Business Telecom Buyer

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Phone Systems - For Mid-Sized Businesses
(10 - 40 employees)

  • Primary needs: Accommodating growth, big-business features. Companies with 10 to 40 employees are often growing quickly, so make sure the systems you investigate are capable of growing with you. You'll also want many of the common business telephone features, such as voicemail, auto-attendant, music on hold, and paging.
  • Best bets: key or hybrid key/PBX systems. If you're business is likely to stay at a fairly constant size, a key system is the most cost-effective choice. However, for growing businesses, hybrid key/PBX systems are expandable and provide all the features you'd need.
  • Plan for the future. Think through your long term plans: if you plan to open multiple offices, grow to 50 or 100 employees, or expand your telephone activities, make sure the phone system you buy is scalable and capable of meeting your needs for years to come.
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My business:

Do you have multiple locations, in the US or internationally?
  • Small businesses with multiple locations should consider a VoIP phone system, instead of a traditional set up. VoIP (Voice over IP) lets you use data networks instead of regular phone lines to connect your calls.
  • There are two primary advantages of VoIP phone systems. First, they provide the full features of your phone system to every phone on the system - even remote offices or home workers. Second, they completely eliminate calling costs between your locations.
  • Don't confuse these systems with VoIP service, like Vonage or Skype. Those companies replace your business phone service, your connection to the outside world. A VoIP system in your office simply connects your internal phone network.
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Do you have many mobile workers?
  • If you have some employees who are often on the road, mobile connectivity is an important consideration. In addition to carefully comparing cell phone services, ask the phone system vendors you're evaluating what features they offer to support mobile workers.
  • One helpful feature is the ability to forward calls from a phone extension to a cell phone after a certain number of rings. This "automatic call forwarding" or "follow me anywhere" feature lets callers contact the people they need to reach without worrying about where they are.
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Do you have an inbound or outbound call center?
  • While the term "call center" may make you think of expansive rows of telemarketers, any group of telephone-centric employees can be considered a call center. Three customer service specialists taking incoming calls or half a dozen telephone salespeople, for example, can benefit from call center features.
  • The most important is CTI - Computer Telephone Integration. CTI is what allows callers' account information to be automatically called up on your employees' screens as they answer the phone. This makes your call center reps more efficient and increases customer satisfaction.
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