Telephony Our Ultimate Cloud Based Phone System Guide January 20, 2020 - by Jack Mitchell Choosing the right phone system for your business is a big deal. Your phone system plays a big part in the success of your business, so you need to make sure your system does everything that you need it to. Telephony technology is always changing, but cloud based phone systems are here to stay. If your business is still using a system that utilises ISDN or PSTN, your business needs to look into alternatives. BT has announced that they are phasing out ISDN and PSTN, with the current switch off date of 2025. A cloud based phone system is future-proof and one of your best options if you’re still using a system using ISDN or PSTN. Our ultimate guide will help you decide whether a cloud based solution is right for you. What Is A Cloud Based Phone System? A cloud based telephone system is a Voice over IP phone service hosted in the cloud and delivered using the internet. A cloud based telephone system is also known as an internet based phone system and the more widely used VoIP. A cloud based phone system is hosted in the cloud by a third-party provider. There are several third-party providers offering cloud-hosted business telephone systems, such as BT. A VoIP telephone system offers you everything that you would get with a traditional telephone system, but also a whole lot more. A cloud-based solution is typically much cheaper than a traditional system too, as no hardware is required and therefore maintenance costs are lower. Cloud Based Phone Systems Pros and Cons If you want a future-proof system for your business, don’t look any further than a VoIP phone system. There are several key advantages of business VoIP that set it apart from the other telephone systems available to businesses. Pros Low Cost VoIP is much cheaper than a traditional telephone system in several ways. For example: Installation costs are lower Line costs are typically much cheaper Handsets aren’t required It requires little upfront investment Installation costs are lower. Installing a traditional telephone system usually incurs a large expense. You have to buy the hardware, and all the handsets that you’ll need for your employees. This could cost your business thousands of pounds depending on the system you need and the number of employees that you have. And that’s before you consider the cost of getting a business to install the system for you! While the handsets for a VoIP and traditional telephone system might be similarly priced, you don’t actually need handsets to use a cloud based phone system. With that in mind, installing a VoIP system is far more cost-effective than installing a traditional telephone system. Line costs are much cheaper. A VoIP system is stored in the cloud, and calls are made over internet protocol. This means that you don’t need a separate line installed if you already have an internet connection. With some traditional telephone systems, you would have a line for your phone and a line for your business internet connection. When you choose a VoIP solution, you can cut down to one line if you need to save money. Most VoIP handsets are powered over ethernet. This means that you won’t have to change the wiring of your office if you choose to have a VoIP system, as trunking can be set up to safely and securely power your handsets. Handsets aren’t required. Unlike with a traditional phone system, you don’t need handsets to use a VoIP system. Instead, there are many ways that you can answer calls, such as using your computer or answering them on your mobile phone. You can access your cloud phone system on a computer via a web browser or app depending on the supplier that you are using. This way, you could have a completely wireless setup by simply using a wireless headset and your computer to answer calls. VoIP offers great flexibility when it comes to answering and managing calls in a way that a traditional phone system doesn’t. Little upfront investment required. A traditional phone system typically requires massive upfront investment. Not only do you have to pay for installation, but you also have to pay for the handsets and physical hardware required to set up a phone system. With VoIP, usually the upfront cost is small. Optionbox provides a VoIP solution where businesses simply pay for a licence and a handset on a monthly basis. This monthly fee includes support and maintenance for the handsets and the cloud platform, and it means you don’t have to make a big investment upfront. For small businesses, a VoIP telephone system is a far better option than a traditional one due to the smaller upfront investment. Greater Accessibility VoIP for business offers greater flexibility than a traditional phone system. A cloud based telephone system can be used on several devices and the system can be used anywhere that you have a good internet connection. If you need the flexibility to make a phone call no matter your location, a VoIP system is the best business telephone system solution for your business. With a suitable internet connection, you can make and receive calls using your VoIP system. If you’re travelling with a laptop, log on to the cloud interface of your VoIP system and you’ll be able to make and receive calls through your system regardless of your location. Businesses are more flexible than ever in 2020, with many businesses allowing for flexible hours and remote working. With the ability to access your VoIP system remotely, in theory you could operate your business from any location. Did you know that you can point a virtual number to any number? If you are out of the office on a business trip, you can point your virtual number to your mobile phone to ensure that you do not miss any calls. Higher Scalability A VoIP solution enables you to scale your telephone system without incurring a big cost every time you want to grow. When you have a VoIP system, you don’t have to buy expensive hardware or a dedicated line every time you want to have a new phone for your business. When you want to add an extra VoIP license to your setup, you simply have to pay for the licence on a month by month basis. If you want a new handset, you can also pay for that monthly. There’s no need for a massive upfront investment when you choose a VoIP solution for your business. A Variety of Advanced Features With VoIP, you get a wide range of advanced features that you don’t get with a traditional telephone system. Your VoIP system offers numerous features that can make managing and answering your calls much easier. With features such as call transferring and conference call abilities, VoIP is a fully fledged phone system with a massive number of robust features. While we’re having a closer look at some of these great features later in this blog post, here’s a quick look at some of the impressive VoIP features available: Call Forwarding Call Notify by Email Call Recording Do Not Disturb Schedules Call Queue Groups Call Transfer Hunt Groups The range of features available can improve the efficiency of your business by removing tasks that were previously manual and offering a streamlined solution with increased functionality. Cons Fast and Stable Internet Is Essential A VoIP service will only work effectively when you have a fast and stable internet with good bandwidth. If you don’t have internet or your internet connection regularly drops and is slow, you might need