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December 07, 2018

Choosing a Phone Service for Your Small Business: Factors to Consider

business phone

Small companies have an increasing number of options when it comes to choosing a business phone service. Sorting out the features, making sense of unfamiliar terminology, and understanding the pros and cons of each setup can be overwhelming. Here are some guidelines for choosing the right office phone system for your company.

Do you need a separate business line?

You might wonder if you can get by with just your mobile phone. If you’re running your business solo, that might work, initially. But consider the image you’ll present to clients, prospects, and vendors, bouncing between personal and work calls on the same line. Will you answer all calls with a business greeting? What name will show up when you make outbound calls?

If you choose a business phone line designed and scaled specifically for your company, you can keep the mobility that your mobile phone allows while projecting a more professional image. With Comcast Business Voice Mobility, you can answer office calls at the office, or forward them to your business cell phone or personal mobile phone. You can make outbound calls displaying your business ID and office number from a mobile phone. You can even set up an automated greeting and phone tree to route calls and give callers important information like your hours and address.

Should you choose a landline or VoIP for your small business phone system?

VoIP stands for voice over Internet protocol. While traditional landline phones operate using copper wires, VoIP relays voice data in digital form over the Internet. An advantage of landline office phone systems is that they won’t go down if the Internet or power goes out. Landlines might also be the best choice in areas that lack sufficiently high Internet speeds to support a phone service.

However, the advantages of an Internet phone service are many. VoIP offers small companies flexibility and the sophisticated features that once were available only to larger companies. The newer technology of VoIP eliminates the need for costly onsite equipment required for a private branch exchange (PBX), with features like automated greetings, call transfers, group ringing, and call forwarding.

Small business phone-service providers like Comcast Business offer a cloud-based phone system, delivering high-quality service for a monthly charge, eliminating high upfront infrastructure costs and ongoing maintenance responsibilities. When your company grows and needs to add business phone lines, you can simply upgrade the service agreement instead of adding new hardware onsite.

VoIP business phone systems are also well-suited for today’s small businesses, which increasingly rely on remote workers collaborating via messaging platforms, video conferencing, and email. No matter where workers are located, a VoIP system can make them all feel connected. VoIP phone service can integrate with a business’s customer-relationship management software. And as technology continues to improve, small businesses have access to more useful features from VoIP phone systems. For example, Comcast Business VoiceEdge Select offers a Web portal and a mobile application that allows business owners and employees to access their phone service and manage its features from any location.

Which business phone features do you need?

When it comes to features in an Internet-based, multi-line phone system, your needs will probably change as your business grows. With Internet phone service, you can easily adjust. Options include:

  • Automated attendant: A virtual receptionist that you control, this feature allows you to program a message on your main number to share your hours, location, holiday schedules, after-hours information, and more. You can also set up call routing options that enable callers to choose the appropriate department.
  • Voicemail: This feature can include speech-to-text transcriptions and email notifications of new voicemails.
  • Customized caller ID: Choose to display the primary business phone number from secondary phone lines when making outbound calls.
  • Call forwarding: Forward all office calls to another phone when you are out of the office. Or, choose to forward only certain calls.
  • Hunt groups: Direct calls to a designated group of employees. The phone system will search for the next available line within the group so that an incoming call does not go unanswered.
  • Shared call appearance: Before transferring a call within your business, see who is available and who is already on the phone. Or, if a coworker’s phone is ringing and you see that the coworker is unavailable, you can answer the call.
  • Mobile control: The Comcast Business app is like a control center for small businesses to manage their office phone systems. Through the app, you can route company calls to mobile or other phones, access multiple directories and logs of recent calls, hear business voicemail on a mobile device, change business voicemail greetings, and even forward business voicemail as email attachments.

Your phone service can be the lifeline of your business. Make sure it has the features your business needs to thrive, whether you’re in the office, at home, or on the road. See how Comcast Business can help.