Small Business IT Guide – Phone Systems

Why does my business need a phone system?

A phone system is a valuable asset for any business, regardless of its size or industry. A phone system allows you to communicate effectively with your customers, partners, and employees, as well as to manage your calls efficiently and securely. Using mobile phones for your business communication may seem convenient, but it has several drawbacks. For example, mobile phones are more prone to signal interference, battery issues, and security breaches. Mobile phones also lack the features and functionality that a phone system can offer, such as call routing, voicemail, conferencing, and analytics. A phone system can help you improve your customer service, increase your productivity, and reduce your costs.

What is Voice over IP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that enables voice calls over the internet. It is also known as IP telephony. This allows you to make phone calls over a broadband internet connection instead of typical analogue telephone lines.

What is PSTN?

PSTN stands for Public Switched Telephone Network. It is the traditional phone system that uses physical lines and circuit switching to connect voice calls. The PSTN has been in use for over a century, but it is now being replaced by digital technologies that offer more features and flexibility. The UK plans to retire the PSTN by December 2025 and switch to an all-digital network.

Phone System

What do I need to consider when choosing a phone system?

Once of the benefits of a VoIP phone system is that they are generally very flexible and you can make changes at any point, however these are some point to think about when you first get it set up:

Number of Simultaneous calls: You should estimate the number of calls you are likely to make and receive at one time. This could range from one to over a thousand depending on your business requirements, which in turn will dictate the system or hosting costs. 

Amount of phone numbers: Just like any other phone system you will get a number or numbers for you contacts to call you on. Firstly, do you need more than one number? Would you like multiple numbers so that people can call in to specific departments or people? 

Phone number location: Is there a particular what area code or prefix do you want your number(s) to have? For example a local area code is useful if you are working in a local area however you may want a non-geographic number is you plan to trade nationally or internationally.

Number of Extensions: Usually you would have one extension per person however you may need fewer if you only need a single phone for certain departments. For example a warehouse might only have phone, or you might have phone for each warehouse operative.

Handsets: Most VoIP phone systems can be used with either  handsets or softphones. Your usage might dictate your usage of one over the other, some people prefer a separate physical hand whilst others may be better suited to use a softphone especially if they are mobile or often on the road.

Auto Attendants: When someone calls in to your main number, you can put it through to an Auto Attendant or Digital Receptionist which gives the caller options to select the department they want to reach.

Ring Groups: Auto Attendants of specific phone numbers can be routed through to ring groups. These ring specific extension numbers, you may wish to only include certain people in these groups rather than the whole of a department.

Call Queues: If you are expecting a large number of calls you can use a call queue which keeps the caller connected until one of the designated extensions is free. The way incoming calls are distributed can often also be changed, for example you may want to ring someone who has taken the fewest amount of calls today, or who has the lowest call time or even the person who’s skillset best fits the call first. Additionally wrap up times can be set so that people have time to time up any notes or make entries in to a system before their next call comes through.

Call Recording: Depending on your industry you may want to record all or specific calls. Please note that this can take up quite a large amount of storage space if they are kept for long periods. 

Training options: There are some more advanced options for training, coaching and assisting staff. The ability for a manager to barge in or listen in to calls may be useful, as well as being able to whisper to staff members without the caller hearing.

Integration: External software like CRM may be able to integrate with your phone system, so that it automatically provide contact details or log calls in or out against certain accounts.

All of these features and more are available with our 3CX Phone System.


What is a soft phone?

A softphone is an application that allows users to make and receive phone calls over the internet using a computer, smartphone, or other device. A softphone can have many features, such as voice and video calling, instant messaging, call recording, conferencing, and more. The main benefit of a softphone is its flexibility. You can use the device you already have to receive calls.

What is a SIP Trunk?

A SIP trunk is a method of using the internet to transmit voice and video data, instead of using physical phone lines. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, which is a set of rules that govern how voice and video calls are made over the internet. A SIP trunk connects your phone system to a SIP provider, who acts as a bridge between you and the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

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Contact Us

Whether you want to find out more about your business phone system including 3CX or Microsoft Teams Phone please contact us via one of the contact methods below or the contact form.


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