What Type of Call Plan Should Businesses Get?

Reliable communication can make or break your business. An efficient phone system is the backbone that connects you with customers, fosters team collaboration, and often defines your business reputation. Poor communication can lead to frustrated clients, missed opportunities, and lost revenue. On the other hand, modern phone systems empower businesses of all sizes to provide seamless customer experiences. But how does a business phone system work? This comprehensive guide will break down how modern business phone systems work, focusing on technologies like VoIP and the benefits they bring to the Australian market.

From Traditional Systems To VoIP Systems

While traditional phone systems relied on physical phone lines (PSTN), limiting flexibility and scalability, advancements in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) have revolutionised business communication. VoIP uses your existing internet connection to make and receive calls. This connection offers several advantages, including cost savings, advanced features like video conferencing and CRM integration, and seamless connectivity for remote workers.

Hardware and software work in tandem to create an effective business phone system that is dependable whether your employees are on-site or remote. 

Hardware System

IP Phones

These specialised phones connect to your internet network rather than traditional phone lines. IP phones offer features like crisp audio quality, high-definition video for conferencing, speakerphone options, and streamlined access to voicemail and call forwarding.

Headsets

Headsets are essential for hands-free calling, especially in busy call centres or customer support environments. Look for high-quality headsets with noise-cancelling features for optimal clarity.

PBX System (Private Branch Exchange)

The PBX is the heart of your phone system, managing all incoming and outgoing calls. Traditional PBX systems rely on hardware that your business premises installed. Today, modern cloud-based PBX solutions offer increased flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.

Software System

Call Routing

This feature directs incoming calls to the appropriate person or department based on pre-configured rules. For instance, your sales team can handle sales enquiries, and your help desk can manage support calls.

Voicemail Transcription

This feature converts voicemail messages into text, allowing you to read and prioritise messages, even when you're unable to listen to audio recordings.

Auto Attendants

Often the first point of contact for callers, auto attendants provide a professional greeting and offer menu options to direct callers to the right department or person.

Analytics and Reporting

Advanced phone systems provide detailed analytics on call volume, call duration, wait times, and other key metrics. These insights help you identify trends, optimise staffing levels, and improve overall customer service.

Putting It All Together

Imagine a customer phones into your business for a service. An auto attendant greets them with a menu of options, which establishes the reason for their call. The customer selects an option, and the cloud-based PBX system routes their call to the appropriate department. The call rings on an employee's IP phone, and they utilise their noise-cancelling headset to provide excellent customer service.

If you miss a call, voicemail transcription makes sure you can access the message for follow-up. Meanwhile, call analytics give you the data to ensure your phone system is operating at peak efficiency.

What Does VoIP And Cloud Technology Do?

Combining VoIP with cloud technology offers flexibility and scalability. Cloud-based solutions eliminate the need for on-premises hardware, reducing costs and simplifying maintenance. Australian businesses can benefit from the scalability of cloud-based phone systems, allowing easy user management as needs change. 

Cloud phone systems integrate with tools like CRM platforms and collaboration software, streamlining workflows and enhancing customer relationship management. With cloud technology, businesses can enjoy enhanced communication capabilities and optimised operations.

The Benefits For Australian Businesses

VoIP solutions offer lower costs compared to traditional phone systems, particularly for long-distance and international calls. Cloud-based phone systems reduce upfront investment and ongoing maintenance expenses. 

Features like video conferencing, instant messaging, and screen sharing facilitate collaboration, with external partners, regardless of location. Call routing, auto attendants, and voicemail transcription ensure important client calls are noticed and provide a professional customer experience. 

VoIP empowers employees to work from anywhere with an internet connection, increasing flexibility and attracting top talent. Cloud-based solutions offer built-in redundancy and disaster recovery capabilities, safeguarding communications infrastructure even in unexpected circumstances. 

With VoIP and cloud technology, businesses can enjoy cost savings, improved collaboration, enhanced customer service, and better flexibility.

Choosing the Right Call Plan for Businesses

Selecting the right business phone system, including the ideal call plan, impacts both your costs and your ability to serve customers. Consider the following factors before making your choice:

Call Plan Options

VoIP providers offer various call plan structures to suit different business needs. Here's a breakdown of common options:

  • Unlimited plans offer unlimited domestic calls for a flat monthly fee, often including a set amount of international minutes. This plan type provides predictable costs.
  • Per-Minute Plans base their charges on your call usage (minutes used). These plans are advantageous for businesses with very low call volumes.
  • Bundled plans offer a balance between the two. You receive a specific number of included minutes, and the service charges any calls beyond that limit at a per-minute rate.

Analyse your typical call volume, the frequency of international calls, and how important cost predictability is to your business.

Size and Scalability

Assess your company's current size and growth plans. Choose a system and call plan structure that can add users and features. Cloud-based systems are ideal for growing businesses, as they allow you to scale up or down quickly in response to changes in staffing levels or seasonal needs.

