Office telephone lines
When it comes to organising telephone lines for your office, you’ll first need to determine the scope of your telephone usage. Being aware of your usage patterns is useful as it can help you decide on the most suitable telephone line package for your office. Some of the things you’ll need to consider include:
- The types of numbers you call most frequently.
- The time you usually make calls.
- The amount of calls you make (per day, week or month).
- The frequency of incoming calls.
- Whether your office needs to make international or conference calls.
Having examined the various ways in which your office uses its telephone lines, you are in a better position to consider the various factors involved in purchasing a telephone line package for your office. This includes choosing the right type of telephone line and negotiating an appropriate package suitable for your office.
The following is a guide to choosing telephone lines for offices.
Types of telephone lines
The first thing you’ll need to consider is the type of telephone line you want to install in your office. There are four main types to choose from:
- PSTN analogue: A Public Switch Telephone Network line is the simplest telephone line you can purchase. It can make and receive calls, connect to the fax machine and receive a broadband connection. This might be a good option if your office is fairly small and require little capacity for calls.
- PSTN analogue multilines: If your office regularly calls more than one customer or client at a time, you might consider renting more telephone lines from your provider. Typically, the more lines you rent, the lower your cost. These extra lines can be linked to a telephone system called a switchboard, which can automatically route calls to unengaged lines.
- ISDN2 or ISDN2e: You might consider a digital connection if you make more than two connections simultaneously. Each line contains a pair of channels that can be used for voice and video calls, as well as fax and broadband connections.
- ISDN30: If your office is larger, you might consider an ISDN30 line which can allow up to 30 connections simultaneously.
Telephone line packages for offices
Once you’ve determined the best telephone line for your office, the next thing you’ll need to consider are the packages that providers offer for businesses. You’ll find that the types of packages offered vary between providers, and you may be able to negotiate different aspects of the package to be enhanced, added or reduced depending on the needs of your office.
The main features within a telephone line package include:
- Line rental: this is a set monthly amount you pay to your telephone line provider for renting their line. You may also need to pay for line installation although some providers offer this for free.
- Various numbers for your business: you might be able to get free, low-cost or premium numbers for your business. Customers and clients are more likely to call low-cost or free numbers, while a premium number can be useful for generating an income from calls.
- Charge for different types of numbers: your provider may charge specific pence per minute amounts for local and national calls, mobile calls, international calls and calls to chargeable numbers with certain prefixes.
- Peak and off-peak charges: you may find that charges vary depending on whether you make the phone call during peak or off-peak hours.
- Added broadband: you might consider taking advantage of the discounts available for purchasing both broadband and telephone lines from the same provider.
- VoIP: you may benefit from a Voice over Internet Protocol service which allows you to make and receive phone calls over the internet.
- Technical support: business customers usually get prioritised technical support if there is a problem with their telephone line.
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