Hosted and SIP Comms Systems | National Business Communications

Hosted and SIP solutions: Are they right for your business?

October 25, 2021

If you’re a small or medium-sized business owner, you may have already heard of hosted phone systems or SIP trunks — as well as the benefits they could bring to your business.

If you’re currently using a traditional phone system, and are considering making the switch to a hosted one, we’ve compiled this handy guide to make you an expert! We’ll cover what a hosted phone system is, how it works, and why so many business owners are making the switch from a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) system to a hosted one.

Read on to find out if a hosted phone system is right for your business.

What is a hosted phone system?

A hosted phone system allows phone calls to be routed through your business’s broadband connection, rather than via traditional telephone lines. It is also sometimes known as a VoIP system (Voice over Internet Protocol) or a cloud-based phone service.

There are a number of benefits to this, such as a faster transfer of both voice and information data and easier reporting on metrics such as call length. It also gives you the ability to store call data in a way that can be shared and accessed privately within your organisation.

Businesses that are using cloud-based hosting services can also protect themselves from any disruptions that may be caused by the upcoming WLR withdrawal. By the end of 2025, Openreach will remove over 15 million copper phone lines across the country. This means that every business in the UK will need to switch to digital and cloud-based services to replace the traditional phone systems that were reliant on this network. 

You can visit our website to read more about WLR Withdrawal and what it means for businesses. And if you’re keen to get ahead of the game and make a switch, you may like to learn more about our cloud-based phone and broadband services, which are designed specifically for small and medium-sized UK businesses.

How does a hosted phone system work?

A hosted telephone system removes the need for an on-site Private Branch Exchange (PBX). This is an on-site device which connects to the network of copper phone lines. The PBX box is installed at an organisation’s place of business to direct both incoming and outgoing calls — as well as supporting other features like voicemail and call management. 

A hosted phone system, however, removes the need for a PBX box. This can save you valuable space, the expense of having one fitted, and will allow you to take advantage of all the benefits that come with using a cloud-based service instead.

Rather than having a box on the premises, your business broadband will be connected to a central telephone exchange. These are often more reliable than a PBX, as they serve a larger area and multiple users, rather than just a single business. Your calls and communications will then be ‘hosted’ by your chosen cloud service provider, rather than the traditional copper phone lines.

What are the benefits of having a hosted phone system?

There are a number of benefits for businesses who choose a hosted phone system over a traditional phone set-up. These are our top five, but this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list!

  1. Fewer up-front equipment costs. Because a hosted phone system can utilise existing equipment like telephones, headsets and your broadband connection, you won’t need to invest in an expensive new phone system to get started. Costs are almost always a key consideration when it comes to making significant business decisions. However, the return on investment from a hosted phone system can really make the switch worth it! 
  1. Greater protection from technical issues. Traditional telephony can be vulnerable to a number of problems, from poor service to a damaged phone line — which can see your office phones cut off for days! By re-directing your communications through your office broadband, you’ll have greater control over things like service and call quality. And best of all, you won’t lose service the next time a tree falls on a phone line in your town!
  1. Easy data collection and analysis. A hosted phone system will often come with some kind of online dashboard, which gives you the ability to log calls and collect data on a range of metrics. You can gain a clearer understanding of average call lengths, the main reasons customers contact you, and more. This data can be invaluable to your business, and can be used to improve the service you provide your customers, as well as the support available for your staff. 
  1. Multiple phone numbers, with only one landline. With a hosted phone system, you can bypass the need for a receptionist or call re-routing software, as you’ll be able to have multiple numbers with just one main phone line. This can improve efficiency, by allowing customers or clients to contact departments directly. It can also create a much better, smoother customer experience for those using your services. After all, nobody likes to be on hold or have to navigate an automated call-routing service for long!
  1. More flexibility for employees. With the new trend for hybrid working and working from home, it can be a great selling point to potential employees that they are able to make and receive office calls from home. With a hosted phone system, employees can log in from a device at home, and pick up calls they would normally have to take in the office. This seemingly small perk can have huge advantages for employee wellbeing, as well as reducing overheads for your business. Win-win! 

What’s a SIP trunk?

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, and it’s one of the technologies used to facilitate VoIP or hosted phone systems. SIP trunking uses existing equipment like phones, computers and headsets, so you can switch from traditional telephony to a hosted phone system. 

Whereas VoIP only transmits and stores voice data, a SIP trunk allows you to do the same but with multimedia data, like video, images, and text. The two are often conflated, but a SIP Trunk will almost always include audio, or voice data. Therefore, it is able to encompass VoIP as well. 

If your organisation uses other ways to communicate with customers alongside your phone system, a SIP trunk will also allow you to collect data on emails, chat messages, and more. This will give you a more complete dataset to evaluate how you’re performing and how well you’re serving your customers’ needs overall. 

It’s also worth taking into account consumer preferences when choosing your channels of customer care. Organisations that offer contact forms or live chat on their sites tend to see a very positive response. This makes sense when you consider 53% of millennials prefer to communicate via text rather than phone calls, according to research by OpenMarket.

All in all, a SIP trunk is simply another hosted option, which can be beneficial if your business has multiple channels of communication with your customer base.

Is a hosted phone system or SIP trunk right for my business?

Ultimately, it’s down to you whether you think the benefits of a hosted phone system or SIP trunk will bring value to your business. The costs of switching and potential disruptions to your service should all be carefully considered. However, there are a variety of ways in which cloud service providers can help to ease the transition, like weekend installation and using existing equipment.

As well as the benefits above, making the switch sooner could help you get ahead of the curve when it comes to WLR Withdrawal. As the date draws closer for Openreach to begin removing copper phone lines, hosted phone system providers are going to much busier than normal as so many businesses and organisation make the switch.

By 2025, all telephony in the UK will be reliant on cloud based services, so switching now could help you to future-proof your business and avoid the rush!

How can I make the switch to a hosted phone system?

If you’d like to switch to a cloud based service today, feel free to visit our site to browse our Cloud Voice business packages. At National Business Communications, we always strive to provide the best possible phone and broadband services to help your business run smoothly. 

You can choose from three cloud based business packages, all of which come with unlimited UK calls to both mobile and landline, over 40 business-grade features such as number porting, and no installation or activation fees. 

You can opt for our core Cloud Voice package, or upgrade to Enterprise or Enterprise Plus for additional features and benefits, which include a free Auto Attendant feature.

If you are also interested in any of our other product offerings, including superfast business broadband and mobile phone packages, feel free to visit our site to learn more. We are proud to provide support to businesses across the UK with modern telecoms solutions.

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