Phone Number Systems for Business: All You Need to Know

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Phone Number Systems for Business: All You Need to Know

on Thursday, 27 January 2022. Posted in Industry News

We cover all you need to know about business phone systems in this helpful blog.

What is a business phone system?

Business phone systems are multi-line telephone systems designed for business use. They consist of multiple interconnected phones, with features like call transferring, call monitoring, call conferencing and more to help with organisation and efficiency.

Systems vary in size from business to business, ranging from a few telephones in a small office to vast systems used in large companies. The most common system is a traditional phone system, where a single telephone line connects two or more phones. To make traditional systems better equipped for a working environment, businesses can add extra lines, more advanced software, internet, a private branch exchange (PBX) and more.

What are the different types of business phone systems? 

Multi-line telephone systems

Multi-line telephone systems are more advanced versions of traditional phone systems. Made with multiple lines, they allow companies to divert calls to the relevant department. If each department has its own line, dealing with incoming calls is far more efficient, and clients get a much better customer experience.

It's possible to tailor multi-line telephone systems so that they suit your particular organisation. For example, all incoming calls can be made to go through an individual handset, where a secretary can then redirect the call to the relevant department. They make dealing with incoming calls smooth and simple.

Benefits of multi-line systems

  • They have multiple lines and handsets
  • They provide popular call handling features
  • They allow you to assign each department its own extension
  • They're great for small businesses
  • They're affordable

PBX system

A PBX system is a telephone system is a system within an organisation that can switch calls between users on local lines, while allowing all users to share a number of external phone lines. They’re similar to multi-line systems; the main difference is that the former’s call handling features are automatic. Let’s look into this in more detail.

What's the difference between multi-line and PBX systems?

In a multi-line system, callers are connected to the centre handset and greeted by someone within the organisation. The caller states their query and the agent manually redirects them to the relevant department. 

In a PBX system, callers are met with an automated voice which gives them a list of options they can select from. The caller chooses the department they're looking for and the call is redirected. PBX systems don't require an agent to answer the central phone and redirect callers, helping businesses save money. They're also more efficient for both the caller and the company, as the caller isn't required to repeat their query and is redirected more quickly. Plus, PBX systems can connect to the internet, allowing organisations to make the most of more advanced software integrations. This can lead to valuable insights, such as the length and volume of your calls, as well as your frequency of incoming calls.

Benefits of PBX systems:

  • They have multiple lines and handsets
  • They're great for small businesses 
  • Connect to the internet for more features
  • They eliminate the need for someone to answer a central phone 
  • They save businesses money as they don't require each user have a line to the company's central office

VoIp systems

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems are cloud-based phone systems that use the internet to send and receive calls. Voice signals are translated into packets which are then sent via the internet. Once the packets reach their destination, they're converted back to voice messages. VoIP systems can either be set up on-premise or hosted remotely on the cloud - for this reason, they’re also referred to as cloud-based phone systems.

You can use the Virtual Landline app to transform your mobile into a VoIP phone. Learn more about how to get the most out of the Virtual Landline app, and compare VoIP apps vs VoIP desk phones.

Benefits of VoIP:

  • VoIP can save your business money
  • Multiple lines and handsets
  • Most up-to-date technology
  • Great for all businesses
  • They're cheap
  • They improve accessibility 
  • They're easy to scale 
  • Get advanced call handling features
  • Better voice quality
  • Multitasking features
  • They’re secure

Virtual phone numbers

Virtual phone numbers are numbers that aren't tied to a specific device or location. Businesses use virtual numbers for a variety of reasons: freephone numbers and national numbers give the appearance that a company has a national presence, local numbers imply that a business has offices in a specific area and memorable numbers make customers and potential customers more likely to remember a company. Whatever the method, virtual numbers help businesses increase their volume of incoming calls, likely leading to an increase in conversions.

At Virtual Landline, we offer some of the most affordable virtual numbers in the UK, with a variety of fantastic tariffs to suit you. The ability to divert calls to a mobile or landline anywhere in the world means you can thrive in a dynamic marketplace, appealing to customers throughout the UK and expanding your business.

View our FAQs, learn more about how it works and sign up for your virtual number today.

