A Guide to Choosing a Business Telephone System

A business telephone system is a crucial element to the successful operation of your business. Helping your staff keep in touch with customers, colleagues, suppliers and agents, it’s central to everything you do.


A well-designed telephone system can really help improve the day-to-day running of your business. Automatically managing your calls and routing them through to the correct destination not only saves time but ensures your customers aren’t subjected to frustrating delays and confusion.

When deciding on the configuration for your new business telephone system and choosing which features to install, it’s essential to consider all elements of your business. Here is a list of the key questions that you should ask yourself to help you assess your requirements…

1.  How many employees need a telephone and/or internet connection on their desk?

With companies today using web-based systems, it’s likely that the majority of staff will need both a telephone and an internet connection on their desks. However, depending on the nature of your business, there may be some team members who don’t need a connection on their desks but may need occasional access via shared facilities. Consider how many connections you need in total across your business taking into account all departments and locations.

2.  How many external lines are needed for phones?

Think about the number of external lines you may want to install and what type of lines you may need.  Do you want to operate a different line for each department and have dedicated telephone numbers that customers or suppliers can call? Do you need analogue, digital or ISDN lines or a combination of them all to suit different areas of your business.

3.  Will you have a central receptionist who will field all incoming calls or do you want staff to have DDI numbers?

After considering the number of lines and the number of extensions you need, start to think about how you want your company to manage telephone calls. Do you want to route all calls through a central switchboard operator or do you want individuals to have individual DDI (Direct Dial-In) numbers that allow callers to contact them directly? Your requirement may vary across departments, for example, support departments such as accounts and marketing may require DDI lines but customer services teams may not.

4.  What telephone features do you want take advantage of to help streamline your business operations and assist staff with their day to day activities?

There are a wide range of business telephone features available today that help improve the day to day running of your business. Here is a list of the most popular ones…

Voicemail: Ensure your staff members never miss a call by providing them with voicemail. Individual voicemail boxes allow callers to leave messages which can be collected remotely as well as from inside the office.

Auto-attendant: A particularly useful tool for customer services departments, an auto-attendant system provides callers with pre-defined options to select from to be automatically transferred to their required department, eg, press 1 for accounts, 2 for sales, 3 to speak to an operator.

Call forwarding: This facility enables calls to be diverted to another extension number if the required party isn’t available. This is useful if a staff member is away on holiday or out of the office on business.

Call recording: Call recording is a particularly useful tool for customer services departments. Recording conversations between customers and staff, it helps with training and can be a valuable back-up in the event of a dispute.

Music on hold: Another useful tool for customer services departments and ideal for running alongside an auto-attendant facility, a music-on-hold system provides callers with continuous sound and reassuring messages whilst they are waiting for their call to be answered.

5.  What growth do you expect in staff numbers and telecoms usage over (say) the next three years?

Another key consideration when planning your business telephone system is your company’s expected growth for the foreseeable future. Making provision for increased numbers of staff or an increase in overall telecoms usage will help to prevent the need for major, costly system updates in the near future. Try to look at least 3 years into the future and consider how your business plans may affect your communication system requirements.

6.  What level of staff training is needed so that routine changes to telecoms equipment can be done quickly in-house?

When planning your new business telephone system, it’s also essential to consider ongoing administration and maintenance. As your company develops and your staff members change, there will be routine tasks that need undertaking to keep your telephone system functioning effectively. These daily tasks are things that can be done in-house but your telecoms team will undoubtedly need some level of training to be able to manage your new system confidently.

7.  If you don’t have an in-house telecommunications manager, what support do you need in the event of technical issues and regular maintenance requirements?

Once your brand new telephone system has been designed and installed, it’s essential to make sure it keeps working effectively. In the event of a programming query or an equipment breakdown, a maintenance contract from a professional business telephone system provider will give you the reassurance and backup you need. Whether you require remote assistance over the telephone or an engineer to visit your site, a telephone support contract will take care of all your maintenance needs.

In Summary:

A professionally designed and installed business telephone system can be a fantastic addition to your company, but selecting the ideal set-up for your needs can sometimes be confusing. If you would like help and advice from a leading business telephone system provider with over 25 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry, Direct Voice and Data can help.

For a free, no obligation consultation, call 0800 84 999 84 or visit our Website.