Business Phone Services Review

What is a Business Phone Service?

When you’re running a business, it’s important to maintain a professional image. This includes having your own business phone number, which allows you and your employees to make calls from an official line. A business phone service provides companies with reliable phone lines, with most services claiming 99.9% uptime. You can count on these networks to keep communications running smoothly between you, your employees and your customers. Many of these services have mobile apps, letting you and your employees make and receive important business calls on the road, in the office or in a remote location.

Why Would You Need a Business Phone Service?

Having a phone dedicated to your business is helpful for customers to call in to ask questions or place orders, or for you to communicate efficiently across departments with the employees in your business. But what are the benefits of business phone solutions as opposed to regular mobile or other phone services?

Business phone services come in handy because of their extra features designed specifically for businesses. While you could use your current cell phone provider to buy a new business number – and some cell providers, like Verizon, offer business phone services – unless you have a business solution, you will likely lack many key features that these solutions offer, including these:

  • Phone extensions for different employees and departments
  • Call holding and forwarding
  • Hold music
  • Business mobile apps that include messaging, fax and other helpful business features

Different business phone providers offer various features that you can’t find with a regular personal line. Business phone services are also more reliable than regular landlines and come with more features that can be useful for your company.

What Business Phone Service Is Best for You?

The type of business phone you should choose depends on the size of your business and its needs. Below, we point out what solutions in this category cater to different business sizes so that you can choose one that fits your type of business. Though all of these services can help companies of many different sizes, we’ve highlighted ones that have special capabilities for the sizes below.

One-Person Business

Small Business

Midsize Business

Enterprise

Types of Business Phone Services

Every business is different, so one solution won’t necessarily work for every company. That’s why there are different types of business phone solutions available. Landlines are nearly obsolete, but VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems – phone lines that work via the internet – are prevalent, and most companies have different packages available depending on your business needs. The companies that we recommend here all offer phone equipment and phone services, so you only need to look in one place for your business phone needs.

VoIP

The most popular VoIP services are cloud-based. This means that they run completely online and include an online portal to help you manage your account. On-premises systems are also available. These systems require more setup, and it is usually helpful to have an IT team on board to help you, since they can troubleshoot problems that you run into in conjunction with the support teams of the service you choose.

One of the major advantages of VoIP services is mobility. With VoIP, you can receive calls anywhere. If you have employees who work remotely, they can still make and receive calls from your business numbers. This is also helpful if you travel frequently and need to take calls on the road, or if you have multiple office locations.

Choosing a VoIP service means that if either your phone system or your internet goes down, you’ll still be able to connect with your customers. If you do miss a call for any reason, you can still receive a message; nearly all of the services we recommend for this category have voicemail options. Many also offer auto attendants, hold music, individual extensions and more helpful features. Be sure you choose a service with all the features you need. You can read our articles on the individual services to find out more about each one.

Full-Service Solutions

Technology has advanced beyond just communicating over the phone. That’s why many services, such as ShoreTel, have full-service communication solutions. Full-service options give you many ways to communicate with employees and your customers, including video conferencing and instant messaging. You can find all of these tools in one program, which makes it easy to manage your business communications.

Call Center Services

If you’re a large business, you may want to invest in a call center or answering service. A call center has agents on hand to take inbound calls and make outbound calls to reach your customers, process orders, set appointments and more. Answering services have a live agent ready to answer your calls 24/7 to take messages or answer questions. Some of the services we recommend here, like ShoreTel, offer call center services. For more options, read our call center services review, or look over our answering services review

What Does a Business Phone Service Cost?

Phone service companies structure their pricing in different ways. Some services charge based on the number of phone lines you need. Others base their costs on the type of features you want, the number of minutes you expect to need each month, or the number of employees you have. For some, unlimited nationwide calling is included; other companies charge extra for this service. Be sure to find a phone service that has all of the features you need; more in-depth information can be found in our individual articles and on the companies’ websites.

Implementing a Business Phone System

The setup time for your phone service depends on the type of system you purchase. Cloud-based systems take little to no setup at all, as everything is accessible online. However, if you order phone equipment, such as IP phones, you will have to wait for it to ship, and then install it so it can connect to your system. On-premises systems take longer to set up than cloud-based systems and may require a technician from your phone company coming to your business location to install the phone system for you.

All of the services we’ve listed here have support teams to help you as you become used to your new system. Some also have training programs to make the onboarding process smoother.

Choosing the Best Business Phone Service for You

The business phone service that’s best for you ultimately depends on the size of your business, how many phone lines you need, what features you require and the call volume you expect to use each month. The different phone services we’ve outlined here can help businesses of all sizes. Read our articles to find out more about the individual phone service companies we recommend.