The easy part is over. You have committed to replacing your bulky, legacy phone equipment and to no longer solve 21st century business problems with 20th century technologies. Now comes the hard part…how on Earth do you find the perfect upgraded office phone system for your thriving business?
There might have been countless signs telling you that it’s time to upgrade your phone—from the realization that your current business phone system is incompatible with VoIP technology to the understanding that your antiquated hardware can no longer support your rapid business growth. And then, of course, there’s the fact that legacy phone systems present a myriad of obstacles from expensive hardware upgrades to outdated features to confusing maintenance contract requirements.
You are not alone in your quest to upgrading your office phone system. In fact, according to a 2103 survey conducted by Dimensional Research, 70 percent of businesses with traditional on-premises phone systems find their current phone systems insufficient when it comes to handling today’s business needs. Moreover, 92 percent of respondents find the benefits of a cloud-based phone system compelling, expressing particular interest in having simpler UIs for administrators, advanced mobile apps, and scalable systems.
Now begins the real challenge—finding the right office phone system to address your unique needs. So, where do you begin? By considering the following:
Understand Your Employees’ Needs
If your company’s success hangs on the ability of your sales team to close deals and appease customers, then you probably need to start casting your eyes to a phone system that boasts extensive conferencing capabilities—with support for both video and audio conferencing—so that your sales team can interact in real-time with prospective clients. Moreover, you will need a phone system that offers Find Me/Follow Me capabilities, two call forwarding services that allow your sales team to receive calls at any location and to be reached at several phone numbers.
Conversely, if the lifeblood of your business is within the confines of your call center, then you will need to find a phone system boasting several different features. These features might include an auto attendant, which allows callers to be transferred to an extension based on their selection from a menu; call recording, so that your call center managers can replay interactions between agents and customers to identify areas for improvement; and a predictive dialer, which minimizes the amount of time agents spend waiting between conversations.
Simply put, before choosing your new office phone system, evaluate the needs of your employees and identify technologies that will bolster productivity and augment employee performance. The right business phone system offers a plethora of advanced features from inbound/outbound call detail reports to voicemail to email notifications to intercom groups. Put your ala carte wish list together before deciding on your next phone system.
Ask The Right Questions
With the average business only changing its office phone system once every seven years, many businesses are ill-equipped when it comes to the reviewing, purchasing and implementing of a new system. Therefore, asking the right questions is critically important. There are several questions to keep in mind as a business owner before you even begin shopping for your new phone. They include:
Who should be involved in the selection and purchase of your new phone system? At the end of the day, who will need to rely on this new system the most?
- What are three capabilities you wish your legacy system had but doesn’t.
- Where will your business be five years from now? 10 years from now? What phone capabilities will you need to support your continued growth?
- Are you looking to migrate your phone system in the cloud or keep it on-premises?
- What’s more important: a cheaper phone system with limited capabilities or a more expensive one that is fully baked?
Once you have created your list of questions to guide you through your search, the next step is to begin completing your market research. Whether it’s comparing the different services afforded by equipment providers or taking a look at the technologies used by your competitors, keep your eyes open when you begin your quest to find a new office phone system.
At the end of the day, your final question should be “How can I compete more aggressively with my office phone system?” Once you figure out the capabilities that will allow you to lap your competitors on the track, you are well on your way to finding the right system.
Determine What You Need In A Vendor
Depending on what you hope to achieve with your brand new phone system, there are different expectations you will have for your equipment vendor. For example, if your IT team is robust and well-equipped to handle even the most complex of technology challenges, you may be more focused on a vendor that boasts best-in-class phone capabilities instead of around-the-clock IT support. Conversely, if your IT team is best characterized as two to three staffers who are “jacks of all trades, masters of none,” then perhaps having a vendor who can address any and all technology concerns—from implementation to troubleshooting months down the road—is of the utmost importance.
Today’s vendors offer a plethora of benefits from cost savings to clear call quality to reliability to decades-long expertise. While some promise you a turnkey solution that is easy to manage, others provide enterprise-grade features that will bring flexibility, efficiency and scalability to your business. Find the provider that best understands the functions and features needed and wanted in your new system—a vendor that speaks your language when it comes to your office phone system requirements. A good indication that a potential vendor understands your unique pain points and forward-facing objectives is one who already works with companies similar to you and your business model. Ask your provider to talk about the size and scope of its existing client base, and don’t be afraid to ask for customer referrals or case studies that you can review. Chances are, you will not be investing in another phone system for years to come, so make sure to perform your due diligence when it comes to selecting the right provider the first time around.
With your checklist in hand, you are ready to hit the market, finding that best-of-breed phone equipment provider that can transform your office environment with its cutting-edge technology. Ready to start knocking items off your checklist?