The Basics

Choosing your phone system is likely to be one of the most critical decisions you make for your organisation. First impressions count, and how you handle callers will often determine their attitude to you. If your phone system won’t let you manage the incoming calls correctly, you’ll start losing business.

The good news is that there are very few lemons on offer in this business. The bad news is that you’ll have to invest some time and effort in understanding your present needs, anticipating your future requirements, selecting the right supplier and making sure that everyone on your staff knows how to get the most out of the system you have chosen.

Digital versus analogue

Digital phones convert your voice into a series of numbers which are then transmitted over a network – either a telephone network or a computer network. This provides for slightly improved sound quality. However, the difference isn’t great and in any case, most connections to the outside world will still go via old-style analogue-technology links. So no matter how crisp and crackle-free your voice is when the call leaves your office, it’s unlikely to be so pristine when it arrives.

Much more important is the amount of control a digital phone system can give you. Essentially, a digital telephone system can transmit function and command information independently of any conversation you are having. This may let you juggle many callers on hold, for instance, or it can tell you which extensions are currently busy. This makes telephone systems easier to use, and it should enable you to handle your phone calls more efficiently.

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