Business Phone Systems

Choosing the best business phone for your organization may appear simple at a glance. But doing the research and evaluation for all the possible options can be deceptively complex.

Normally, when you’re shopping for tools or resources your small business phone systems, technology simplifies the process. Reading the product’s testimonials, case studies, and white papers are enough to make your decision crystal-clear in most cases.

The thing is, your business phone plays a far bigger role in your business’s day-to-day operations and adaptability than you might initially think from recording meetings to providing customer support. Considering a recent study found 60% of potential customers want to reach businesses via phone, it’s absolutely crucial to choose a reliable and effective solution. (1)

“For small business owners, these are insightful revelations. Knowing how customers like communicating and which source they trust most can provide the best experience for their customers.”

~Small Biz Trends

There are so many factors to take into consideration before you make a purchase. First, you need a clear understanding of how this office phone system will work, how they can help you, and which features are most crucial to your business specifically.

Then, you need to consider the future of your business and office. Where are you headed? What does scalability mean to your business? You don’t need concrete answers to these big questions before selecting a plan for your business. But to guarantee you pick a business phone that can meet your current and future needs, keep these questions in mind as you read on.

By the time you’re done reading our complete guide to finding the best virtual phone system for your business, you’ll know every single detail needed to make the best choice and future-proof your business communications.

What is a Business Phone System?

A business phone system is a telephone network with multiple lines that is used by a business or organization.

This is distinctly different from the common practice of installing multiple telephones at a business with several central office (CO) lines. CO lines are what most people think of as “old school” business phone lines. Picture an office where every call reaches the receptionist first, who then must transfer the call where it needs to go from the office.

Basically, small business phone systems allows your entire company to effectively handle outbound and inbound calls. These networks function and run in a way completely different from that of phone systems for individuals or homes.

When designed well, business phone systems allow employees to easily transfer calls across their entire organization and juggle multiple callers at once. In years gone by, having an effective and robust system for your business meant shelling out serious cash for proprietary hardware and equipment.

But today, even small businesses have a wide array of phone systems to choose from at several different price points. It’s always important to remember that you get what you pay for, but at the same time you should stay focused on the most important features your workforce needs to do their jobs effectively.

How Does a Business Phone System Work?

In this modern day and age, a cloud phone system typically works by harnessing the power of the cloud. Commonly known as Cloud PBX (Private Branch Exchange), today’s most effective options for business phones automatically serve the role of multiple office devices. (2)

“Your phone system is often the most common method your customers will use to contact you, and it can also facilitate communication within your company.”


Cloud PBX phone systems can accept outside calls from your customers, vendors, and partners, plus integrate with your company’s internal phone extensions, fax machines, and internet modems. Some PBX networks require you to dial “9” before you can access an outside line, but you and your team can still easily call companies worldwide on the basic plan.

With Cloud PBX, you’ll have access to a wide spectrum of hosted features and enjoy effortless scalability. These systems are excellent for growing businesses because they’re also quite affordable. Your remote workers and on-site workers both get support, and you can easily make conference calls. You can even connect specific smartphones and conference phones to your Cloud PBX system.

Essentially, Cloud PBX runs off an internet connection. You don’t need any equipment on-site except for the phones themselves and your existing internet equipment.

Because everything is hosted for you in the cloud, your outgoing and incoming calls and video meetings are transmitted by your service provider (3) who acts as an automatic switchboard operator, making the connections as your employees place, transfer, and receive phone calls through the office phone system.

“Most offices have networked phones, which can be expensive to maintain… You have to pay for the phone subscription [and] an IT person to come fix the lines when they’re down… [Today’s] solutions offer many of the features of a traditional landline system, like multiple extensions, with some extra perks – like unlimited calls.”


Keep in mind that these systems can connect to nearly any mobile device. Imagine an employee working on-site taking a call and transferring it to the smartphone of an employee located elsewhere, with no inconvenience to the customer on the line. A Cloud PBX business phone bridges all the gaps and creates a seamless experience for everyone.

