Technology is a crucial element to the success of any business today. There are affordable devices available to cover almost any activity you could name, from sharing data to conducting meetings, and even launching an IPO for your company. You’ll find all sorts of options for your company’s phone service, including a virtual phone system, a voice over internet protocol option or a traditional phone line buffered by a digital signal. Each offers similar options, but they deliver them in vastly different ways. It’s an important decision, because once you go down a particular road it will be quite a complicated task to switch over to a new system. And the more employees you have, the harder it will be. Here are five things to consider when setting up a phone system for your business.

First of all, how mobile a service do you require? With a traditional phone system, you’ll be locked into the office. You’ll have physical phones plugged into the walls, and when you move an employee to a different work station you’ll need someone from the IT department or the phone company to come down and move the hardware. The physical phones come with a huge set of options, but this is a real limitation. With virtual phones or VoIP, you can move numbers around with ease, and since calling can happen right off of the computer desktop, you can relocate employees around the office or even outside of the office without missing a beat.

You’ll also need to think hard about how many employees need phone access. If you have a large office, virtual systems make a lot of sense. Those physical phones are incredibly expensive, especially if you need to have a large amount of lines or a switchboard. Virtual phone systems can be broken up into various message boxes with ease, and new numbers can always be added. You won’t need any additional hardware either, which will save you a ton of money in the long run.

Do you receive a high volume of calls? Any type of phone system can handle a lot of activity, but most traditional phone services are still broken down into various zones and rates. The majority of digital services offer unlimited minutes, and all you have to think about is the cost of the monthly package. But the traditional phone service will usually give you more extensions, and the ability to put several calls on hold while a department services other customers. Virtual lines are fairly limited, so you’ll need to seriously increase your plan to accommodate a high volume.

You should also consider how much travel you or your employees undertake before setting up your system. One of the best aspects of a virtual system is that your phone number comes with you. You can send and receive calls with that local area code from anywhere in the world, and your customers won’t notice any sort of difference. You’ll be able to manage the process without concern, and there won’t be any international calling charges. A traditional phone system stays in the office, so calling when you’re on the road will have to be handled with your smartphone.

Finally, will you be giving out different numbers for different purposes? Most small businesses operate easily with a single phone number. But if you have a VIP program, you might need specific lines dedicated to these services. For example, a medical facility may create a premier patient line that a family can use to raise their doctor when a loved one is in surgery. With digital phone services you can set up multiple lines, and give each one its own ringtone. You’ll have to check in with your traditional phone provider to see if they offer the same sort of service.

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