Why are business telephone systems important?

Regardless of how big your business is, business phone systems are vital. Let's look at why.

They improve customer service and experience 

Business phone systems make the customer journey more efficient, improving service and experience so they're more likely to convert and return.

They allow you to be more flexible

Business phone systems allow employees to be more flexible - an essential quality in all dynamic working environments. They allow employees to easily make internal and external calls, redirect calls to mobile phones, use the same number for multiple devices and so much more. With VoIP systems, companies can access valuable customer insights, while relocating with cloud-based systems is easy.

They improve internal communication

From easily transferring calls to call conferencing, business phones improve your internal communication so you’re more efficient.

Boost conversions and ROI

A more productive, organised and efficient team is likely to increase sales, while improved customer service is sure to boost ROI.

What business phone system is best for you?

When choosing a business phone system, you’ll have to decide whether you want an on-premise (multi-line or PBX) or a cloud-based (VoIP) system. Let’s look at each in more detail.

On-premise systems vs cloud-based systems

There are advantages and disadvantages of both on-premise and cloud-based systems. On-premise systems give organisations the security of having equipment on site; however, this involves an upfront cost, and going forward, an engineer will be required to make any upgrades or additions to the line.

The only on-site hardware that cloud-systems require is the phones. Upgrading is easier, and you'll be able to add additional lines yourself as your business expands. There's an initial set-up fee and then a monthly fee for each user. 

On-premise systems

For years, on-premise phone systems were the only real option available, and involve connecting all phone extensions are linked to a phone network. Private branch exchange (PBX) is just another name for an on-premise system.

They usually involve a one-off upfront cost; however, it's possible you'll be able to agree a lease. Businesses who feel that they're not quite ready for the cloud opt for on-premise systems, as there is security in knowing that the phone system is visible and accessible.

Cloud-based systems

Also known as 'hosted phone systems', cloud-based systems connect all extensions to one another and the public phone network via the internet. This means that they don't require any hardware on the site other than the phones themselves. They're straightforward to set up, and involve monthly costs per user.

As a third option, it's possible to connect to VoIP services and access their features from an on-premises phone system. In this way, businesses can save money by making calls over the internet while still maintaining hardware on the premises.

Since cloud-based systems require little to no hardware, they can be cheaper than on-premise systems. They’re more scalable than on-premise systems, and are easier to back up than multi-line and PBX phone systems.


With an on-premise system, you'll be able to get great features like voicemail, group calls, call transfer and more. The main issue comes when you want to upgrade or amend your system: you'll have to pay for these, and an engineer will need to come and physically upgrade your hardware.

You'll be able to get the same great features that are essential to an efficient business on cloud-based systems. The main difference between the two systems is related to upgrades. On cloud-based systems, upgrades are automatic, and you won't need an engineer to come out and change anything for you. Adding new users is simple, and maintenance and upgrades are included as part of your package.

Call quality

While call quality is often a concern for those considering a cloud-based phone system, it need not be: call quality is equal or better on cloud-based systems.


Cloud-based systems can be cheaper than on-premise systems, although this is not always the case. For cloud-based systems, you'll need to pay a set-up cost, buy the handsets and pay a monthly fee for each user. 

On-premise systems are usually more expensive initially, as you'll need to pay for the necessary hardware. You'll also need to pay for any upgrades or additions further down the line. However, leasing options are often available for on-site systems, meaning you'll be able to better spread the cost.

So which is better?

Different phone systems are better suited to different businesses. It’s important to consider whether your business is going to grow. If the answer is yes, then a cloud-based system may be the best choice, as it offers the most scalability.

Do you need physical desk phones or could you use a virtual service that utilises mobile devices? If the former is the case, then look into multi-line or PBX systems; if the latter is true, then you may be better suited to a virtual service. We offer a variety of virtual numbers that redirect calls to a mobile or landline wherever you are in the world.

Why choose Virtual Landline for your business phone number? 

We offer a wealth of virtual phone numbers to suit your business, all at great prices. As part of our promise, we offer no contract plans and a range of other benefits, making the choice easy! Read more about why you should choose Virtual Landline, view our case studies for real-life success stories.

Sign up today to boost your incoming calls and increase ROI.

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