Frequently Asked Questions

Telephone Systems, Voicemail, VoIP, Networking and More

One of the best ways a small business can look and act like a larger company is to choose the right phone system. By providing big-business features at an affordable price, small business phone systems are a powerful tool for growing your business.

Does my small business need a PBX phone system?

PBX Phone Systems New YorkSimply put: probably not. One way to save money on small business phone systems is to choose a key system unit (KSU) instead of a more expensive PBX system. A KSU system is easier to install and manage than PBX hardware, and can support the calling needs of up to about 40 people.

You'll get all the basic business calling features you would expect: call forwarding and transferring, caller ID, extension dialing, voice mail, and more. You won't get the flexibility that PBX systems offer: programming options are more limited. Furthermore, a KSU can't be integrated with robust call center management software and doesn't offer the detailed reporting on call times, hold queues, and other call center statistics that you might want.

Do make sure you plan for the future. You should expect to get 3 to 5 years out your phone system before it needs a major upgrade or replacement, so it's important to look at your plans for growth and verify that the KSU you choose will be able to grow with you.

You might not need a phone system at all
A newer alternative to a traditional small business phone systems is hosted PBX service. With hosted PBX service, you get the full power of a business-grade PBX system without having to install any hardware or pay significant upfront costs. For small businesses, hosted PBX is definitely worth a look.

Hosted PBX services operate on an application service provider (ASP) model: the service provider runs the PBX in their data center, and all the work of routing and handling your calls is done there. Calls don't reach your office until they're connected to a live phone number. Even your voicemail is stored in the data center.

Hosted PBX providers are able to offer these services through the Internet: your calls are transferred from their data center to your office over a broadband Internet connection. If you don't have a broadband connection, you won't be able to use a hosted PBX service.

Business Phone Systems - Long Island New YorkChoosing the best small business phone systems
Whichever type of phone system you choose, it's important to find a vendor who can work with you to develop the right system for your small business. You don't need the power and flexibility of a $15,000 phone system – but you need reliability and professional features. That's why you need Double D Services.

If your company has more than 40 employees, or if you demand advanced functionality from your phones, you should consider purchasing a PBX system.

Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems are the most powerful type of business telephone systems available today. They provide a wide range of features and are easy to expand as your company grows; yet they are manageable for most small businesses. Most come standard with all the features you might want. In addition, they are totally programmable, so they can support the most complex implementations. You will likely pay a premium for this flexibility, but in many cases the price difference between PBX systems and less adaptable solutions will be smaller than you might expect.

You may be familiar with PBX systems as the massive telecom cabinet used by the largest companies. While that can be the case for very large installations, the technology has progressed to the point where a powerful PBX system for a small business can sit unobtrusively on a desk.

How big do you need it?

Getting enough capacity without overpaying is a primary concern when buying a PBX system. Knowing your requirements in advance will help you negotiate with us. There are two main factors that will determine the size of the system you need:

  • Lines. Also called trunks, lines are the total number of outside phone lines used by the company.
  • Extensions. Extensions refer to every device in your office that needs to connect to the phone system. Most will be telephones; however, fax machines, credit card terminals, modems, and any other equipment that requires a phone connection must also be counted.

Most PBXs define size in terms of "ports," which indicate the maximum number of connections that can be made to the system. This includes outside lines and inside extensions, as well as phone system accessories such as voicemail or automated attendants.

Even if a PBX can handle your current phone traffic, you should be sure that it could also handle your future needs. The ideal system should be able to handle expansion in a very cost-effective manner. PBX systems allow you to increase capacity by adding new cards that increase the total number of ports available.

What features do you need?

Some popular features that PBX systems usually provide include an auto-attendant, conferencing, music on hold, dial by name or extension, and voicemail. More advanced features such as computer-telephony integration (CTI) can be purchased for an additional cost.

Although having the right features is important, even more critical is making sure they are easy to access. Because most employees devote very little time to learning how to use a phone system, you should make sure that using the most common functions is extremely simple and intuitive.

The watchword when buying phone systems for your small business is total cost of ownership (TCO). Buying purely on price can easily get you into trouble: more reliable, expandable systems do tend to cost more per user up front - but the savings you will see in the long run make it worthwhile. In addition to being able to add more users as your company grows, you should find out how easily your phone system can be upgraded as new features and technologies are released. PBX telephone systems require professional installation and maintenance. Unfortunately, configuring and wiring your office can be nearly as costly as the phones themselves. Double D Services can tailor a complete turnkey package.

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