A vitally important part of building and maintaining relationships with your customers is having reliable communication facilities. A business telephone system is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your customers but you need to get the right tools for the job.

The phone system may need to incorporate multiple lines, VoIP, Analogue, ISDN or a combination but that’s only part of it. Every user needs a good quality handset with different features that is compatible with your phone system. Therefore, you need to make the right choice when selecting a telephone system handset – it needs to fit with your current phone system as well as being user friendly.

Expensive handsets may not necessarily be the correct handset for your needs. There are various factors that need to be considered when you make this type of investment as the typical life span of a phone system is 10 years. You will need to give careful thought to what you need from a telephone system, including the current number of users, and potential future expansion as well as the specific functions required.

Once you have this list of requirements you need to check what type of phone your current infrastructure will support them for instance, its no-good ordering IP handsets if you only have traditional telephone cabling or Digital handsets if you have no spare capacity on your current system.

There are a variety of different handset types including:

  • IP Handsets – using Voice over IP technology and innovative features;
  • Digital Handsets – ensuring a superior level of desktop usability and comfort;
  • Analogue Handsets – traditional business handsets offering simplicity; and low cost
  • Dect Handsets – cordless, so no wires but offer limited features.

Benefits and Features

Once you know what type of phone then you need to work out which model. IP and Digital handsets referred to as Keyphones, often look the same and have the same features. Many come with high visibility back-lit LCD display screens with alpha numeric display and clear touch screen displays. Some handsets have larger displays than others, with caller display, a call time and call log feature, making returning calls a quick and effortless process.

Larger phones have more buttons to give easy access to features and navigation on the handsets make selecting the different features simpler and easier.

Both IP and Digital Keyphones have LED buttons in various colours to allow operators to identify when lines or extensions are busy, or available and allow easy call transfer.

Self-labelling keys allow users to add favourite numbers, extensions or external lines making them accessible and simple to use. They can also be used to add additional functions to the handsets.

Keyphones are often more ergonomically designed and are manufactured from high quality materials, so work and wear really well, giving great ROI.

Most will also allow headsets to be connected either wired or wireless/Bluetooth so users can still take calls without lifting the receiver or even when they are away from their desk.

Do not be convinced that the most expensive system will be best suited to your business needs; it’s important to get the right handset for the job in hand. Top-of-the-range models with hundreds of features which you may never use just add clutter and can detract from the features that will truly benefit your system the most; not to mention, they also cost a lot more.

Analogue phones, on the other hand, tend to be both basic in function and not always of the same quality but this is reflected in the price. The lack of features make them unsuitable for office phones but may be OK for other functions such as warehouse or workshop locations.

Dect phones are a more specialist requirement and often need Dect Cell stations installing around a building so the users can roam but still make calls without running out of range. Features are limited mainly due the size of the phone but quality isn’t. However you will need to consider how they are going to be used and how long they will last without wearing out as they get a lot more wear than a desk based phone but cost the same or more.

In summary don’t skimp on quality but don’t just buy the most expensive as many of the features won’t be used. Make sure anything you buy will work on your existing system before you place the order and if you are not sure then get in touch with someone who knows exactly how to pick the right handset for your system.