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What are the Best Office Phone Systems for Small Business?

What is the single best telephone system for small businesses in the UK?

In this extensive article, we’ll cover this subject in depth, outlining the pros and cons of each system, plus recommendations for our top choices

The Importance of a Good Office Phone for your Business

COVID-19 has emphasised, more than ever before, the importance of solid communication systems. For those businesses already set up to work remotely the transition was relatively simple; other businesses found themselves with rapid transformation to achieve during an already difficult time.

Good phone systems offer a foundational part of any businesses’ ability to communicate with clients, suppliers and the wider marketplace. For most of us they’re a technology we want to get sorted in our offices quickly and then forget about them. They must be functional, cost effective, and highly efficient.

What Makes the Best Business Telephone System?

In our research we’ve identified the following as being key factors in which systems are the ‘best.’

  • Call Quality – It goes without saying that crystal clear audio with zero crackling is something we need by default.
  • Caller ID – With the amount of phone spam now commonplace, caller ID and a simple way to block unwelcome numbers is a useful addition
  • Aesthetics – If your office is visited by clients, the look of the phone system should add a sense of professionalism and sophistication to your office setting
  • Tactile Quality – How do the buttons feel when your type them? Is it easy to handle and operate by those with less than perfect eyesight
  • Call Forwarding – Can you redirect calls to a mobile if you’re out of the office easily?
  • Price/Cost – Is it cost competitive?
  • Support – How responsive are they if there are technical problems or questions?

How do I setup a Small Business Phone System?

The days of clunky headsets and bulk wires are over. Today’s office telephone systems prioritise ease of use and a fast set up.

Setting up your business phone system works like this.

(a) Choose the Right Phone System for You – as with any business expense, do you reseach and ensure you’re chosen wisely for your needs, making sure to read all the fine print.

(b) Choose a Phone Number – Most providers will offer you a list of numbers so you can ensure the lifeline to your business is easy to remember and type.

(c) Get Connected – Many of the modern VOIP systems intall themselves. In literally a couple of clicks your business phone system is up and running.

(d) Record Your Message – Choose the team member with the most sonorous voice to record your custom greeting for out of office messages

(e) Add Extensions – Using extensions is an easy way to get callers routed through to key office members with a few simple clicks

(f) You’re ready to Receive Phone Calls – It literally can take a matter of minutes to get up and running on your new business phone system. With video conferencing as standard on many of the more advanced systems, the office phone still ranks as the most important tool in any business.

What is the Best Office Phone System?

Our contenders for the hotly sought after crown of best office phone system 2020 are as follows:

  1. 8×8 X Series
  2. RingCentral Office
  3. 4Com HiHi
  4. Berry Technologies Cloud Phone System
  5. BT One Phone
  6. Mitel MiCloud Connect
  7. Lily Cloud

How Much Does an Office Phone System Cost?

While everyone wants a clear figure, these are very difficult to provide. Every business will have different requirements and make different choices.

Firstly, are you choosing an analogue phone, hosted VoIP phone systems, or a self-hosted VoIP phone system?

  • A Private Branch Exchange analogue system, consisting of two phone lines with six handsets costs approximately £160
  • A hosted VOIP system can be installed for approximately £250, on top of which you’ll need handsets costing 50-150 per unit
  • A self hosted VOIP system will cost you approximately £26 – £390/month

What is a PBX System for Small Business?

PBX, standing for Private Branch Exchange, is essentially a private phone network set up for a specific business. They can be used for both internal and external calls, offer free calls between users, and many other benefits not offered by traditional residential phone systems.

These include:

  • routing calls outside working hours
  • customer waiting queues
  • dialling extensions
  • call hold music
  • conference calling

While old fasioned PBX phone systems were run down copper lines, the new ones, known as Internet Protocol (IP) PBXs, simply use broadband connections. There’s never been an easier time to use a PBX phone.

Landline Business Phone Systems

  • BT Business From £18.50
  • Virgin From £27.50 per line
  • XLN From £18.95 per month
  • O2 Business From £11.50
  • Zen Not stated
  • KCOM From £20
  • 4Com Not stated
  • Reach Digital Not stated
  • Lily Comms Not stated
  • Telecoms World From £15.99
  • Voipfone From £1