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  How to Choose a Telephone for your Home or Office or Home Office?
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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 Us.

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.

    For Home users, you might need:
    For office users, you might need:
    • Speakerphone
    • Intercom
    • 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
    • Redial/hold/mute/flash
    • Volume control
    • Do not disturb
    • Display dial
    • Line privacy
    • Centex compatible
    • Remote access
    • Auto attendant (Incoming callers can be routed to a specific extension)
2- Determine how many lines you need
    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.

    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.
3- Determine HOW you would like to fulfill your message storage needs
    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.

    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 writing?)

    Home users should be able to decide by this point! See applicable Links below.
4- Do you need Centrex Service?
    For business users only, you must determine whether you will need Centrex service from the phone company.

    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 that out).

    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 sure).
5- Do you need an 800 number?
    Determine whether you need or want and can or can't afford an 800 number.

    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)
6- Some phones have an auto attendant built in!
    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

    » Still Need Help?

Listings in Previous Section:
·Why Everyone Should be Shopping and Buying Online ·How to Choose a Telephone for your Home or Office or Home Office? ·Need to know what a TTY is?
·Choosing a Headset? ·Why would your company need Conference Phones? ·RepairTech Warranty Plan
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