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New technologies continue hitting the market at a rapid pace. For most businesses, their phone system hasn't lost its central role. Surveys regularly report that more than three-fourths of companies attach very high priority to their business phone system.
But, what if your phone system is out of date and it’s time for an upgrade? How would you even know? We fear this day because we know there are common problems when switching your business phone system. It’s a task you’d probably instead put off, for now. Am I right?
For one thing, there will be a disruption.
“How will I know if this call is coming from the new system or the old system?” “
What about downtime?”
Another concern is, of course, the expense. There are pricing and costs associated with switching to a new system that steers many of us away.
“Won't an advanced system with new features cost more?”
“Won’t any switch cost me money?”
“What about operating charges when the system is in?”
All of these questions are valid concerns and ones you should be thinking about. Switching phone systems is a big step. It requires seeking and evaluating information—but just solely about the phone system itself or the provider.
A phone system switch also requires analyzing and understanding your own operations, the projected growth, and how your employees will benefit from new communication and data handling platforms.
Let's look at some common problems raised by changing your business phone system as some are less complex than they appear. While there are sometimes problems when switching, there can be a huge upside for your organization.
As a side note, the issue of cost cuts both ways. Making the initial switch could seem costly at first. But, the long-term savings are ones you’d find hard to pass up.
Top 5 Common Problems When Switching Your Business Phone System
Does it feel like it’s hard to keep up with new and emerging technology? We’re living in a faced-paced environment, and when it comes to upgrading our office devices, it might seem overwhelming trying to decide what’s best for your business.
A great way to organize your organization’s current needs is by understanding the associated and common problems that new technology brings to the table.
Here are our top five common problems that we see and hear about from our clients when they’re interested in switching or upgrading their phones.
Common Problem #1: Selecting The Type of Phone System
The landline, connected to the local telephone company, is the system of most of our businesses, despite the alternatives, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) through the cloud.
If you are switching your business phone system, you have various options for upgrades and new features for a landline-based system—the conservative choice.
A much bigger switch is to VoIP, which keeps desk phones in place, but makes calls over the internet available from a host of providers.
If you decide to switch to making your calls, you have made one big decision. You will stay with your desk phones but make your calls via the internet. There is no charge for local, long distance, or international calls over the internet; you pay, as you do anyway, just for internet service.
The third choice (after upgrading your landline or opt for VoIP) is a virtual business phone system. This system is "located" on the cellphones of all employees. Desk phones are gone (unless you want to maintain a redundancy).
At their best, virtual phone systems give you the best of traditional landlines (secure lines and clear call quality) with web applications’ mobility and flexibility.
But is your business prepared to not only use the internet for calling but to get rid of desk phones entirely? The answer probably has a lot to do with your type of work you do and the kinds of clients you serve.
A great way to determine the best office phone system is by partnering with a technology solutions provider, like AIS. A knowledgeable and accredited telecom provider can assess your business and choose the best fit for your individual needs. This can result in saving you time and cost in the research and selection process.
Common Problem #2: You’ve Waited Too Long To Make The Switch
Now that we have outlined the choices you have when switching your small business phone system, we can step back and look at the timing. There are severe risks in delaying your switch.
Your phone system gets heavy use—and you want it that way. Sales teams, internal communications, network systems, and other communications essential to your work take their toll on your system.
You can't function without your phones, so you need to plan. At some point, you will run into problems. Here’s a few of them:
- Obsolete Hardware: Every time new communications technology hits the market (and that is all the time), your phone system hardware becomes relatively outdated in its features and efficiency. For a while, it doesn't cry out for attention. But the best recommendation is to update your phone system every five to ten years. Staying proactive is vital.
- System Overloaded: If your business is growing, you will outgrow your offices and many other things, which is typically a good problem to have. But, you have to include a phone system that can handle increased call volume, video conferences, and data now sent through your network when budgeting for growth. A phone system subject to demands beyond its capacity isn't growing with you. In some cases, additional lines you need can't be added. But, that problem is gone forever when you invest in the switch to VoIP.
- Missing Features: New technologies and new systems typically increase efficiency and save time. For instance, how prepared were you when COVID-19 hit in terms of video conferencing tools and phone system integration to support employees working from home (WFH)? There are features available for your team members that support remote collaboration through communication that many of us depend on more than ever.
- Insufficient Support: If your phone system is outdated, it’s probably a challenge to find the right technical support and customer service team to assist with any issues.
Common Problem #3: Overlooking Demands For Data Gathering And Reporting
Collecting and storing data challenges today's business phone systems—as they challenge other technology we use, too. How many of us are aware that our phones offer us valuable data on customers?
For example, phone information can be integrated into a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track, measure, and analyze. Some of these data tracking tools include:
- Call logs to indicate high and low-volume periods.
- Average on-hold times
- Call recordings
- How long it took to secure a sale and the touchpoints your reps are making to their clients
This information helps you fine-tune your office operations long term, which translates into customer satisfaction. Your decisions can (and should) be data-driven, instead of relying solely on assumptions.
Common Problem #4: Getting The Cost-Benefits Wrong
Let’s start with your office phone bill for a typical month. Switching to an advanced business phone system can lower the monthly costs of your business communications. That probably is the most obvious reason to switch to a VoIP system.
Through VoIP, all your phone calls are transmitted over the internet for free. You don't need a fax machine, you can add unlimited additional phones, and it even handles call forwarding.
Compare the monthly costs of the landline and VoIP. With all calls free, you may save money. But as you compare telephone systems, you have to ask yourself if advancements in phone system technology can grow your business.
And keep in mind that if you expect your business to continue on its path of growth, VoIP or virtual systems are much more scalable.
If you turn for guidance to a telecom provider that helps you plan and manage phone system installations, you can expect unbiased information about the choices.
Common Problem #5: Not Taking The "Features Wish List" Seriously
It takes some time and communication throughout your business to identify the day-to-day bottlenecks and pain points that delay your business's progress to the next level.
Today's phone systems available to small businesses (SMBs) have remarkable features that boost productivity and pass the cost-benefit test.
Do you want your next phone system to make, receive, and manage them? Probably, yes! You want to improve the customer experience while increasing internal collaboration.
VoIP phone systems have features that landline systems cannot provide. Read our article to learn more, Small Business VoIP: Top 5 Benefits of Digital Phone Systems.
The Final Say: Common Problems When Switching Your Business Phone System
Yes, there are decisions to make when switching to a new business phone system—including the best time to do it and how to find the best telecom provider.
It’s essential to partner with experts who understand the options, technology, and that every business has unique communication demands.
At AIS, we work with you to update and streamline your communications processes with a hosted or on-premises VoIP phone system. We also offer other office technology solutions so that you only have one technology provider for all of your needs. To learn more, reach out to one of our business technology consultants today. We’re here to give you peace of mind to help you win more business.