Features

Prioritise the functionality you need to streamline operations. Consider basic features like call forwarding and voicemail, or advanced tools like auto attendants, video conferencing, or CRM integration. Your choice of features might influence the ideal call plan, as some providers bundle additional minutes with more advanced packages.

Budget

Factor in both the initial setup costs and ongoing fees for your chosen call plan. Be aware of any potential add-on costs for advanced features or for exceeding the bundled minute allocation..

Security

Choose a provider that uses robust encryption and adheres to industry standards. Look for security certifications relevant to your industry.

Reliability and Support

Even the best phone system can experience issues. Look for providers with proven uptime guarantees and responsive support. Opt for providers that offer 24/7 support and multiple channels for contact, so you can get help when needed.

Additional Considerations

Be aware that some providers factor your peak calling periods into their pricing. Analyse your current phone usage patterns to predict your busiest hours. If your business makes frequent international calls, ask about specialised international calling plans or add-on packages that may offer better rates.

Many providers include "softphone" apps with their calling plans. These apps turn smartphones and computers into additional extensions, enhancing employee flexibility and accessibility.

Industries like healthcare or legal services might have specific compliance requirements related to call recording or data storage. Look for providers with experience in your industry to ensure your system adheres to regulations.

Setting Up Your Business Phone System

Once you've selected the right system, the next step is a smooth implementation. Here's an overview of the typical setup process:

  1. Hardware Installation

If you've chosen a system with on-site hardware components, your provider will likely handle the installation and configuration of your PBX and other equipment. For cloud-based solutions, physical setup is minimal and involves deploying IP phones and headsets.

  1. Network Configuration

Your IT team or provider will optimise your network for VoIP traffic. This might involve adjusting firewall settings or prioritising voice data to guarantee reliable call quality.

  1. Number Porting

If you want to keep your existing phone numbers, your provider will coordinate the porting process with your current carrier.

  1. Feature Configuration

This is where you'll work with your provider to set up call routing rules, auto-attendant menus, voicemail systems, and any integrations with other software.

  1. User Training

Ensure your staff knows how to use the new system's features. Providers often offer training resources or can conduct training sessions to maximise adoption and user proficiency.

Tips for a Smooth Transition

Start the setup process well in advance of going live to allow ample time for testing and troubleshooting. Keep your team informed about the upcoming change and provide clear instructions on how to use the new system. Conduct test calls to verify call quality, ensure proper functionality of features, and test any integrations.

Let Essential Tech Elevate Your Communications

Essential Tech is an Australian-owned and operated company with extensive experience in business communication solutions. We offer:

  • Streamlined and budget-friendly VoIP solutions that are ideal for  businesses.
  • Scalable phone systems with advanced features and a 100% uptime guarantee.

Moreover, we know that technology is an interconnected ecosystem. That's why we offer a full suite of IT support services to complement your phone solution. This includes:

Managed IT Support

Our team of IT experts can handle everything from network configuration and proactive maintenance to cybersecurity solutions, safeguarding your entire technology infrastructure.

Cloud Solutions

Streamline your operations and achieve greater agility by moving to our secure and scalable cloud services.

Remote Work Case Study from Essential Tech

Calibre Real Estate, a growing real estate agency, faced challenges with unpredictable IT costs and a lack of a proactive IT plan. They turned to Essential Tech for a solution that included a cloud-based VoIP phone system. This new system empowered their agents to work from remote locations, enhancing the agency's ability to serve clients while reducing their reliance on physical office space. Additionally, their new managed IT plan from Essential Tech provides predictable costs.

Cloud-based solutions offer built-in redundancy and disaster recovery capabilities, safeguarding your communications infrastructure even in unexpected circumstances. This is useful for Australian businesses in regions prone to natural disasters. Imagine if a bushfire forces the evacuation of your office. With a cloud-based phone system, employees can pick up their laptops, work from home or in a safe location, and continue taking customer calls without disruption.

Upgrade Your Communications, Boost Your Business

How does a business phone system work? It improves the customer experience of your business and streamlines operations. With technologies like VoIP and cloud-based solutions, the possibilities are endless. You need to choose a partner that understands your business. 

With our Australian expertise, personalised solutions, and focus on customer satisfaction, Essential Tech is the ideal choice. Let's talk about how we can elevate your business communications.

Frequently Asked Questions About Business Phone Systems

  1. Can I keep my existing phone number when switching to VoIP?

In most cases, you can port your existing business phone numbers to a VoIP system. Your provider will coordinate this process with your current carrier to ensure a smooth transition.

  1. What kind of internet speed do I need for a VoIP phone system?

Reliable VoIP calls require sufficient bandwidth, but the exact speed needed depends on the number of simultaneous calls you expect. Your provider can assess your usage patterns and recommend the ideal internet speed for optimal call quality.

  1. Can VoIP phone systems integrate with my other business software?

Many VoIP systems are designed for seamless integration with popular business tools, particularly CRM platforms. This accesses customer information during calls, automates call logging, and streamlines workflows for the entire team. Be sure to ask potential providers about their integration capabilities.

Got any Questions?

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