Your business phone system is arguably one of the most important parts of your business. Even if your business uses email, text messages, social media, and a website to reach customers, nothing compares to the immediate and personal connection that comes with a phone call. Choosing the right business phone system, however, requires careful consideration. A phone system that serves your business well, now and into the future, is worth every penny you invest into it.
What to Look for in a Business Phone System
1. Scalability: Adding Phones as your Company Grows
As your business grows, you’ll likely need to add staff. Hiring additional staff means adding phones to your system. Is this easy or difficult to do? Some phone systems require elaborate setup if you want to add another person, while others require a service call from your provider. Systems like Allworx plug right into your existing computer network, so adding more workers is a breeze.
2. Backup Land Lines: If the Internet goes out, Do you Lose Your Phone System?
Voice over IP (VoIP) is popular for many reasons, but problems with your internet connection could mean your phones won’t work. Is there a backup plan for this scenario?
3. Call Volume: How Big is your Phone System, not How Loud
How many people are using your phone system at once? The number of calls your business receives in a day can affect how well your phone system works. If your customers can’t reach you because of your system’s limitations, you could lose business.
4. Who Answers the Phone: Receptionist-Routed or Call Tree?
Initial contact with your business is a very important consideration. How you want your customers treated during that initial contact can affect your company’s image. Do you want calls to go to a central receptionist and then routed, into an IVR where callers will press one for this or two for that, or will everyone have direct dial numbers?
5. How Many Locations are Working Together?
If you have offices in multiple locations, a hosted phone system can allow you to dial anyone on your system with three digit dialing. Offices across the country can talk to each other like they are in the next room.
6. Advanced Phone System Features
Advanced features like this are sometimes built in, and sometimes carry an additional fee. Tell your consultant all of the different ways you use your phones. Do you need features like call queues, outlook integration, call routing, call recording, or reporting? Also consider what will make the best customer service experience. If routing calls to whoever is available is better than voicemail jail, ask for those features.
7. How Much Work is it going to be to maintain this system?
The maintenance of your phone system can be a big part of its success… or failure. Find out how easy the system is to use, if it will be a good fit for your staff, or if your provider will serve as the IT department to keep the system running as a service. Don’t be tempted by the cost of a used or refurbished phone system. If you have to do a lot of repairs and maintenance on a used phone system, you are signing yourself up for trouble.
8. Is it a Mobile Friendly Phone System?
Increasingly, there are people entering the workforce who have never used a desk phone, or, by the very nature of their job description, may never need one. If your staff is on the go or mobile phone savvy, you need a phone system that blends in nicely with the way they work. Call forwarding, VoIP, and digital voicemail sent via email are all things that can make life much easier for your mobile workers.
9. Conference Calls
Even with all the technology available today, the conference call is still a fact of life for many businesses. The structure of conference calls can present challenges for your phone system. Are you going to be using multiple phones at the same time to conference call? Are you going to have several people talking with people outside of your network in a conference call? These make a difference in your system and in what you pay for, so talk about this early also. Sometimes it is no big deal for several people on the same network to talk to each other, but conferencing with a lot of customers off the network changes your system. Plan ahead and get a well-rounded solution. You don’t want to overpay for something you don’t need or limit your productivity.
10. Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery
If a disaster strikes – a significant weather event, a fire in your building, construction that disrupts phone service – keeping your lines of communication open is extremely important. Being able to respond during times of emergency is critical. What kind of recovery can your business expect in such a situation? Can your provider help to eliminate downtime for your phone system if a disaster occurs? Can your phone system be rerouted to another location? Your business depends on its phones – don’t let downtime become your company’s downfall.
Take Time to Ask Questions Before you buy an Office Phone System
Your office phone system is an investment into the long-term success of your company. Each of these ten points is an essential element to consider when evaluating the value of such an investment. Need help deciding what business phone system is right for your company? Lieberman Technologies can assess your business’ needs and recommend a telecom solution that will work for your business, both now and in the long-term.