees who must travel frequently can stay connected to the office PBX system as long as they have an Internet connection.

Asterisk phone systems allow every extension to have its own voicemail box. These voicemail boxes are connected to the employee’s email accounts, so no one will ever miss a message again.

If you should ever have a problem with your Asterisk system, you can easily get help directly from Digium. They have friendly Asterisk consulting professionals that will help you get the system up and running as quickly as possible. You can call to ask questions about bugs that you find, and they are happy to help, as this type of feedback helps them improve the software for future users.

Asterisk supports a variety of VOIP protocols. Among the protocols it accepts are MGCP, H.323, and SIP. The program can connect IP phones to the traditional phone line easily. This flexibility makes the system easy to integrate into established businesses.

If needed, Asterisk phone systems can interface with traditional telephone lines. The product comes with several high-end features, such as voice recognition system integration, call data record, and text-to-speech system integration. All of these features make it one of the best PBX products available.

Benefits of Asterisk for Customers

Your employees are not the only ones who benefit from Asterisk phone systems Toronto. Your customers will benefit as well, both directly and indirectly, when you implement this system. It has features that are found in the most expensive products on the market, such as on-hold music that supports both MP3 and streaming media. Customers will have shorter wait times because the call queues allow agents to monitor the queue while they take the incoming calls, so they can shorten the calls if needed.

Asterisk phone systems offer the best of both worlds to their users. They provide a plethora of features to the business at a fraction of the cost of their traditional competition. There are other VOIP PBX options out there, but Asterisk is the oldest and most well established, making it the preferred choice among many business owners.