Whenever someone makes the dramatic statement that phone calls are dead, we always have a little chuckle to ourselves. Try telling that to our customer account managers in our call centre, who process up to 30 calls each from the one client every single day!
Sure, there have never been more ways to communicate with people than at this very moment. Beyond phone calls, we use smartphones, SMS, email, social media, VoIP, and video conferencing to convey a message.
But if you talk to customers on a daily basis through your business phone system, then it’s still just as important as ever.
Struggling to manage a growing fleet, or your current system’s just not doing it for you?
Here are five steps to follow when choosing a new or updated phone system for your workplace.
1. Determine your overarching need
The first part to choosing a business phone system is identifying your overall endeavour. Which of the following categories do you best fall into?
a) You need to install a new phone system
You are likely a new business that needs to start from somewhere. Perhaps you just need to get a simple system up and running, but with the capacity to expand in the future (see point C). But right now, you just need to get the phones hooked up.
b) You are replacing an existing phone system
You have been dealing with it long enough, but your current system is just not right for your business needs.
Maybe at the time it was substantial, but now your business has evolved or gone through significant changes. Whatever the reason, the relationship between your business and your landline system is no longer perfect.
c) You’re expanding an existing business phone system
You are using a great system that definitely has potential, like business growth that needs to be accommodated, or more advanced and up-to-date technologies that need to be integrated.
Your current position – and therefore overall need – should be a driving catalyst that helps you make a decision, so start there.
2. Choose between landline and VoIP
Once again, there’s no right or wrong answer here; it will depend on your particular business needs. You might find yourself entering into this process focused on one over the other, and that’s OK!
Don’t discount the other entirely, though. Additionally, keep in mind that you should periodically reassess your business’s phone system and observe changing behaviours and patterns that might well result in reevaluating your phone strategy.
Benefits of a landline (Schepisi’s choice is one of our Mitel phone systems) include outstanding sound quality and clarity, and robust phone packages are specific and tailored to business needs.
VoIP, on the other hand, can be more budget friendly, as it uses your internet connection to place and receive calls. Quality cannot be considered 100 per cent reliable, but for many businesses the world over, VoIP has proven to be a steadfast method to keep local and international calling costs at a favoured low.
(In fact, we can go into much more detail when it comes to the landline vs. VoIP debate. So much so that we’ll save more information for a future post – keep an eye out for it!)
*EDIT | May 2015 * That post is here! Check it out:
3. Analyse your current phone system situation
What is your current call volume? Is this likely to increase in the future? (Think about any new staff you are seeking to help manage a growing call volume).
Then, you can think about how the phone will be used:
i) Will there be multiple handsets for call centre representatives, plus a couple across a number of boardrooms for regular conference calls?
ii) Will the majority of your team conduct their work remotely; from home; or from statewide, national, and global offices?
iii) Do you envisage a bustling call centre that receives (or makes) a heavy number of calls, day-in and day-out?
iv) Will you rely more heavily on other tools (particularly smartphones, but also video conferencing), but still need a phone system for general communication?
4. Consider scalability and flexibility
This factor is no doubt tied into the previous one: it’s important to assess not only your current situation, but that too of your proposed situation moving forward. Do you envisage accommodating growth within the next 12 or 24 months?
Perhaps a VoIP solution, with the abundance of flexibility it can bring to your workplace, would be a better choice for a growing business.
5. Choose a secure business phone system
Along with the exceptional communication means offered with telecommunication systems comes the fear of network security and safety.
You must choose a phone system that promotes secure communications and protection of sensitive information.
Action the following to help keep your connection secure:
• Apply passwords to access voicemail
• Delete sensitive or confidential voice messages
• Immediately report anything that doesn’t seem quite right
We’ve said it many times across all of our telecommunication tools, but it is really true that there is no cookie-cutter solution when it comes to business communication.
Company size, budget, requirements, location and additional features are just some of the factors that need to be fleshed out and considered when planning a new, updated or expanded business phone system.
Are you in need of a new (or expanded) business phone system? You know where to start: