Even though the internet has allowed businesses to communicate with staff and customers in many ways, telephones still play an important role in businesses today. Your business likely uses landline, mobile or digital phones to share information throughout departments, handle inquiries from customers and clients, book appointments for essential services and hold conference calls.

Other common uses of a telephone in business range from handling sales and conducting market research to interviewing and training employees. The advantages of telephone use lie in how it allows for more personal and immediate communication.

Basic Office Communication

While many offices use email and instant messaging for employees to communicate with each other, telephone systems still remain an essential way for workers to share important messages. Your front-desk personnel can use phone systems to page managers and employees, and departments can ask questions and coordinate with each other over the phone.

Your workers can also call each other about appointments or problems that occur and get more urgent help than they might when sending an email. Remote or traveling workers can also make phone calls to keep you updated on their work and report any problems.

Telephones also allow your staff to leave voice messages for managers and other employees after hours if there's an important update to share. For example, an employee may need to leave a voicemail if he becomes sick and needs to report his absence when nobody's at the office. At the same time, phone systems can have automated features that allow workers to get redirected to the home phone number of a manager if an emergency occurs.

Sales and Procurement

Along with sales through the company's website or physical storefront, the telephone plays a major role in many businesses that offer products or services. Sales staff can use telephones to call leads they've generated through marketing lists or online research or leave voicemails prompting potential buyers to follow up with the company.

Customers can learn more about the company's offerings over the phone and can even place an order with a credit card to close the sale immediately. Employees can also hold phone interview sessions with potential buyers and make presentations that help customers with their buying decisions.

Similarly, a company's managers and employees can call vendors and place orders for necessary supplies and services. They can also call around to get quotes, ask questions and get assistance with orders.

Customer Service and Support

In addition to using a phone to make sales, your business can use phone systems that allow workers to offer customer support and direct calls as needed. For example, if you operate a small medical office, your front-desk worker probably uses a phone to book appointments, help with refill requests, address insurance issues and redirect emergency calls to doctors.

If you own a computer repair company, you'd probably have customers who call to schedule repair visits, ask about pricing and even get live technical support over the phone. General offices can use phone systems to make and accept calls from clients about project status or vendors about order requests.

Emergency Calls and Security

Having a mobile phone, a landline or any of the other types of telephones will come in handy when your company needs to call the police, fire department or other emergency services due to a medical emergency, burglary or other crisis. You can also use telephones to call utility companies, plumbers, electricians, pest control providers and other companies when you need a problem fixed as soon as possible and avoid disruption to your business.

If your company has a security system, you may need a landline telephone system installed for the system to work properly and to report incidents to the security provider and local authorities.

Employee Recruitment and Hiring

While you likely take job applications in person or through the internet, telephone systems still play an important role in the recruiting and hiring processes. Often, you'll do a short informal interview by phone before inviting a potential job candidate to come to your office.

Throughout the hiring process, you can use the telephone to communicate with applicants about their application status, request follow-up visits, give instructions, set up training or share your final hiring decision. You'll usually also use the phone to contact a candidates' professional references to verify information about their experience and work ethic.

Business Information Requests

Your business will likely sometimes use the telephone to contact other businesses or local organizations to ask questions or discuss collaborations. For example, if you plan to seek a specific business permit in your city, you might contact the town clerk to learn about the process or schedule an appointment for any inspection required.

You might also reach out by phone to the organizer of a local facility about setting up a booth to advertise your company or host a hiring event. The same applies if you're interested in partnering with another local company or want to reach out to an owner about leasing a building for your office.

Market Research Activities

Telephone systems also provide a good way to learn about what customers in your area need and how they feel about your company. You can create telephone surveys and reach out to existing customers to ask about their customer service experiences, feelings about your product or service's quality and the buying process in general.

You can also hold focus groups over the phone with multiple customers to get insights about customers' experiences with a specific product or service. The information you gain from these phone calls can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses and make improvements that lead to a better reputation and more sales.

Company Meetings and Group Calls

Another one of the widespread uses of a telephone in business is for holding meetings with staff. Whether your staff works in one office, multiple offices or remotely, you can hold conference calls where you share important announcements, learn about progress on important projects and offer feedback that can help workers improve their productivity and work quality. To make the experience even more interactive, you can combine a conference call with an online conferencing application that shows a presentation or video.

Business Advantages of Telephone Use

Along with their many uses, telephones offer several advantages to your small business's operations. Despite the availability of online communication, some customers still prefer to talk to a live person, so you might get more responses from customers through the phone.

A telephone call also becomes harder for your employees to ignore, so you can benefit from a faster response and more attention from workers when you have important information to share. In turn, this can boost your workforce's productivity since you have less of a delay when you need to make requests or change project roles or tasks.

Another one of the advantages of telephone use in business shares much with online communication. Both methods allow you to stay in touch wherever you go so you can freely travel to different locations or even work remotely without worrying about communication. Even if a place has slow or unreliable internet access, you can likely still place calls without an issue and save time you'd waste trying to fix technical issues.