Alternatively, VoIP business phone is quite popular lately too. VoIP phones also use your internet connection to make, transmit, and receive phone calls. Your provider does the back-end work of receiving a caller’s voice as data, transmitting it to where it needs to go, and making sure the person on the other end can hear the caller clearly.

In past decades before cloud technology, PBX technology was installed entirely on-site at your business. At that time, PBX phone systems and VoIP phone systems had quite different advantages and drawbacks.

But today, most Cloud PBX phone systems use an internet connection just like any VoIP phone system. There is a very slight difference in the technical details of how each system works, but many people use Cloud PBX and VoIP as interchangeable terms today.

How a Business Phone System Benefits Your Customers

While a business phone will make each day more productive for your staff, the benefits to your customers can’t be overstated.

Think about the last time your business had a phone outage. Whether it was due to planned maintenance for the equipment, an unexpected weather event, or something even more surprising, your customers were irritated during the outage. They couldn’t reach you during business hours, and it’s likely that you lost some sales or customer loyalty as a result.

It doesn’t matter what the reason was. Knowing the reason for the outage doesn’t soothe your customers’ frustration. They expect to be able to reach you.

With a business phone system, you can enable features that allow customer calls to come through even if your main internet connection is down. Whether those calls are routed to a backup connection or an alternative phone line, your customers will never be affected by an outage again.

Depending on how your business functions, you may choose to combine your CRM and other tools with your business phone system. Google Apps, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, and more can be integrated with your chosen phone system. This saves quite a bit of time for your staff when it comes to looking up customer information and documents.

Imagine your workforce having all the answers a caller could ever need right at their fingertips, able to refer to past conversations or notes the moment your Caller ID pops up. With the right system, serving your client base becomes faster and easier than ever before. As a result, your customer satisfaction and loyalty are bound to increase.

Your business may be at that phase where everyone has a desk phone and a company-issued smartphone. It’s great to make sure your employees can be reached regardless of location, but this often presents an unprofessional image to customers.

If a client talks to an employee via smartphone and you don’t have a business phone system, you’ll have no easily accessible record of that call. Following up with that client can easily fall through the cracks unless the employee remembers to make a note. But these problems become a thing of the past once your business has a phone system.

Especially if your CRM is integrated, you’ll have internal notes of that customer’s call. If a voicemail is left on a smartphone, you can have that voicemail transcribed to an email. The right staff member can then follow up, saving time for your entire staff and getting the customer’s needs addressed sooner.

And throughout the entire process, the customer has only called one phone number associated with your business. While a company smartphone and your main office line likely have different area codes, a business phone allows you to present a united front with your phone numbers. To the customer, everything is seamless and professional every step of the way.

Finally, your business phone can go far beyond just phone lines if you’d like. Cloud PBX can be set up to include a contact form, conferencing tools, an automated attendant, and even live chat features. As customers’ expectations for communication methods evolves day by day, your phone system should be able to adapt and meet each new expectation.

By opening these new channels for communication, your business may even gain customers from new demographics and create new revenue streams.

Do Businesses Still Need a Landline Phone?

Certain businesses may still need a landline depending on their planned growth, physical location, and company structure. (4) Let’s break these factors down one-by-one, because the answer to this question differs quite a bit between organizations.

“Using a variety of devices and software, a business can make and receive phone calls by sending voice data in packets using Internet Protocol, rather than traditional circuit transmissions of the public switched telephone network.”


First, you should evaluate how your business runs now compared to your planned growth. If today, most people call your reception desk to be connected with someone, then a landline may be a good backup for now. But if your goal is to have customers connecting directly with other members of staff via phone within the next year or two, you’re going to quickly outgrow that landline.

In that case, setting up an alternative backup for your business phone today would be far more prudent than a backup landline.

