business phone systems

What Are the Different Types of Business Phone Systems?

In a recent study, it was found that 65% of people prefer to make contact with a business by telephone call, as opposed to only 24% who favor using a web form.

Business phone systems are an important part of any organization. There are many different types available, each suited to different needs and budgets. But maybe you’re struggling to choose the perfect small business phone system.

There are many options available. These include everything from commercial phone systems and VoIP services to traditional telephone solutions or virtual phone systems.

We understand that it can be hard to decide what kind of communication tool is best for you and your company’s needs, but don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Read on to learn more.

Which System Is Best For Most Businesses?

Most businesses will benefit from using a cloud-based system, as it is the most cost-effective and easy-to-manage option. Cloud systems typically have lower upfront costs.

They also have shorter implementation times and are regularly updated. They offer scalability options and require less technical expertise for maintenance.

Additionally, many cloud systems are designed with mobile access in mind so that users can access the system from anywhere. Depending on your business needs, a cloud-based system is the most efficient and effective option for your business.

However, if you have more complex requirements or need greater control over your system, an on-premise solution may be a better option.

On-premise systems offer greater control over security and privacy, as the system is hosted on your own equipment. They also tend to be more customizable and tailored to the specific needs of a business. However, they require greater technical expertise to set up and maintain, and they have higher upfront costs.

Ultimately, it’s important to consider all of your business needs and weigh the pros and cons of each option. Do this before deciding which system is best for your business.

Features to Look For in a Business Phone System

Business phone systems offer organizations of all sizes a way to manage their incoming and outgoing calls. This is not to be confused with residential phone systems. Business phone systems have features specifically designed for handling multiple calls simultaneously and routing them within the organization.

A reliable system is essential. Businesses need solid communication with customers, vendors, and employees. The best business phone systems might include these features.

Multiple Lines

Permitting multiple lines can be beneficial for businesses. It allows employees to switch between calls more efficiently during times of high call volume. The number of phone lines needed for your business will depend on the size and scope of your operations. Generally, two to four lines are sufficient for smaller businesses.

Additionally, having multiple lines helps ensure that incoming calls are always answered promptly. This means that customer service is not compromised. By adding additional lines, businesses can better serve customers and maximize call capacity.


An automated system greets incoming calls. It also provides callers with options to direct their call to the appropriate team member.

Visual Voicemail

Business phone voicemail systems can do more than store recorded messages. They can transcribe the voicemail and instantly send it to the employee in an email or text.

Conference Calls

Meetings can be organized remotely over the phone, allowing multiple participants to join in and contribute. This is an invaluable tool for businesses with remote employees or those who are unable to meet in person.

With conference calls, everyone can keep up-to-date on what’s happening without having to leave their homes or offices.

Call Forwarding

Calls can be redirected to a different phone number. Some systems can even direct to an email address.

On-Hold Messages

You can create a personalized message that will let callers know that their call is important and they will be answered as soon as possible. You can also play soothing music while the caller waits on hold.

Handset Support

Modern business phone systems should be able to support both wired and wireless headsets. This gives your business more versatility.

Types of Business Phone Systems

There are three main types of business telephone systems: KSU, PBX, and VoIP. Each of these systems can be hosted in the cloud or operated on-premises. Understanding the differences between these systems is an important step in choosing the right one for your organization’s communication needs.

Key System Units (KSU)

A key system unit (KSU) is the most basic type of phone system available, suitable for small businesses with no more than 40 employees. This system is user-friendly and contains all the essential features a business needs. Yet, it does not offer much in terms of portability or flexibility.

With this system, a central switching device – the KSU – is used to manually determine which phone lines are activated. It’s an easy-to-use system, similar to a home telephone.

The KSU-less system is a variation of the basic phone system, offering the same capabilities without the need for a central switching unit.

It is portable and flexible but has some limitations. It can only accommodate approximately 10 users, and it must be requested from an external provider. Therefore, this system is best suited for a very small business that doesn’t plan to expand its workforce. It’s not ideal for those looking to grow.

Pros of KSU

  • It has an intuitive interface, making it easy to use
  • It offers a comprehensive range of essential telecommunication functions for businesses
  • You can easily configure the right phone line for your needs

Cons of KSU

  • It is restricted to a maximum of 40 phone lines
  • It lacks portability and adaptability
  • It does not provide the necessary scalability for expanding businesses

Private Branch Exchange (PBX)

A PBX (Private Branch Exchange) is a more advanced business phone system than the KSU and KSU-less systems. Using programmable switching devices, it can automatically route incoming calls.

