It may be time for you to install a digital phone system
Digital phone systems offer a slew of advantages, but just when is it appropriate to make the switch from analog?
Lou Darnell, president of Comtel, a Honolulu-based digital, IP telephony and VoIP communications systems company, says any company that has 10 or more analog telephone lines should evaluate the case for converting to digital services. That is about where 10 analog lines will equal the cost of 23 digital lines (around $600).
Not only would you be able to receive and make calls for the same price, you could provide more workers with their own private number, or have extra lines for fax and voice mail.
With digital phone service, you also get Caller ID and Direct Inward Dial (aka "DID"). The magic of DID is that with 23 digital lines, a business could have another 100 phone numbers at no or small additional cost.
Why would anyone want more numbers than they have lines? Having a direct number is prestigious and functional. It also cuts down on the number of calls handled by the receptionist.
Also, a unique number can be used to track an advertising campaign by assigning it to a specific ad. Another very cool thing about DID is that your telephone system can route calls anywhere you like. For example, "normal" customers calling the main number would first go to the automated attendant, then to an available agent. If no agent or "live" person is available, you could have the called routed to voice mail. If you have a special client, they could be routed directly to your cell phone.
Are there disadvantages to setting up a digital system?
Switching from analog to digital service normally requires that your telephone system be upgraded to support it.
Moving to digital also entails using more than one service provider. If the transition doesn't go smoothly, customers could experience a disruption to their business communications. That's because digital service is delivered on one circuit, so if that circuit is momentarily disrupted, all 23 lines will go down. With analog service, each phone number has its own circuit.
You're also going to want a digital service provider that offers accurate billing and timely response to problems.
Does digital make sense for everyone?
No, it doesn't. If a company can't support the cost of 10 analog phone lines, it may not make sense. Some telephone systems cannot be upgraded, and for others, costs associated with an upgrade can be significant.
That said, anyone with at least 10 lines should evaluate digital telephone systems.