to upgrade your internet connection before you can begin using a Voice over IP telephone system. Fortunately, your VoIP system doesn’t need as much bandwidth as you might think. Each device needs less than 200kbps in most cases to make and receive calls, so even with poor internet you could use a VoIP solution with no trouble. When installing a VoIP system for a business, we will normally install an additional broadband line that your cloud based system will run on. By installing a dedicated line for your business VoIP solution, we ensure that your system will run without latency and jitter and all calls will be of a high quality. Features of A Cloud Based Phone System Every cloud based telephone system has a host of impressive features. The VoIP systems that we provide all come equipped with these features, as well as more. Call Forwarding The call forwarding feature allows you to forward all incoming calls to a number of your choice. If you know that you are going to be out of the office for the day, but you are expecting some important calls, the call forwarding feature can redirect phone calls to your mobile device. By forwarding all calls to your mobile device or any other number of your choice, you can ensure that you are always available to your employees and your customers. If you are particularly busy and you know that you aren’t going to be able to receive any calls, you can forward all calls to your number to a voicemail. Voicemails left for you will be stored online but also sent to your email, so you can listen to voicemails and respond whenever suits you best. Call Notify by Email Call notify by email is a handy feature that triggers an email to your chosen email address if a call meets a series of criterion that you get to choose. For example, if you receive a call from a caller ID that you urgently need to speak with, you can set up a call notify by email that will inform you when someone using that caller ID phones your VoIP system. Your criterion can be made up of a range of different information, such as: Caller identity Time of day Day of the week You can create numerous criteria sets if you need to, which will aid your call management. Call Recording Call recording is a feature that gives you the ability to record inbound, outbound or all calls. The call recording feature can be turned on for certain hunt groups or specific handsets depending on the way that you set the feature up. The call recording feature can be customised in numerous ways. For example, you can record every call, a percentage of calls or call in only particular circumstances. With a range of options available, you can customise the call recording feature so that it suits the requirements of your business perfectly. The call recording features can be managed on individual handsets or through an online platform that we give our customers access to. Do Not Disturb Do not disturb is a feature that can be activated through an online platform or on a handset. If someone tries to call a phone number that has do not disturbed activated, the caller will get a message that the user is busy or unavailable. While there are some basic messages available, you can modify the message that is recited to the customer as required. Users of handsets can activate and deactivate do not disturb as they require without having to use the cloud platform to make changes. Schedules Through a portal, you can create one or multiple schedules that will cause certain features to behave in different ways depending on the time of day. Schedules can be extremely useful. They enable you to create several schedules that allow you to manage calls to your business. For example, you can create a schedule that activates when you close for the day so that all calls go to voicemail. By setting up schedules, you can ensure that you aren’t missing calls because you don’t have a voicemail activated. With a schedule, your voicemail will be active at times you’ve chosen without any effort on your part. If you’ve previously had to manually activate your voicemail as you left the building, you no longer have to when you set up schedules on your cloud platform. Call Queue Groups A call queue group enables call queueing if all users in a hunt group are already on the phone. By queueing calls, you ensure that your business doesn’t miss potentially important phone calls just because all your team are already on the phone. Call queue groups can be customised with welcome messages and hold music. People waiting in your call group can be told the position that they’re in so that they have a rough idea of how long they’ll have to wait to speak to one of your team. You know your customers, so you can ensure you create engaging messages and choose music that will keep them happy while they wait to be connected to one of your team. Call Transfer Transferring calls is easy when using a Voice over IP handset. The call transfer feature allows you to answer a call and then transfer it to another handset. When transferring a call, you can transfer it to a handset that isn’t even in the same room. In fact, you can transfer a call to a handset that isn’t even in the same city. If the person using the handset that you’re transferring the call to isn’t able to answer it, the call will return to your handset so you can continue talking to the caller without having to phone them back. Hunt Groups Instead of every single phone in the office ringing when someone calls your main business number, hunt groups allow you to create separate teams, so a caller is routed to the right department immediately. By creating hunt groups, you can ensure a better experience for your customers when they are phoning your business. You can have a range of hunt groups, and you can include handsets in more than one hunt group. For example, if you have a person that works in both admin and marketing, you could ensure that they are in both appropriate hunt groups. Setting up hunt groups is easy through the online portal where you manage your business VoIP system. When our customers need help setting up hunt groups, we are more than happy to do it for them free of charge. Is A Cloud Based Telephone System Right for My Business? A phone system is essential for most businesses to operate productively and effectively. However, is a cloud based telephone system right for your business? A cloud based phone system is right for the majority of businesses. VoIP is cheaper upfront and over a long period of time than a traditional telephone system, and it also offers way more features that make it significantly more efficient than any other option. With the PSTN and ISDN switch off in the next few years, it’s time to upgrade to a future-proof, scalable VoIP solution now. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with our advanced Voice over IP solution. First Month FREE Sign up for a VoIP system with Optionbox and we’ll give you the first month completely free. Fill in the form below and we’ll be in touch to arrange a convenient time to discuss your requirements. Type of ServiceFREE, No-Obligation ConsultationFREE Availability CheckFREE Line of Sight ConsultationFirst Month Free - VoIP SystemFree Broadband ReviewSeat4SeatInternet Circuit AdviceFirst Month Free NumberSecurity AuditTelephone SystemsInternet CircuitsSecurityGigabit Voucher Scheme Share Previous Post Types of CCTV Camera Next Post What Is A Door Access Control System?