Getting the Most From Your Office Phone Lines Needless to say, a telephone system is indispensable for any business, regardless of its size and scale of operations. But today there has been tremendous advancements in telephone technology and if you have the right system, you can enhance your employee efficiency, expand your customer base, boost your sales and improve your overall productivity. Today’s phone systems offer features that may not have been available when you installed your existing one. Modern day telephone systems have several extremely useful and sophisticated features like Speed Dialing, Find-me-follow-me, Do not Disturb, Toll-Free Numbers, Caller ID Blocking, Caller ID/On Call Waiting, Call Forwarding Follow Me, Call Forwarding, Call Hold, Call Transfer, Conferencing, Call Logs etc. The voicemail features include Password Protected Voicemail, Voicemail Greeting Options, and Voicemail to Email, Multi-Ring facility, Distinctive Ringing, Enhanced Voicemail, Area Code Selection, Anonymous Call Block – amongst others. If your current system is inadequate – which it is most likely to be – you need to decide what features you want, whether you need a whole new system and whether to buy or lease. Most of the present day telephone systems are scalable and it is not necessary that you buy all the features all at once and overpay. You can add extension lines and features as your business expands and grows. But remember an inadequate phone system will earn for you customer ill-will as any caller is upset to hear a busy tone. Remember that your customer’s time is just as important as yours. A bad phone experience can color a prospective customer’s perception of your business. It is difficult for businesses to build reputation but creating ill-will can happen easily and without notice. Voice mail or voice messaging systems are a standard feature of most phone systems today. You must be already familiar with how an automated attendant works. It answers incoming calls with a recorded greeting that asks callers to “Press 1 for a department, press 2 for another department, press 3 for the operator,” and so on. Many businesses find this feature is very useful and cost-effective. It is becoming increasingly necessary for all sizes of businesses to have access to the Internet. If you believe Internet access is not part of your phone system, you are obviously missing out a lot. Phone companies often bundle voice and data systems together. One option you will have is “always-on” Internet access status. With this facility, your phone line is ever connected to the Internet, so all you have to do is plug the phone line into your computer. You need not spend time to dial into your Internet service provider (ISP) and you also need not compete with other ISP subscribers for access. Depending on your nature of business and volume of phone calls, you can use a digital subscriber line (DSL), which allows for faster data transmissions. You may also need a splitter to separate incoming voice calls from data transmissions and direct the data transmissions to your computer instead of the phone. Another option is an integrated services digital network (ISDN) connection. This uses your existing phone wires to deliver up to three channels of digital service. ISDN allows you to transfer more data in less time than DSL.