Why Can’t I Just Use My Cell Phone?
Although the first mobile phone available to the public was released by Motorola in 1973, they first gained notice in the United Stated in the 1980s and didn’t really take off in popularity until the 1990s. Since then, predictors have proclaimed the death of the business phone was imminent. But despite smart phones continued technological jumps in sophistication and current ubiquity, decade after decade the death knell of the business telephone system has rung hollow. Why?
If you’ve ever tried to use cell phones in a traditional work environment, you already know the answer.
For some very small businesses, using a cell phone for the business phone can actually make sense. If you have a one person operation, particularly one without a physical address, you may want to use a cell phone. It gives you portability and flexibility. Examples of this include sole proprietorships that focus on cleaning homes, or yardwork. If you are a contract worker, that’s another situation in which a business telephone system may not be necessary.
However, if you grow to the point that you have multiple employees, a business phone system starts to look a lot more appealing or even necessary.
Answering the Phone
If you don’t want to be the only person answering the phone, your employees will need access to telephones too. And if you’re growing, you don’t want to have to be your own receptionist. That being said, you do want to have one number that prospective customers can call.
If each of your employees is only working from their personal cell phones, then your clients can’t call a single number. You don’t want to tell your customer to call one of your employees lines directly. Then you have no record of the call. You also don’t know if your customer will follow through. Finally, if your customer does follow through, then your customer now has the direct number of an employee.
There are two potential problem with that.
First, your employee can now be called any time day or night by that customer. The employee will not like that potential interruption to free time. (The same can be said for you). The second issue is that if your client has an employees number, that client is no longer calling your business. Instead the client is calling another person. The primary relationship is then between your client and your employee.
When the relationship is with your employee, a few things can go wrong. First off, your employee may inadvertently drive business away from your company. Maybe the employee does some easy troubleshooting as a favor that the customer should be billed for. The employee can also make a side deal to do work for less than what you’re charging. Worst of all, when your employee eventually moves on from your company when he/she gets a call from the customer, there’s a good chance that your customer will move on with him/her.
The other place where a business phone system is head and shoulders above cell phones is features.
While there are numerous cutting edge features that come standard with today’s telephone systems, perhaps the features that are most useful to the business user are those that are the simplest.
Just being able to easily transfer a phone call is instrumental to day to day business operations. Contrast that with telling someone to dial another number, and you can see the usefulness of a business system phone over a cell phone.
Again, you can have multiple employees available to answer a call. You have a record of all calls that are made. You can even have a database of all calls recorded. You also have multiple voicemail boxes so employees and departments can each have their own. Voicemail alone can be worth the upgrade.
But I’m On The Go!
You may feel that you need the flexibility of being able to answer your phone from anywhere. The nice thing about modern telephone systems is you don’t have to choose between the convenience and functionality of a phone system and the portability of cell. Today, you can have both. And with improvements in technology, today, you can have it all for a lot less than you might expect.