Looking for the best business phone service provider is not at the top of a small company’s priority list but perhaps it should be. After all, even in the age of modern technology, the humble phone remains as a crucial business device. If you are starting up a new business, choosing the right business phone service provider now could prevent you from having to scramble around and find a suitable company if your business expands. Choose a cheap and cheerful solution now and you’ll find that your business could quickly outgrow it. Poor customer service via telephone is certain to cost you sales.

Choosing the right Equipment
There are a huge number of systems available so it is necessary to create an equipment and vendor shortlist to give yourself a fighting chance of making the right decision. It is important to look at future expansion when making a choice: For example, if you believe your business will expand to 40+ employees in a relatively short period of time, a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system should be chosen. This is a private phone network used within a large company as employees share numerous outside lines when making external calls.

Other options to consider include telecoms systems with extras such as speakerphone, caller ID (recommended) and facilities for conferencing. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is another essential consideration if your company is likely to make a large number of international calls as this system will greatly reduce your phone bill. VOIP is also useful if your workforce spends much of its time away from the office.

More on VOIP
On the surface, VOIP looks like the ideal fit and an essential element of any business phone service. If calls are routed over the Internet, it costs you nothing besides the existing broadband and mobile plan charges. VOIP is also excellent for conference calls and international use. The trouble with VOIP is that the quality of the calls may not always be the best depending on the quality of your broadband signal. Training and set-up can actually be rather expensive and if your Internet signal goes down during the call, you will be cut off. Finally, you will only benefit from free calls if the people you are calling utilize the same VOIP service provider.

Analyzing Your Needs
There are three important questions you need to ask when choosing a business phone service provider:
1.    Is your existing call volume likely to change dramatically?
2.    What are the new features you wish to add to your current set-up?
3.    Is your Internet connection reliable enough to use VOIP regularly?

Most small businesses begin with a Key System Unit (KSU) system whereas larger companies need PBX. Getting in a full KSU or PBX system is likely to cost close to $2,000 depending on your provider but this will be money well spent as you prepare for the future. As always, get several quotes from vendors before making a final choice on a business phone service provider and always make sure that these quotations include the same features in order to get an accurate picture of the true cost.