Have you ever lost business because you missed an important call? Do you ever feel that you’re lighting money on fire by buying and maintaining desk phones that you don’t even use anymore? Are international call forwarding services eating into your bottom line?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then you may benefit from a cloud phone system. So, what exactly is it?

A cloud phone system allows you to make calls over an internet connection, instead of a phone network (think: cables and landlines). Making the switch will transform your business phone from old school ☎️ to best in class.📱 

The key feature of a cloud phone system is that it allows you to make calls or send messages through an app on your mobile phone or computer. This gives you high call quality and advanced features — like call routing and call recording — whether you’re located in an office or not.

Let’s take a look at how a cloud phone system works and its benefits as well as the features you should look for when choosing a cloud phone provider. 

How does a cloud phone system work?

A cloud phone system is sometimes referred to as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or telephony software.

The cloud phone service provider receives your phone calls in real time and then converts them into data packets. The data packets are transmitted through the internet and connected to the person you’re calling. This means that you can accept business calls and texts via an app on your mobile phone or PC.

It also means you don’t have the hassle and worry of a private branch exchange (PBX) — an on-premise phone server that your company would have to run and maintain itself.

These types of business VoIP systems allow you to have a simple and easy-to-use interface with tons of functionality features that your team will love. There’s no need to navigate complex menus on a desk phone or be tied to a landline when you can use a mobile app that runs like any other app on your phone.

There are three different cloud phone models available depending on the size of your business and your particular needs:

  1. Public Cloud: This is the most popular option for small businesses. It can be set up on a monthly per-user basis and runs over an internet connection. With this option, a small business can have the capabilities of larger companies without a large financial burden. Startups rejoice!
  2. Private Cloud: This is usually best for larger organizations and government entities that have to control and set customizable security levels for their users.
  3. Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud phone system is for companies that need a mix between a PBX phone system and a cloud platform. 

Features of a cloud phone system

A person using an app on their mobile phone

A cloud phone system or VoIP service has functionality features much like cellphones and desk phones. Additional features are constantly being added as the technology for mobile devices and mobile apps are updated. This means you can get the latest and greatest features by simply updating your app, instead of replacing or upgrading hardware. 

Here are some helpful features that you can look for when choosing a cloud phone system:

  • Local numbers: Easily establish a local presence with numbers that reflect your desired area code.
  • Toll-free numbers: Get a toll-free number so your customers aren’t saddled with pesky charges.
  • Global calling: Call virtually anyone in the world — super handy for modern-day teams that are spread out around the globe.
  • Text (SMS), picture (MMS), and group messaging: Send traditional texts, pictures, videos, and even have group messaging conversations. Go ahead, test out all the new emoji. 🤩
  • Auto-attendant with call routing: Make use of an automated virtual assistant, sometimes known as an IVR system, to direct callers to the right people.
  • Call recording: Record your calls for training, transcription, or a team member who was OOO.
  • Call forwarding: Enjoy call forwarding tailored to meet the needs of startups, small businesses, and large teams.
  • Voicemail to text: Receive voicemail transcriptions automatically via text message when you miss someone’s call — a godsend for remote workers on different time zones.
  • Multiple numbers: Use unique phone numbers on one device for specific purposes, such as sales, technical support, after-hours support, and so on.
  • Snippets and auto-replies: Create simple templates for frequently asked questions or set up automatic out-of-office replies so you can take that vacation in peace.
  • Video conferencing and screen sharing: Host a virtual meeting without having to pay for a separate teleconferencing subscription.
  • Keyboard shortcuts: Quickly navigate the app with easy-to-remember and customizable keyboard shortcuts.
  • Shared phone numbers: Think of this as a shared email inbox, but for a phone. Invite your assistant to your phone number to field your calls while you’re at a tradeshow, or assign multiple team members to one number to handle inbound sales inquiries.
  • Integrations with other tools: Boost your productivity by integrating with your most used apps, like Slack, HubSpot, Salesforce, Zapier, and more.

Organizations using the cloud to house their business communication systems benefit from unified communications. The versatility and flexibility provided by cloud phone systems allow users to enjoy enterprise-level features, even when they’re away from their desk or out of the office. 

Benefits of using a cloud phone system

Cloud phone systems have tons of benefits, like working with your current apps, keeping your business competitive, and saving money.

Integrate with your CRM

The best cloud phone systems have the ability to integrate with different CRM applications. There’s a wide selection of CRM software available that keep startups and small businesses like yours afloat. Your preferred communication software should definitely be able to leverage CRM capabilities. A few big names in the world of CRM are:

How does this help? If you use HubSpot for CRM and OpenPhone for your cloud phone system, for example, you can use HubSpot’s inbound and outbound calling features while using your OpenPhone number on the caller ID. 

Stay competitive

Customers expect to reach you when it’s convenient for them. Keep your customers happy by making sure your phone system is up to date with the latest advancements in technology. 

Also, reduce the need for IT support by avoiding the challenges of desk phone software rollouts and unexpected downtime. These issues can turn customers away and affect your bottom line.

When you switch to a cloud phone system, you not only reduce the complexity for the IT department (the true heroes of the team), but you can also ensure that you stay current with the technology that your customers expect.

Reduce financial and productivity costs

A cloud phone system removes your investment risk by minimizing hardware costs — like large PBX systems that sink your budget. This frees up cash flow and enables you to focus on projects that have a positive return, like that upcoming webinar or new social campaign.

Another benefit of a cloud phone system: It improves workflows by putting your team’s communication in one place. Additionally, you no longer have to deal with hardware issues or obsolescence.

And, your team will be up to speed in no time. The cloud phone system works via a mobile app on your iOS or Android cellphone. You can also access all the same features from a desktop or web app on your computer. 

Because your team is already familiar with these devices, there’s no need to spend time training or learning new complex phone systems. Instead, you can focus on making sales and servicing customers (or picking the perfect GIF reaction in Slack).

Flexible infrastructure and scaling

As a small business, things are moving fast. While your business and customer support needs grow, the size of your company shouldn’t prevent you from providing top-notch service. 

With a cloud phone system, you can quickly onboard new hires in any location by simply downloading an app — no need for traditional, time-consuming, and expensive hardware. Your employees will be able to hit the ground running and start making an impact with your customers.

Switching to communications in the cloud allows your business to focus on the customer and help your business scale at a moment’s notice, which is critical to growth.

Get started with a cloud phone system

A screenshot of the OpenPhone cloud phone system on a cellphone

Ditch your clunky landline and get on board with the best tech to stay connected to your customers. By moving your communication to the cloud, your customers can stay in touch hassle-free. Plus, you’ll be able to offer your customers the convenience of texting — instead of playing a game of phone tag.

OpenPhone can give you the flexibility you need as your business grows. Manage your day-to-day operations, close your next big sale, and provide dazzling customer support — all while enjoying significant cost savings over traditional phone systems. If you’re ready to take part in this cloud transformation, sign up for a free trial today in under a minute.

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Co-Founder at OpenPhone. Ukrainian-Canadian in SF. Love exploring new hiking trails.

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