Posted on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 @ 09:00 AM by Carlos Lahrssen
While many work-from-home business professionals use personal devices, email and social networks to communicate with clients, there are certain benefits that hosted phone systems provide that all businesses should take advantage of, regardless of size.
Even though using a personal device for all business calls can save a young, at-home business money, shifting to a dedicated phone system can help that business make more and operate with greater efficiency. Other methods of communication are fine, but not as effective as VoIP/PBX phone lines for speaking directly with clients and others involved in your business.
How At-Home Businesses Benefit from Cloud-Based Phone Systems
At-home business leaders, just like those with corporate offices, need phone solutions that fulfill three main criteria (these are universal for every industry and business configuration):
- The tools used to communicate have to be great at what they do; this applies to personal devices as well as hard phone lines.
- The devices have to be reliable; they can’t drop calls, call quality has to be perfect and low latency is a must.
- Often above all else, the systems used have to be affordable; this is particularly true for at-home business, which may not have the capital or need for enterprise phone systems.
Managing work and personal calls, contacts and records on one device is impractical; to counter this, many at-home professionals purchase a second phone and set up another phone line solely for work. This can be more of a hassle than it’s worth, however, and the costs of configuring a second line are rarely worthwhile. VoIP phone systems, which operate entirely over the Internet, provide the perfect solution for cases such as this. With a reliable Internet connection, you can manage your at-home company’s communication without setting up separate phone lines, or cluttering up your personal devices’ space.
Personal smartphones aren’t exactly going to break the bank for an at-home business owner, and they’re pretty reliable. However, it’s when second phone lines, added up-front cost and monthly fees that come with extending service come into play that many look for alternatives.
So, I Need Some Kind of Phone System. What Kind?
There are a couple of phone system options at-home business owners should consider, each with their own pros and cons. For example, your business could buy a conventional phone system, referred to in the industry as a POTS, or Plain Old Telephone Service. These systems are great for calling customers and are very inexpensive; but they’re also very limited. Opting for a POTS is actually a step backward from using a smartphone or other personal device for business purposes.
For at-home professionals in search of more than just a phone system, but rather a complete communications solution (one that unifies their interactions with clients over phone, email and other mediums), hosted VoIP (Voice-Over IP) is the way to go. Hosted VoIP phone systems run entirely on the cloud, eliminating the need for extra phone lines and reliability issues that plague POTS. The most valuable component of VoIP phone systems are the administrative portals that come with them. Portal tools allow users to track, route and record calls automatically, as well as create customized call reports. These functions and the VoIP systems themselves benefit not only communication with clients, but also at-home businesses as organizations.
If you already have a POTS and hard phone in your home, hybrid PBX solutions may be right in your situation. These configurations blend old-school technology with basic Internet functionality, and generally cost less to install and maintain than VoIP; however, their functions are limited when compared to complete VoIP.
Making the Right Choice for Your Business
The right phone system for an at-home business depends on what kinds of features that business needs and how they plan to grow the business over time. Those that keep using personal devices for business calls shoot themselves in the foot in terms of effective client communication. There are better and affordable alternatives out there that all at-home businesses should implement; alternatives that can improve the way businesses operate while maximizing value.
Cloud phone solutions, whether they’re complete or hybrid, unite business communication under one convenient hood. VoIP administrator software collects calls from Web-enabled hard phones and softphones alike, which gives the at-home professional a number of options - ultimately, the chance to implement the right fit phone system for their business.