Office Phones Buying Guide

Introduction

Office phones are designed to create seamless communication between staff or between staff and clients of an organization. They may be corded or cordless.

Types of Office Phones

Private branch exchange (PBX)

PBX is a type of telephone system that has the capability of switching calls between staff on local lines within an organization. At the same time, it gives staff shared access to a certain number of external lines. The most significant benefit of this phone is that it eliminates the need to connect each employee or department to the central office using a separate line. This cuts down on total telephone cost for the company. PBX is ideal for large organizations.

Key

This phone system is controlled at a central point. Central control allows for management of calls and transfers to different departments. Extensions are also used. The phone has buttons, which callers use to select the lines they want to make the calls to or to choose incoming calls. Modern key phone systems allow users to use intercom as well as conferencing features. The key phone system is designed to be used by smaller enterprises. It is cheaper than PBX.

Key-Less

This phone is a simplified version of the Key phone. It is designed to be used by smaller enterprises that have less than ten employees. This phone system has no central control. Every phone can take calls and transfer them. They are easier to manage and can be moved around more easily.

Handheld

These are smartphones that have extra office features. They may be able to create complex documents, scan and receive and send emails. They may be configured to suit the needs of the business. They are very expensive. Therefore, they may only be given to specific employees.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP)

VoIP phones transmit sound over the internet instead of using regular phone lines. The phone used is specialized for this technology and has to be provided by the VoIP, service provider. A traditional phone can be used for VoIP, but it has to be attached to a VoIP adapter. Also, the enterprise will require a good broadband internet connection if this service is to work efficiently.

Analog Line

Analog lines have been in existence for a long time. A copper wire connects the phones in a company to the phone company. Every phone has its individual line. Also, only one call can be made on the line at a time. These days several lines are shared by multiple users to make it less cumbersome. This phone is a cheap option for small enterprises.

Pay attention to the following factors when purchasing an office phone

Ability to work for multiple locations

Most companies have more than one station in addition to a central office. A suitable phone system for a multi-site organization with multiple offices must have sharing features. These features include voicemail and extension. The phone system should be virtual. It should be managed centrally from a website. With such a website, the company could add phone numbers or delete as they wish. Employees can utilize any virtual phone in all the business sites since they have similar extensions and speed dials. If the company does not have many locations, it would not be necessary to acquire a virtual phone system.

Mobility

Office environments today are flexible. Employees frequently have to work away from the office. Wherever the employee is, they must be able to communicate to other employees who are in the office. A good office phone should have mobility tools. For instance, the phone could allow transfer of voicemails to emails. It should enable web-conferencing. Additional features that would aid mobility are video and audio conferencing, online faxing and mobile twinning. Staff should be able to access a company portal from the office phone from wherever point that they are. Mobility ensures that work is not interrupted because the employees are not in the office.

Ease of management

Phone systems can be quite complicated. Complex phone systems make it difficult for staff to communicate. They also shift the employee's focus from the company business to fixing communication problems. The phone a company selects should be easy to manage. Employees should be able to manage their voicemails and make transfers easily. The user should pick incoming calls and make calls without having to call for help. A lot of time and money can be saved when a company selects an easy-to-manage office phone.

Quality of sound

However great an office phone looks, it will be worthless if the quality of sound is compromised. Sound quality can be affected by echoes. Echoes refer to hearing of repeat of voice. Quality may also be affected by choppiness. Choppiness makes both parties hear like the call is breaking up. Also, the sound can be delayed such that one party hears what the other has said after a while. The phone that a company selects must produce good sound quality. Also, the connection should be sound. A poor quality of sound could make a company lose significant business. Employees may even misunderstand what they say to each other, and this could cause losses. Therefore, it is paramount to consider sound quality when selecting an office phone.

Cost

Cost is a significant factor in any purchase. The cost of the phone depends on the type. For instance, VoIP is cheaper than a landline phone. Also, other charges will affect the cost. Apart from the phone itself, the company may have to pay for installation. If the system requires maintenance, the cost goes up further. System support may also play a role in the final cost. A small company with a lean budget would benefit more from phones that require little maintenance and even less system support. A phone that can be managed by employees would also cut down expenses. However, a company should not compromise on features, just to get inexpensive phones. A balance between features and cost would work best for business.

Top brands and product lines

Panasonic KXPRW130W Smartphone Connect Digital Phone with Answering Machine

AT $ T 210M Trimline Corded Phone

Avaya IP500