How To Choose The Right Business Phone System

Are you looking for a list of the best business phone systems? Read on below to have a comprehensive guide in choosing one that fits your business.
Picture of Faye Chong
Faye Chong

Content Marketing Lead

Reading time: 6 minutes

Knowing the immense benefits of a business phone system, are you looking for the best phone system for your organization? Are you overwhelmed with all the information that you need to know to ensure that you are making the right choice? 

Choosing the right business phone system is a critical decision for any organization. There are many factors to consider such as cost, features, scalability, and compatibility. If you’re looking for one and don’t know where to start, you’re in the right place!

This blog post will provide tips for choosing the right business phone system for your needs. Let’s dive right in!


1. Define your needs

The first step in choosing the right business phone system is to define your business needs. Every business or organization has a specific set of requirements to have an efficient operation and meet business goals. 

In order to determine those needs, here are some factors that you need to consider:

What features are you looking for?

Nowadays, business phone systems offer varying features, depending on the type of business phone system you eventually use. Basically, there are three main types of business phone systems currently available commercially in the market. Each of them has the basic features needed as well as added features specific to its type. The three are:

PSTN or Landline

The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), or what we usually refer to as landlines, is the analog phone system that has been around for decades. 

Considered an ancestor of telephony, this business phone system will require you to have an on-site Private Branch Exchange (PBX) hardware that provides your business with different extension numbers and basic features such as call forwarding, call transferring, and call redirection.

Landlines are tested through time, reliable, do not need the Internet, and easy-to-use. However, its technology is quite limited compared to other types which can offer more advanced features and functions.

Virtual phone

This type provides a virtual number for your business, and it connects callers to your remote staff on their mobile or fixed devices. 

In essence, it is a call forwarding function, so your different employees can receive the calls with just a main phone number. Its features may include automated answering service, voice mails, call forwarding and screening, toll-free main phone number, etc.

Virtual phones are a great setup if you want a professional and centralized contact number to reach your remote employees. However, virtual phones still make use of mobile or landline telephones to process calls, so you will still rely on the regular telephone system and can still get regular charges with its services.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

The VoIP phone system is the latest technology to be introduced. While it runs on the Internet, it has all the features that landlines and virtual phones can offer. 

There are two subtypes of VoIP phone systems: the on-premise solutions, which require all equipment needed to be housed in your physical location, thereby giving you control of your network; and the cloud-based VoIP system, which utilizes the cloud, thus no onsite hardware equipment are needed. In addition, with cloud-based systems, users need only rely on their provider for the system’s operation and maintenance.

The types discussed above have features suitable to specific business needs and depend on what the providers offer. It is highly suggested that you thoroughly review which features are crucial for your business operations, as well as check the added features that could bring further value to your business.

How many users will be using the system?

The number of users using the business phone system is also an essential factor. Some of the business phone system providers have pricing based on the number of users. 

Consequently, there are business phone systems built for large enterprises with many users, while some cater to SMEs with a smaller team. Thus, in choosing business phone systems, you need to ensure that it fits your employee size. This is a great deal when you are already considering your budget.

What is your budget?

Budget is one of the most important considerations in any business software purchase for your business. 

While it is ideal that you heavily invest in such, it is also a good idea to set a baseline budget according to what you can afford. This includes taking into account the ROI if you use the software for a specific period of time. 

Once you define your budget, then you can scout for the list of best business phone systems within your budget range.

2. Compare features and prices

Once you have a list of potential systems, it’s time to start comparing features and prices. What features are included in each system? How much does each system cost? Make sure to compare apples to apples when you are looking at different systems.

Most business phone systems providers offer pricing plans depending on your business structure. One good way to compare them is to make a table of each system’s plans cross-checked with all your requirements. This will give you a high-level overview of which of these systems can deliver the functions that are needed for your business.

Check out our tier list of business phone system features that are must-haves, and those that are good-to-haves. 

Novocall’s tier list of VoIP software features.

Be careful though, and double-check for any additional costs. Some of the features you need may not be included in the basic plans and require additional fees. In this case, always double-check the overall total cost which includes these extra fees.

3. Consider compatibility

Another important factor to consider is compatibility. Will the system you choose work with your existing phone lines and equipment? Will it work with your existing network setup? 

Some of the providers in the list of best phone systems may require you to upgrade your network infrastructure in order to support their application. This is an extra factor, considering the added costs it may entail in your selection. It will be best if your current infrastructure is 100% compatible with the business phone system, but this is an ideal scenario. Such upgrades or replacements are unavoidable so make sure to be prepared for them.

If you do not have the means or personnel to make the compatibility assessment, you can also check with the business phone system provider if they have such a service.

4. Ask for recommendations

If you are still not sure which in the list of best business phone systems to choose, ask for recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues. Someone you know may have recently purchased a system and can give you first-hand insights.

If you have a network within the business industry similar to yours, it can also be a good idea to know which business phone systems these companies use.

For example, if you run a call center, it might be worth knowing which systems other call centers use. Their experiences, including issues encountered, could be worth considering.

5. Do your research

Finally, make sure to do your research before making a purchase. The fact that you’re reading this article already shows that you’re doing some work on your part.

Read online reviews, compare prices, and ask plenty of questions. Once you’ve found the right system for your needs, you can be confident in your decision.

There are many lists of business phone systems found online, so it’s best that you give time to read about them to help you in your decision-making. This is because there might be other factors that you have not considered or forgot to consider, but turned out to be crucial in your selection.

Doing your research may also answer some gray areas or questions you may have.

6. Avail demos and trial periods, if available

Demos and trial periods are a great avenue to assess the best business phone systems. Once you have shortlisted your selection, it’s best to schedule demos with your provider or trial periods, if available.

The demos and trial periods will allow you to review not only the functional parts of the system, but also test its user interface and user experience. Furthermore, this is a good chance to experience any issues that may arise during this period.

During this time, it may also be a good idea to learn about their routine upgrades and downtimes, and how long these are going to take. This is especially important so you will be able to plan accordingly and have minimal to no business disruption.

And last but not least, this is the best time to know how their after-sales support and customer success work. This is often overlooked but considered crucial. After all, your purchase of the business phone system is not just a one-time thing, it is a continuous partnership between you and your provider. 

Therefore, a good relationship should be established beforehand. And good customer service should always be one of your top requirements.

The best business phone systems are within your reach

Thanks to technology, the best business phone systems are just within your reach. All of them are commercially available on the market, and getting in touch with them is now easier compared to before. 

When you get overwhelmed with selecting one that is a good fit for your business, you can always go back to this guide to help you make a decision.

Book a demo with Novocall today to see how we can help you scale your business communication!

Picture of Faye Chong
Faye Chong

Faye is a content marketing lead at Novocall. When she’s not busy writing articles for Novocall’s blog, she spends her time baking and playing with her dogs.

Subscribe to our blog

Get insights & actionable advice read by thousands of professionals every week.

Start driving better conversations.
Novocall will be your new favorite business phone system.