How to Choose a Telephone for your Home or Office or Home Office?
||Home > How to Choose a Telephone for your Home or Office or Home Office?
| Okay, so you need a telephone or multiple telephones, or you wouldn't
be reading this, so let me give you a step-by-step to help you determine
which telephone you need. The point of this guide is to simplify this
process, so here we go.
NOTE: This guide is not for
businesses that have more than 4 people that require telephone usage
or that have call volume which requires more than 4 Lines. If this
applies to your business, please Contact
1- Take an honest look at the features you need
You need to take an honest look at the features you need out of
your telephone. Choose features based on the needs of your home,
office, or Home Office; don't demand features you don't need or
exclude ones you will need, like ones that make your office more
efficient. Choose from features below... and write them down.
2- Determine how many lines you need
For Home users, you might need:
For office users, you might need:
- Expandable Phones
- Caller ID
- Phone directory
- Data port
- Voicemail message waiting indication
- Memory loss protection
- 3 Party conferencing
- Call transfer
- One-touch memory buttons
- Paging between phones
- Headset jack
- Wall mountable
- LCD display
- Volume control
- Do not disturb
- Display dial
- Line privacy
- Centex compatible
- Remote access
- Auto attendant (Incoming callers can be routed to a specific
Write this down too! Home users will rarely need more than one line,
but small offices need anywhere from 1 to 4 lines, depending on
the volume of calls coming in and being made, and how many people
will be using phones in the office.
3- Determine HOW you would like to fulfill your message storage
If it is a small business with about 3 people, four lines and 3
phones might be optimal, so there is at least one line available
for incoming calls if all three people are on the phone.
You will either use business or residential voicemail through your
phone company or buy the hardware (answering machine built in to
the phone(s) or an attachment) to do this.
4- Do you need Centrex Service?
The phone company charges a monthly fee, and businesses pay a bit
more for the service than residences.
The great thing about voicemail from the phone company is that if
all the lines are busy (all four lines, pulling from the example
above), the phone company routes the caller into the voicemail,
rather than giving them a busy signal and you losing a client; or
making one angry and frustrated wondering why on earth a business
is allowing a busy signal, especially in this day and age? (Still
Home users should be able to decide by this point! See applicable
For business users only, you must determine whether you will need
Centrex service from the phone company.
5- Do you need an 800 number?
This service allows your Four-Line
Telephones to have more advanced functionality, such as lines
in rotary, which is a service that accesses the next available line
for voice communications. So, for instance, if you're on Line 1
and your two other employees are on Line 2 and Line 3, then the
next call will come in on Line 4, even though the caller dialed
the main line (usually Line 1).
So with this service, you need only give out the number of your
main line (you can even attach an 800 number to this line and give
Centrex also gives you the ability to transfer calls to other lines/phones
(land or cellular). Some features exist with the Phone Company,
with hardware or with both. Other than these features just mentioned,
usually a 4 Line phone has most of the features needed (please make
Determine whether you need or want and can or can't afford an 800
6- Some phones have an auto attendant built in!
Some companies absolutely need this; although it would be customer
service friendly for every business, usually it is only mandatory
for retailers or companies taking orders over the phone or trying
to give incentive for customers to call in.
A dentist, for example, might not find this to be a great investment.
For companies who absolutely need it, an 800 number is most likely
a variable expense based on sales, so it might not be a bad investment.
It is fairly cheap these days — under ten cents a minute nationwide
with the right plan, and initial setup fees are usually a few dollars
(please call your phone company for more info)
Some phones like the Panasonic
KX-TG4500 4-Line Phone have an auto attendant, which can be programmed
to route calls based on the option chosen by the caller after a
list of routing options are given (all other telephones in the office
must be ATT 984 telephones).
This hardware feature would preclude the voicemail from the phone
company because every telephone will have its own answering machine.
This will give the office more flexibility and efficiency since
everyone can check their own answering machine.
Now you are informed and are clear about the features and service
you need; I think you're ready to choose now. Please link to the
appropriate section below:
Single Line Corded Phones
2 Line Corded Phones
4 Line Corded Phones
For Cordless Phones
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