This business phone system is appropriate for companies with over 40 employees. Its functionality is largely automated. Additionally, it features an uninterruptible power supply, allowing businesses to remain operational during periods of power outages.

A variation of the PBX system is the hosted PBX. This system differs in that the programmable switching device is not installed on-site. It’s hosted by a telephone provider.

By using this system, you can enjoy all of the advanced features without incurring installation and maintenance costs associated with a standard PBX system. This makes it a great option for businesses looking to streamline their phone system without sacrificing capabilities.

Pros of PBX

  • It can direct incoming calls to the appropriate department
  • It is ideal for businesses with large staff
  • Has an independent source of power that keeps it running even during outages

Cons of PBX

  • A team of experts is necessary to set up and maintain your PBX system
  • Your business is responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly
  • Possible redundancies between different locations

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a revolutionary business innovation. It has grown in popularity in recent years.

This technology allows clients and operators located around the world to communicate seamlessly, regardless of their geographic location. To take advantage of VoIP, all you need is an internet connection and a computer.

With VoIP, you can stay connected to your contacts from any location without compromising the quality of your calls.

The cost of a business internet network system is determined by the number of employees who need access to its functions. While it may be the most expensive option, it also provides an invaluable benefit: all of its features are accessible by computer. This makes it easy for your company to take advantage of these functions no matter where they’re located.

This system is particularly helpful. All its functions can be accessed from any computer through your company’s business internet network. While it is the most expensive of telephone systems, the cost varies depending on how many employees need to use it.

Pros of VoIP

  • Experience global communication with the internet
  • Utilize a variety of devices for increased accessibility
  • Easily scale your team’s communication capabilities
  • Convenient access to colleagues from anywhere in the world

Cons of VoIP

  • A stable internet connection is necessary for video conferencing
  • Availability may be limited by location
  • Connectivity issues can cause poor audio quality or lag in conversations
  • Devices used for video conferencing must have security measures in place to protect against cyberattacks

Average Cost of a Business Phone

Business phone systems typically range from $12 to $20 per user every month. Yet, the cost depends on various factors such as the number of lines. Bundled line services are available for larger businesses. More lines lead to higher costs for smaller companies.

The cost of different phone services can vary greatly. Landlines and VoIP services generally have different connection fees. Other aspects may add to the overall price.

This includes message storage, video conferencing, answer services, and mobility options. Additional support might also be required depending on your needs, which could increase the cost per line or user.

Can I Just Stick With My Existing Landline System?

It depends. The traditional landline phone system could be a great solution for large businesses, but only if you have the budget and IT staff to maintain them.

Known as public switched telephone networks (PSTNs), these systems run via a local or regional telephone company’s analog copper wiring, and use Private Branch Exchange (PBX) hardware to create multiple extensions and add features such as call transferring and directories.

The pros of this system are that they are highly reliable and time-tested, making it a popular choice for many companies.

However, the downside is that due to advances in technology, many providers are now moving away from landlines, making this option less viable in the future. Additionally, there is often an upfront cost associated with setting up the infrastructure needed for a traditional phone system.

When to Upgrade Your Phone System

For mobile phone systems, it’s generally recommended to upgrade every two years to keep up with the latest technology and prevent potential maintenance issues from arising. This way, businesses can make sure their systems are always up-to-date.

The second way to determine when it’s time to upgrade your phone is through functionality. If your current equipment is still working well and giving you the performance you need, there’s no need to upgrade them yet!

Try to put off upgrading until you are experiencing consistent issues with your phones – this can extend the average upgrade cycle for many businesses to every five years. Although this will save you money, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest technology for optimal performance and security.

Businesses should consider upgrading when a new feature can generate a clear return on investment and improve their operations. Right now, 5G networks are becoming available and offer increased capabilities that could be beneficial for businesses to adopt.

Key Takeaways on Business Phone Systems

VoIP is an effective way to stay connected and offers many advantages.

Businesses should consider the cost of a business phone system, upgrade when necessary, and invest in high-quality solutions for optimal performance and security. With the right solutions and investment, businesses of all sizes can benefit from VoIP.

Ready to Choose a Phone System for Your Business?

As you’ve just read, there are several options for business phone systems. Overall, VoIP is a great way to stay connected no matter where you are. It offers many advantages such as global communication, accessibility on various devices, scalability, and convenience.

Businesses should consider the cost of a business phone system and upgrade when necessary to reap the benefits of new technologies such as 5G networks. Investing in a high-quality phone system can ultimately improve your business operations, communication, and customer service.

With the right solutions and investment, businesses of all sizes can benefit from a solid business phone system in place. Speak to Cherry Networks today to discuss the best technology solutions for your business.

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