If people will continue to call a central desk to have their calls routed as you scale up, your backup landline may serve you well for years to come. Basically, if you foresee changes to the way your company operates as it grows, a backup landline gives you practically no flexibility.

Consider how rural or suburban your physical location is, plus the weather patterns. A business phone system runs off an internet connection. Ideally, you’ll want a reliable connection, a good amount of bandwidth, and the fastest speeds you can get in your area. But while we live in modern times, not every single location across the country meets these base-level requirements.

The annual weather patterns in your area play a role, too. If the power and internet go out often, keeping a landline as a backup for your business may be necessary. A traditional landline doesn’t typically require electricity to run, so this could be a very important back-up option for your business.

Alternatively, if your area’s telephone lines are above-ground and you deal with a lot of windstorms or trees falling on the lines, a landline might not be very reliable for you. A backup internet connection for your business phone system would be better than a landline in this case.

Finally, your company structure has a slight impact on how beneficial a backup landline may be. If customers always call in to a reception desk at your business, a backup landline would serve you well. Customers wouldn’t particularly notice the swap from your business phone system to the landline, which is the goal. Your business would be smart to keep a backup landline with this kind of structure.

However, if clients typically call in directly to the person they need to speak with, a landline would be incredibly frustrating for them. They’d lose all of the convenience they’d come to expect from your business phone system, and it’d be painfully obvious that you’re using a backup landline due to some kind of outage.

In that scenario, your business wouldn’t be well-served by a backup landline. You’d instead want a backup internet connection to make the swap seamless for the duration of the outage. Your business wouldn’t need a landline of any sort if it’s structured in this way.

Read our article that answers the question, “Do you still need a traditional landline business phone system?” here:  


What You Need in a Business Phone System

For businesses big and small, the best way to choose a business phone is to first evaluate the way your business runs. If you start the shopping process with a clear understanding of where you’re at now, what you need to improve, and where your company is headed in the coming years, finding the best choice will be very straightforward.

Without this information, it will be much more difficult to choose the best business phone system for your organization. Starting your shopping with only a foggy understanding of your workforce’s present and future needs virtually guarantees incompatibility in the future 

Whether it’s a department whose needs can’t be met by the new provider or a costly plan that eats into the center of your profits, picking the wrong phone system can be disastrous for your entire company at a basic level.

If you ever feel like you don’t have enough information to make an easy purchasing decision, get answers to your questions before moving forward. With that in mind, here are 4 great questions to ask yourself before you start shopping around. Keep your answers handy as you evaluate your options.

What Call Handling Features Do You Need in a Phone?

 This can be a bit nebulous when you first start thinking about it. But once you’re familiar with some of the most popular and beneficial call handling features or cloud, you’ll find yourself with a list of must-haves for your plan in no time. Here’s a list of the most commonly requested features:

  • 3-way calling
  • Conference bridge
  • Automatic redial
  • Music/pre-recorded messages while clients are on hold
  • Voicemails transcribed to email
  • Integrations for remote workers
  • Digital faxing services
  • Keeping your current phone number(s) via porting to the new system
  • Video conferencing
  • Call queueing
  • Conference call capabilities
  • Caller ID
  • Automated Attendant
  • Do not disturb settings
  • Live chat
  • Text messaging
  • Call screening
  • Call monitoring
  • Call recording
  • Payment processing tools
  • Integrations with other apps

Your business will need some or potentially all of these features, depending on your industry and company structure. Determine which features will be truly valuable to your team and which ones just aren’t important for you.

It’s wise to speak with other departments about their needs and requests for your new business phone system. Doing so will ensure that your entire organization reaps the benefits of modernizing your communications.

When you open an inquiry with SSG Technologies, we’ll review the features you’ve requested and features we think you could benefit from. As technology advances every day, our team of experts is always up-to-date on the latest features. We’ll make sure you get everything you need, even features you weren’t previously aware of.

How Many Potential and Actual Users Are There in Your Business?

