Modern businesses face a difficult decision when it comes to selecting the right phone system for their needs. There are a number of options with a huge number of providers so it’s always advisable to gather multiple quotes. This enables you to compare the services, the features available and, of course, the cost.
Here are a few of the questions you should be asking yourself when looking at potential phone systems for your business:
- How many calls do you make each week / month? Is this figure likely to change?
- Is your internet connection strong and steady enough to accommodate a VoIP system?
- Will new hardware integrate with your existing equipment or are you planning to purchase an entirely new system?
- Which features such as (automated attendant, call queuing or conferencing) are essential and which are optional?
- Do you and your team work remotely and / or across multiple offices?
- Is there an existing PBX system in place?
Questions to Ask Providers
Obviously you need to be confident that any phone system you choose is going to work. As a system reliant on the internet, there can be questions about the technology’s reliability. If the connection is weak or fails completely this could take out your business communications completely. Your provider should be able to provide you with the amount of time their system has been down in the previous year. A few minutes is absolutely normal for updates and general maintenance. Do they have a backup system ready if the primary one fails?
Comparing quotes is absolutely essential to ensure you’re getting the best deal for the service provided. You should be comparing at least 3 quotes on a like for like basis. Each quote needs to break down exactly what your are paying for e.g. installation, tax, ongoing fees, devices.
You will need to make a choice between a system which is hosted on your premises and is under your management or a Cloud based system which the provider maintains. Not all providers can give you both options.
VoIP phone systems can vary greatly in terms of the features and functionality they offer. While some can offer hundreds of options others may be more basic. You need to decide which features you need and will actually enhance your business’ efficiency and productivity. Unnecessary bells and whistles will not only add to cost but may also make the system too complicated for your staff to use.
Ease of use
If your business needs a phone system with versatility and a range of features it’s crucial that your employees can use it with ease. If it’s going to take a while for your staff to get to grips with the new system you could be facing problems in terms of productivity or quality of service.
A Cloud based system can present data security concerns. How can you be sure that your business’ sensitive information isn’t vulnerable from cyber attack? The provider should be able to demonstrate not only their security measures such as data encryption or guarded data centres, but also their plan should the system be attacked.
Do your employees need to be able to access their business line from home or on the road? Can your staff access the system to check their voicemail? Take a look at the mobile features on offer and compare quotes like for like.
One of the key advantages of a hosted VoIP solution is the support from the provider. This is particularly valuable for small businesses with no onsite IT department. Are they available 24/7? Is support available at weekends? They should be able to offer a variety of contact methods including telephone, email and live chat.