Your business telephone system is your lifeline to your customers, suppliers, and employees – virtually the entire world. This is what makes it so easy for you to communicate with these people, regardless of where they’re located. Clearly, now you can understand why it’s so important for you to take the time to choose the right one. It will have both operational and financial repercussions, especially if you choose the wrong one. For this reason, there are some things you definitely don’t want to overlook. This really isn’t any different than if you were choosing new office furniture. You’d give that a lot of time and thought, so why not give your communication needs the same thought?
Creating a Case for Your new Phone System
Take a look at your current communications system and see what problems you’re having so you can solve them with your new system. Some of the most common issues include:
- Using different phone systems in different offices, which makes it difficult to communicate
- Customers spending a lot of time on hold or leaving voice mail because they can’t reach the right person
- Employees who use their cell phone much more often because they have more modern features
- Expensive third-party conference calls
- More employees working from mobile locations
- Complaints about your communication system being old and antiquated
Now consider how correcting these issues will improve your return on investment (ROI). You may want to mention how customers will be more satisfied and employees will be more productive. Just these things alone will produce an ROI in a year or less.
Deciding on the Right Price Point for Your Company
Cost is another important factor. You don’t want to pay too much for it. So, when you’re looking at the price point don’t forget what other factors you must also include here, things like implementation and training, systems management, and network and long distance charges. Your goal is to find an IP phone system that will cut down these tangible costs for you.
Make sure you’re allowed to take the new system for a test drive before buying it. Only then will you know how simple the product is to program and use. When you read through marketing materials it’s easy to get caught up in what looks like a really good product, but once you try it for yourself you see it may not live up to these promises. This is why you should also read through customer reviews.
Since there are so many options available you never have to “settle.” There are so many solutions, options, and providers available today that there really is something available for every business. This is why you need to take time and then take a free ride too.
In fact, have you considered giving Dialpad’s virtual business phone system a shot? Maybe now that you’re looking for the right phone system for your business, you should take time to look at it. The keyword here is “time” though, because you want to make sure that whatever you choose to buy is a product that’s well-suited for your business’ needs. There’s a lot of thought that goes into this process, but the end results are well worth it as they’ll really pay off for your company.
Choosing the Right Features
Now that you know what you need your communications system to do for you, it’s time to decide on its essential features. Making a list of these things will help you to not only make a case for getting a new system, but also help you remember what you’re looking for or expecting the system to be able to do.
Features most businesses want include:
- Decide whether you’ll have a receptionist. If not, you’ll need an auto-attendant who can help guide your callers to the right extension. Directory assistance will also play a critical role here, but it works even better when it offers an interactive voice response.
- Consider whether your company does a lot of conference calling. If that bill is getting out of hand because you’re using a third-party to make it work, this is definitely a feature you’ll need in your new communications system. Now may even be the time to upgrade to video chat.
- Consider how much security you need. If you need the maximum amount, look for data encryption in the cloud. This should also be on the cloud’s physical premises.
- If mobility is inherent you’ll want to look into what the company offers. Some have mobile apps that let you make calls on your smartphone.
- Since you can’t always be by your phone, voice mail is important. Some services will transcribe your voicemail into text and even email it to you.
- Unified communications features on today’s communication systems take communicating to a whole new level. They knit together instant messaging, video conferencing, mobility, presence and collaboration capabilities into a seamless business environment. Some even allow you to make phone calls directly from Microsoft Outlook and Salesforce.
- When you don’t have an IT staff, you need a company who offers 24/7 support. You want to make sure you can quickly reach out to them in many ways and get a response right away, no matter what time of the day or night it is.
Some of the other great features to be on the lookout for include:
- Call monitoring
- Call queues
- Extension dialing
- Missed call notifications
- Ring groups
- Toll-free or local number
- Call recording
- Call reports
- Call routing/forwarding
- Internet faxing
- Interoffice instant messaging
- Call transferring
- Call forwarding
While these features may sound big and impressive, you’ll want to make sure that they’re easy to manage. You don’t want to create a stumbling block that prevents your workers from staying in touch. Instead, your new, unified communications system should help them be more productive, even if they’re telecommuting to work. They should be able to use their laptops, smartphones and tablets as if they were seated at their desks.