Think about who answers the phone at your physical office, and how many people are present at that same office. Does every single employee there need a desk phone? Don’t forget your remote workers, and to factor in employees you’ll hire in the next several years.

With this question, you’re focusing on both the present and the future. It’s important that your chosen phone systems can scale up as your company does. If the provider you choose today can’t handle your company size in a few years, you’ll have to go through the entire rigmarole of finding a new provider and learning their system.

Save you and your staff the hassle. SSG Technologies will help you choose a compatible provider today that can also grow with you for years to come.

How Many Daily Calls Come into the Business on Average?

In the previous question, you determined how many of your employees actually need a phone. Next, find out how many calls are made and received each day. This number will help you determine if separate phones or simply separate extensions will be sufficient. 

This information also gives you the ability to calculate exactly how many separate phone lines you need. 

But don’t stress too much about doing all this math on your own and trying to make the best choice. When you inquire with us here at SSG Technologies, we’ll ask for this info and do the calculations. All you’ll have to do is review our suggestions for your phone systems and go from there.

Do You Prioritize Mobility of Business Phone Plans?

Depending on the nature of your business, your staff may be at their desks all day or only stop by the office once a week. You may have remote workers, people who frequently travel for their role, and even team members who are always in the field.

No matter what your specific situation is, today’s solutions are compatible with any combination of the above. Your staff’s smartphones can be tied to your new business phone system, for example. Remote workers can use a USB phone that plugs directly into their computer’s USB jack.

In a nutshell, start your shopping process with a clear understanding of all the places your employees work from. This makes it much easier to work with our team and select phone systems that’ll serve your entire workforce extremely well.

How to Choose the Right Office Phone System

Once you’ve thought through the questions listed above and reached answers you’re confident in, it’s time to start looking at all options for different office phone systems available to you from different companies. While having all the relevant information about your business makes this process easier, it’s still important to carefully evaluate each option to better understand each pro and con.

The biggest thing to remember while choosing new phone systems is your organization’s plans for growth. No matter how prepared you are, choosing and installing your new phone system is a commitment of both your time and resources. It’s important to invest these into a system that will sustain your business in the long-term. (5)

As mentioned above, think about how many staff members you’ll have in the next 3 to 5 years who will need a phone line or extension of their own. Consider the markets and demographics you’d like to expand into, and make sure your chosen phone system will allow you to do so.

For example, even if you have no need for live chat features now, is it wise to choose a provider who doesn’t offer them at all? It may be smarter to select a one that gives you these features whenever you want them.

Picking a business phone number plan depends on your own projections of growth and how quickly you want to pursue new markets and customer bases outside of the local area where your business is located.”


As you evaluate different systems, don’t focus entirely on the future. It’s also crucial for your new phone system to have all the features which are essential to your business today. If you frequently make use of conference call or video call features, make sure your plan includes them from day one.

Trying to find workarounds for your most commonly used tools is a huge waste of time and resources. It’s much more beneficial to spend this energy finding the perfect system for your business, rather than settling for an incompatible system simply because it’s the first one you find.

Once you’ve identified some business phone providers who meet your current and future needs, it’s time to focus on the hardware. Consider what combination of desk phones, conference phones, and USB phones your workforce will require.

If any of the providers you have in mind don’t offer the specific hardware your ideal situation requires, they aren’t the best choice for you. Whether you’re evaluating features or hardware, settling on a quick decision and spending time on workarounds later just isn’t effective.

Finally, you’ll need to decide what kind of technology powers your phone system features. We discussed VoIP and Cloud PBX earlier, which are the two most robust and scalable options available today. But you need to have a backup plan, too.

Whether your location and industry call for a backup landline or simply a backup internet connection to use in case of outages, it’s crucial to make sure your new system is compatible with your desired backup plan. Failing to plan for this is just a plan to fail.

Once you’ve evaluated these factors across the providers and plans you’re considering, the last thing to look at is the price. Think about the value of what you’re gaining versus the cost. Fortunately, both Cloud PBX and VoIP business phone service has become quite affordable in recent years.

