Top 10 most frequently asked questions about
Business Telephone Systems
1) How much is a phone system for my business?
Answer: Prices vary depending on what type of features you are looking for at the end of the day. For a budgetary number you can count on your phone system costing you between $300 to $500 per handset. This price would include the main system installed with voicemail and moderate desktop display phones. Some systems (Cisco & Shoretel) are on the higher end while others (ESI, Intertel & Grandstream) are on the lower side. We sell AVAYA mostly and they seem to land comfortably in the middle somewhere.
2) What is a VoIP Telephone system?
Answer: VoIP is basically transferring voice calls as data over the Internet. The term VoIP is thrown around a lot. When I meet with a customer the first questions I ask are “Will you be connecting multiple locations together? And will you have any remote workers that need to have an extension off of your phone system. If they answer yes to either question – they need a VoIP system. We quote many Hybrid systems, which means that they are capable of IP connectivity but can also support digital phones and normal phone lines which save money in many cases.
3) How do I connect my cell phone to my phone system?
Answer: Depending on your phone system, you can twin your cell phone to your desktop phone extension so when your desk phone rings, your cell phone rings. This feature is usually turned on by your system administrator and sometimes requires a system license.
4) What options are available for the mobile worker?
Answer: To stay connected while out in the field, many phone systems today have soft phone applications that can be loaded on your laptop so you can still receive calls like you were sitting at your desk. Mobile twinning makes it easy to receive calls on your cellphone that were intended for your desk phone.
5) How do I connect 2 phone systems to each other?
Answer: To connect 2 phone systems to each other so you can do extension dialing to another building, we will put a gateway in place that will put both phone systems on the same network. Your IT provider can program your firewall to open up a pathway for your devices to communicate – this pathway is a virtual private network or VPN. We have setup systems to have all of the lines connect at one location, but ring at multiple locations – This is especially helpful if you have a published 800# but want other locations to provide backup when you get busy.
6) How do I access my voicemail messages remotely?
Answer: Your phone system can be programmed to answer on a specific line or after a specific number of rings. Once your phone system answers a call, it can be programmed to access your mailbox when a digit is dialed. When we install a phone system, we will often have the system answer after hours and when a person presses the # key it goes to the users voicemail menu.
7) What phone system brands are the best?
Answer: There are many phone systems out there just like there are many cars out there. They will all get you where you need to go for the most part. When looking for a phone system for your business the things to ask are: Will this system grow with my business? Will I have to pay monthly for this system? How many vendors support this system locally? Does this system support mobile workers? Does this system support SIP trunks?
8) What are SIP trunks? What is the benefit of SIP trunks?
Answer: SIP trunking is a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology and streaming media service based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) by which Internet telephony service providers (ITSPs) deliver telephone services and unified communications to customers equipped with SIP-based systems. SIP trunks are typically much cheaper than traditional lines.
9) How can I transfer calls to my cell phone?
Answer: Most systems will allow an external transfer as long as the phone line provider is providing Centrex service. Centrex service is similar to the flash button on your old home phone line – it basically allows 2 voice traffic paths on one line. Another way to transfer to a cell phone that we have setup is to create a phantom phone extension that when dialed internally will ring the person’s cell phone. We can then put an appearance of the phantom extension on the receptionist phone and she can transfer with the push of a button.
10) How do I determine how many phone lines my business needs?
Answer: For most businesses the rule of thumb is %60 incoming lines to people. So if you have 10 employees in-house, you will need approximately 6 lines. This rule is flexible as companies that have a larger call flow like call centers might need 1 line for every employee. We have had clients that do a large catalog business that had 2 lines per person (callers often waited in queue to reach a operator) but that is an exception.