Best Business Phone Systems

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Business phone systems must balance technically advanced features with user friendliness, comprehensiveness with cost effectiveness. Investing in a business phone system today means more than just purchasing a bunch of phones and lines. Rather, it involves detailed planning and configuration, as well as the integration of other office applications.

Your phone system must be as compatible with these applications as possible in order to deliver the use that it promises. The more digital the world becomes, the more interconnected it gets. The very nature of digital technology is conformity, which enables machines to "talk" to one another. The invention of the digital phone, along with digital voicemail and the Internet, has expanded the possibilities for phones to interact with not just the local network, but also PCs, wireless units, and other electronic devices.

The Purpose of Interactivity

The goal of all of this interactivity, of course, is twofold: to increase company productivity, and to make life easier for the human beings who work there. Digital interactivity allows for conveniences like caller identification, conferencing, call routing, voicemail, and remote use. It also allows individuals to configure their phones according to their particular needs and preferences.

For instance, employees can program their own voicemail, speed dialing features, and headset mode on business phones. In general, today's better business phones are designed with greater sensitivity towards the user. LCD screens that identify the names and numbers of callers are standard, but large, easy-to-read LCD screens are preferable to small ones.

Business Phones and User Friendliness

Large, ergonomically designed "soft keys" on the keypad are easier to use than the hard, square plastic ones of 20 years ago. In a busy office environment, features like these make all the difference. It's often the little annoyances, such as closely-placed keys that botch phone dialing or hard to read LCD screens, that make a challenging job downright frustrating.

Let's move on to some of the more advanced features in modern business phone systems. Call routing is basically a system of preset rules that enable callers to get to the right person the first time they call. Call forwarding enables calls to be redirected to your choice of alternate lines. For instance, you may use call forwarding if you're going to be working in a different area, away from your desk, but don't want to miss an important call. In this case, you can program your phone to automatically send your calls to the extension where you'll be.

Other Features of Digital Phone Systems

Voicemail is essential, allowing callers to leave messages in an electronic mailbox if you're not there to pick up the phone. Fax technology has lately taken a giant step, allowing faxes to be delivered directly to your email account, eliminating the need to leave your desk to look for the paper document. Automatic call distribution is a system for managing incoming calls according to specially programmed instructions set by your company.

Finally, no discussion of digital business phone systems would be complete without mentioning Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. This revolutionary technology allows businesses to make long distance calls using their high-speed internet connections rather than the public switched phone networks. The results of this capability are greater versatility and convenience, as well as the huge savings that come from not having to pay long distance charges.

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