When you work with us here at SSG Technologies, our team of experts does the legwork for you. We partner with only state-of-the-art phone systems providers to serve businesses like yours.

First we’ll learn a basic understanding of where your business is now and where it’s headed in the next 5 years. Then we’ll discuss the needs of your workforce. Finally, we’ll present you with easy, affordable options custom-tailored to your specific needs.

The truth is, there just isn’t a one-size-fits-all easy solution in terms of the best business phone service. We’re here to find the perfect fit for you.

Features a Small Business Should Think About When Shopping for Business Phone Systems

Small businesses need to be especially focused on most important features while shopping for a small business phone system. Every purchasing decision can lead to huge positive or negative impacts down the road, without the safety net that bigger businesses have established for themselves. 

To make sure your small business gets the most bang for your buck, we recommend keeping several key features in mind.

First and foremost, really think about what your system will be used for. Today, many phones allow video conferences, instant messaging, digital faxing, and connecting with your current CRM software. Will you need these features on your business phone immediately? If not, don’t pick a plan that forces you to pay for them. If so, consider the cost of these features versus how they’ll pay off.

Next, the structure of your business will help you rule out some options. If your business includes a call center, some plans will offer you features specific to this facility. Call center features typically come with a big price tag, so you’ll again want to weigh the cost against the payoff.

International calling is a huge must-have for larger businesses across the country. Small businesses, depending on the industry, often have international customers too. If you’re conducting any kind of business internationally, think about how much it costs you now. Most Cloud PBX and VoIP systems offer international calls for the same rate as local.

Perhaps most importantly, find out how much training and support each provider offers. As a small business, you don’t have much extra bandwidth for training and troubleshooting. If any of the providers you’re evaluating don’t offer training, that’s all going to fall on you.

Check their support hours and contact methods. If they don’t offer 24/7 support, could that be a problem for your company? Do they have online chat and an easy way to contact us via phone, or whatever your preferred method of communication is? Looking at these details before signing up can save you quite a bit of headache and wasted money down the road.

How Often Should Your Office Upgrade the Phone Systems?

Generally speaking, you should do a performance evaluation of your small business phone system once a year. Even if no one on your team has noticed any recent issues, it’s wise to check-in.

During this check-in, you should ask yourself and any relevant staff members for feedback on:

  • The amount of dropped calls they’ve experienced
  • Any major outages or issues with the phone system in the past year
  • The overall audio quality of each call
  • Any complaints received from customers about poor call quality
  • Any delays they experience after dialing
  • The general performance and ease of use of the phone system
  • The cost of repairs versus how effective the repairs are
  • Struggling to find replacement parts or hardware for the phone system
  • If your current phone provider offers great support or doesn’t meet expectations
  • If you’ve had to contact your provider for support far more versus this time last year
  • If the cost for maintenance and service is worth the value
  • If your business has outgrown the functions of your current phone system
  • If your business will outgrow the functions within the next 5 years or so
  • If there are any benefits offered by a different system that you’d benefit from

You see, business phone systems continue to advance at a similar pace to computers during this past decade. Picture trying to run your entire business today with computers and devices from 10 or 15 years ago. It just wouldn’t be productive, efficient, or even cost-effective. The same is true for your phone system. 

Why Upgrading Your Business Phone Systems are Essential

Upgrading your small business phone system as times goes on is an absolute necessity. You never know when an upgrade could lead to meaningful new capabilities or improved function all-around.

Say your business operates entirely off landlines for all incoming and outgoing calls. If this were the case, odds are you’ve used landlines for as long as your business has been reachable by phone. So far, this is all perfectly fine.

But what if, as the internet became widely available across the globe, you dug in your heels and refused to look at newer business phone systems which used an internet connection?

