If you’re running a business, chances are you have some sort of phone system in place. At some point you may start considering an upgrade or choosing a new business phone system altogether. As part of this process, you’ll probably be asking yourself, “How many phone lines do I need for my business?” Let’s take a look at what goes into answering that question.
The phrase “phone line” is a holdover from the past days of analog phone systems. Back then, it was used to describe, quite literally, a physical copper wire (or line) that carried a telephone signal. In those days, a business may have hundreds of physical lines running into their building because each person with a phone needed an individual line.
These days though, in the world of VoIP phones that don’t require physical lines of any kind, we use the phrase “phone line” loosely to describe several different things.
When you’re answering the question, “How many phone lines do I need for my business?” it’s important to be clear about your business’s needs. After all, an IT professional, a business owner, and a front-end user may all have different ideas about the definition of a business phone line.
With your business model and goals in mind, here are some of the ways you might designate a phone line in your organization.
Do each of your employees, or a specific group of your employees, need consistent access to a phone? If so, you may base your number of lines on the total number of employees (also called users) who need phone access.
If you’re in the market for physical phones, the number of phones you need may be used to designate your number of lines. For example, five conference rooms, each with a physical phone, would then be considered five lines.
For businesses with multiple offices, you might consider each office – each with their own phone number – as a business line. Alternatively, if your business has one office but can be reached by dialing various phone numbers, each of these numbers may be considered a line.
Related: How Do I Get a Business Phone Number?
A single inbound or outbound call may be considered a line, meaning a phone line is “in use.” In this case, the maximum number of simultaneous inbound and outbound calls your company handles at a given time may be used to determine the number of lines you need. For example, if your call center could potentially be on as many as 50 inbound and/or outbound calls simultaneously, then your business needs 50 lines.
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