The decision to invest in a new business phone system is one of the most import decision a business makes. Every single employee and almost every single current and prospective customer is going to interact with your phone system.
It is important to define your objectives.
1) Replacing an aging system or upgrading
2) Do you need specific features
3) What is your budget
4) How much internal resources can you devote to telecommunications
Are You Replacing An Aging System?
This is one of the most common reasons why companies end up with a new VoIP phone system. It is also when companies miss an amazing opportunity to take advantage of the many features available in VoIP. Many companies simply recreate their old phone system and stop there, without taking advantage of the powerful features built into their new phone system.
In certain situations it is actually a good idea to recreate the functionality of your old phone system and let your staff get comfortable using the new phone system. It is not a good to overwhelm your staff with a lot of new technology especially when they are trying to do their primary jobs.
One problem that often occurs in these situation is it often leads to staff frustration. The new system may do exactly what the old system did, but it probably does it differently. The phones look different, the steps to transfer, retrieve a voice mail message, retrieve a held call are all going to be a little different, and many people simply do not like change.
There are a couple of ways that VoIP phone system can help you overcome this, but this topic will be covered in a future post.
The beauty of VoIP is that you can easily make system changes to your system any time without having to call a technician. After the initial implementation and recreation of the old system many company’s feel they are finished and go back to business as usual. This is where they missed an enormous opportunity to reap the benefits of the system they just bought.
Features are what count
With Voice over IP, features are not just bells and whistles that are fun to play with, they are real tools that can be used to improve your company’s telecommunications that were not possible with traditional phone systems.
Most Hosted VoIP phone systems are loaded with features most regular people have never heard of like “Call Forwarding Selective”. Call Forwarding Selective is a VoIP calling feature that allows you to automatically forward calls coming from a specific number to another number. This can be used in situations when a person is travelling and wants to make sure they receive calls from a specific person like their boss or a hot prospect. In this situation, any VoIP user can log into their VoIP account on the web and tell the system to forward all calls from a specific number to their mobile phones.
This is just one example, there are literally hundreds of features that are standard with most VoIP systems that you can use in an unlimited ways to enhance employee productivity and improve customer service.
In-House Expertise & Resources
Do not believe a vendor who make statements about how easy to use their phone system is. You either need in-house VoIP and have sufficient internal resources that you can devote to managing telecommunications or by default, you will be relying on your VoIP Provider to fill the role.
Do a Background Checks
Be sure to check vendor implementation and support policies (does the vendor charge for ongoing support?) as well as customer references before you commit to a vendor. Unless you have someone in your organization who is extremely knowledgeable about VoIP and who you can dedicate to the implementation and ongoing management of your Hosted VoIP phone system, the assistance and support of the VoIP Provider is critical.
An easy way to judge is to carefully watch how you are treated by a vendor prior to signing up, because, if this part of the process was not acceptable, it will only get worse after they have your money.