Imagine businesses around you—including your competitors—swapping from landlines to Cloud PBX and VoIP phone systems. These businesses are now offering live chat, hold music, automated attendants, and voicemail transcription services.

Surely you can picture how thrilled your target demographic is by all these new and convenient ways to reach your competition. And you can picture these potential customers choosing your competitors simply because it was easier to get in touch with them.

The ripples don’t end with your lost revenue and client base, though. Your staff is also plagued by the obsolescence of your old landlines. Other companies in your industry are giving their staff company-issued smartphones that connect to their company servers. Your competitors’ staff is more productive and flexible than ever, plus morale is high.

Meanwhile, your best employee is upset about directing yet another customer to please stop calling her personal cell phone and start leaving voicemails with the receptionist at the physical office.

Years ago, this exact scenario played out for many businesses nationwide who felt the internet was simply a fad. Today, any business who refuses to leverage the power of the internet is simple a day late and a dollar short.

Now, this may seem like an extreme example. But the truth is, many businesses today are still using an analog PBX phone system. Analog PBX phone systems use the exact same copper landlines mentioned in the example above.

If your office uses an analog PBX system today, you’re missing out on a huge share of the market. Today’s customers expect to use live chat, text messages, call queuing, and more when they communicate with your business. If your clients still have to talk to a receptionist who then fumbles with an outdated phone system to route their call, your clients may go elsewhere.

The great thing about the business phone systems offered by SSG Technologies as you will see is that don’t need to undertake a huge disruptive process when it’s time to upgrade. Today’s state-of-the-art Cloud PBX  are upgraded on the back-end and never disturb your staff’s productivity.

Anytime a new feature becomes available and you’d like to utilize it, we’ll give your team extensive training on how to do so. Instead of having to do an annual performance analysis with your basic phone system, you’ll simply be notified when anything new becomes available.

Even better, we’ll handle updates and maintenance for our business phone plans on the back-end when it won’t disturb you. We’ll get to work on fixing any glitches and rolling out basic free updates before you’re negatively affected. This kind of maintenance is easy and much faster and more affordable than maintenance to a traditional analog phone system.

Read our article about how often you should update your business phone system here:

You Can Future-Proof Your Business Communication Capabilities with the Right Phone

At SSG Technologies, our passion is equipping businesses like yours with the absolute best small business phone system for each unique situation. We’re proud to serve businesses of all sizes and dedicated to meeting you where you are.

Whether you’re a small-yet-mighty organization in need of reliable telecommunications or a global juggernaut searching for a system to do it all, our team of experts is ready to help. We understand how crucial it is to be reachable by your customers and support robust flexibility for your remote or field employees.

The good news is that you don’t have to choose between one or the other. You can enjoy a small business phone system with zero downtime due to natural disasters, unlike the traditional landlines of years gone by. You don’t need to waste any more of your or your team’s valuable time relearning your phone system after yet another equipment update.

Most importantly, we’re committed to helping you future-proof your business. Inevitably, what these phone systems offer will change as time goes on. Technology evolves, needs change, and priorities shift. The cordless phone or dialpad is a great example of user needs shifting the technology.  Your organization’s hosted phone system should help you adapt, not hinder you.

When you work with us, we consider where your business is now and where it’s headed. You’ll be set up with the absolute best and most adaptable phone system for your specific industry and operations. No matter what the future holds, your communications and productivity will stand the test of time.

If you’re ready to ditch the frustrating phone equipment and finally start enjoying a flexible small business phone system with a low base monthly cost, inquire with us here at SSG Technologies today. Our team of local experts is standing by to help your business innovate communications like never before. 


1. Small Business Trends, 60% of Customers Prefer to Call Small Businesses on the Phone

2. Chron, Kinds of Business Telephone Systems

3. Reuters, Cost-Cutting VoIP Solutions for Businesses

4. Entrepreneur, Keeping Your Business Connected – Landline or VoIP?

5. Forbes, Business Phone Numbers: Everything You Need to Know and How to Get One