Choosing a business phone system in 5 easy steps
When it comes to technology for small business, you don’t necessarily have to think small. On top of developing your product/service, you must invest in tools that will help you connect with your market. Choosing a business phone system is the first step in building relationships with your customers.
Business telephone systems used to be bulky, expensive, complicated, and available only for big corporations. Thanks to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology, even SMEs can enjoy the full-functionality of an enterprise phone system for small business prices. But before you sign up for the cheapest offer you find, here are 5 things you should do to make sure you’re getting the best deal around.
Do your homework
The great thing about hosted phone services is that it’s pretty straightforward and easy to understand. After all, your provider will cover all technical aspects and deliver your service over the internet. Still, it is best to do your due diligence and learn a few basics so you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
Find out if your current internet connection can handle both voice and data services. Are you a heavy bandwidth user? If you are, you may have to consider getting a dedicated connection for your phone system. Determine how many people will be using the phones at a time to figure out what speed you need to be at to get the best call quality.
Check for portability
What gives SMEs an edge over big brands is their agility. Therefore, the best small business phone systems must provide enough flexibility for any change. Portability is important if you plan on expanding to multiple sites or hiring remote workers. In choosing a business phone system, go with a hosted service that doesn’t tie you down to a single location so that you can move offices with ease. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can extend the same phone services to anywhere in the country or overseas.
If you want to keep your own numbers (landline or VoIP), you should be able to transfer them over to your new phone system. All you need to do is give your new provider the numbers you wish to keep and your existing account details with your old provider. Discuss if your emergency lines, lift phones, or alarm systems need to be kept on regular phone lines.
Identify the features you need
On-site phone systems take up a lot of space and come with a hefty price tag. As time passes, it grows closer to becoming obsolete, making you miss out on the latest phone features. VoIP phones are packed with features that are constantly upgraded remotely. Your service is run over the internet which makes it easier to update and cheaper to use. Back then, you’d have different types of phones based on the features you want.
Today, you can have the same phones for everyone and choose which features each user needs through different plans. Save more by going for a basic plan for employees that have minimal use of their phones. On the other hand, those who rely heavily on their phones can get a platinum plan with added features such as do not disturb, speed dial, hunt group gold, simultaneous ring, call forward selective, N-way calling, push to talk, busy lamp field, music on hold and UC capabilities.
Create a disaster recovery and business continuity plan
Any kind of downtime can hamper your growth and hurt your brand. Going hosted gives you the ability to stay connected to customers despite outages, emergencies, or natural disasters. Your provider can forward calls to your voicemail or live answering service to make sure that you don’t miss a call even if your office is inaccessible. Through Unified Communications (UC) capabilities, you can also take calls on your PC or mobile phone using your business numbers.
Choosing a business phone system provider
Although price is important, there are other factors you must consider before choosing a hosted phone service provider. Make sure that your telco provides 24/7 monitoring and support so you can get in touch as needed. They must have a redundant and robust network with a high service level guarantee so that if a data center goes down in one site, your calls can be routed to a backup without any downtime. Don’t be afraid to discuss costs one by one, including break fees. This gives you a better idea of what to expect every month when your bill arrives.
Moving to the cloud is a big step, but with a business communications specialist like Alltel, the process should be quick and painless. Take the first step by giving us a call at 1 300 ALLTEL or visit our official website at www.alltel.com.au to get started today.