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How to set up a small business phone system?

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Business processes need to be efficient, customer-first, and professional if you want to remain competitive and encourage repeat custom. 

Communication is the lifeblood of your business, and a business phone system is a key ingredient. Software tools like RingCentral MVP offer streamlined communications between customers and employees. 

Here, we’ll be providing a guide to small business phone systems to help you set up a unified communications solution of your own.

Desk phone and mobile devices powered by a reliable phone system for small business

Read on to learn about:

What is a small business phone system?

A business phone system is a telephone system that combines multiple phone lines and supports additional telephony features such as call handling, call transfers, conference calling, voicemail, and more. 

There are many different types of phones, each with its pros and cons, ranging from traditional PBX systems to cloud-based internet telephony (VoIP) solutions.

  • Traditional phone systems

    Private branch exchange (PBX) phone systems are traditional landline systems that work over business phone lines and often use on-premises PBX servers. 

     

    Systems like this incur expensive upfront costs and come with ongoing maintenance charges. For small businesses, that could mean taking out hefty business loans. 

  • Self-hosted VoIP phone system (IP-PBX)
    A self-hosted VoIP (voice over internet protocol) system connects calls over an internet connection. But the communications server can be located on-premises. Self-hosted VoIP only works with SIP phones. This is very similar to a traditional PBX but tends to be much cheaper. 
  • Cloud PBX phone system

    Cloud-based VoIP systems use apps or internet browsers to make and take incoming calls over the internet. This is the most flexible business phone model. 

     

    VoIP phones allow you to start video conference calls from all mobile devices (iOS and Android included). Thanks to the cloud phone system infrastructure, this is a much more cost-effective option.

A business VoIP phone solution like RingCentral’s offers virtual phone systems and can be purchased for a scalable monthly fee with flexible pricing.

On top of the software itself, this includes business phone installation, maintenance, customer support, and various integrations with call center software, management software, CRMs, accounting software, and POS systems.  Lines can be easily added or repurposed at any time, and there’s no need for expensive, bulky hardware.

Remote employee using her mobile phone to collaborate with other team members

What is a multi-line phone system?

Multi-line systems allow a single phone to host multiple phone numbers. This is a great option for startups and small business owners who want to use their personal cell phones for business calls but don’t want to sacrifice professionalism. 

With this type of office phone system, users can accept and make calls by pressing a dedicated key to select the appropriate business line. 

Not every business needs a designated in-house PBX system. A cloud-based multi-line option offers the ideal balance by providing businesses with advanced calling that handles calls to multiple numbers based on set VoIP calling rules. 

RingCentral MVP is a cloud-based virtual phone system complete with voice, fax, text messages, online meetings, conferencing, and other collaboration features. 

You’ll be able to set up your business phone system any which way you want with easy collaboration from any device, 24/7 user support, personalized call forwarding rules, call recording, and easy connection to your team members and customers.

Mobile devices powered by RingCentral MVP

Why you need a small business phone system

For many types of business, mobilizing business VoIP provides tremendous benefits.

Improved customer service

Once you’ve signed up and got your business phone service up and running, customer service will become a breeze. Business phone systems improve customer service standards and provide businesses with a competitive advantage as a result. 

Why? 

Because, as a small business owner, you’ll be able to pick up customer calls whether you’re using the office systems or you’re on the road. Plus, additional features like presence status, call logs, and forwarding calls keep customers well informed and ensure that they’re connected to the right employees for the job.

Increased scalability

Cloud-based phone services like RingCentral MVP are highly scalable. Thanks to the flexible subscription-based model, you’ll be able to scale up or down as demand requires. 

New customers? 

New employees? 

No problem.

More manageable workflows

Last but not least, business phone systems make workflows more manageable. You’ll be able to mobilize tons of advanced features, including collaborative tools, screen sharing, advanced call routing, text messaging, customer data, and auto-attendants—all in one place.

Team members discussing a project over a video conference

How to set up your new business phone system

Getting started with a new phone system for your business? Cloud-based business phone providers offer straightforward implementation processes so that you can enjoy maximum uptime. 

With no complex hardware to deal with, setting up VoIP business phones is a breeze. 

With RingCentral MVP, you’ll be up and running in just a few simple steps. 

Your account and phone number will be activated immediately, so you can start making and taking calls, customizing your online account, and setting any advanced call management features (e.g., call queues and call monitoring). 

All you’ll need is reliable, high-speed internet and a router to connect each desk or mobile phone to your WiFi connection. 

Below you’ll find a step-by-step breakdown of the process. 

Step 1: Activate your service

First thing’s first, you’ll need to activate your VoIP service with your service provider. 

When you activate your RingCentral business phone, we’ll send you a welcome email with a link to our quick setup wizard. 

You’ll be able to:

  • Create your account password
  • Select your unique security question and answer 
  • Enter your company information 
  • Set service address, time zones, and users
  • Add call groups 
  • Assign members and extensions 
  • Set up virtual-receptionist 
  • Customize call handling rules 
  • Load custom greetings 

At this stage, you can also choose to download the RingCentral Softphone mobile app, which will allow you to control your business phone calls right from your desktop apps.

Top-tip:
To access the best call quality possible, use a Quality of Service (QoS) enabled router. 

Step 2: Set up IP phones

Next, you’re going to need to set up your IP desk phones. If you want them, of course. 

Attach your handset to the base of your IP phone using the cord provided. Plug one end of your ethernet cable into your phone’s WAN port and the other end into your router or internet jack.

Top-tip:
If you don’t have a router or internet jack available, you can connect the LAN port on your IP phone directly to your PC.

Step 3: Transfer your existing toll-free number

After purchasing your business phone, you’ll be provided with temporary business phone numbers. 

If you have an existing toll-free phone number or vanity number that you wish to keep, you can port this to your new RingCentral business phone. 

All you have to do is log in to your account, go to My Settings, and click on Transfer an Existing Number. You’ll be asked to complete an online wizard for each new number you transfer to your business phone.

Step 4: Customize your phone system

It’s time to personalize your business phone system functionality. Each business is different, and you’ll need to tweak your settings accordingly. 

With RingCentral, administrators can change and set up business phone system settings and assign users and extensions according to their own specifications. Each user will be able to change their voicemail greetings and hold music and adjust call handling rules for individual extensions.

Step 5: Add any international numbers as required

If you need to add any international numbers to your business phone, RingCentral offers a variety of options. 

You can buy a RingCentral Global MVP license for your international employees and choose a preferred number and activation key. You’ll be able to enjoy inclusive calling minutes for international outbound and inbound calls and purchase international numbers as a caller ID from over 75 countries.

Welcome to the RingCentral app for Desktop: Message. Video. Phone. video

Your new small business phone is just a few steps away

Forget traditional landline phones. Move over analog phone systems. The best business phone systems will transform your daily operations as a small business. 

If you’re looking for a tool that offers time and money savings, professional agility, and unparalleled scalability, then a VoIP business phone is the best choice you can make.

Check out our video all about RingCentral’s modern business phone systems:
Important details and disclaimers
SMB Holiday Promotion:

*Void where prohibited or restricted. Offer valid until December 31, 2021. Discounts based upon list price published prior to Offer start date. Free Month(s) Conditions subject to the quantity of years purchased under qualifying RingCentral MVP plans purchased, and between 2 and 399 digital lines required. Additional Terms and Conditions apply.