5 mistakes to avoid

There is a human tendency to underestimate the significance of commonplace items. The business phone system is a good example of an indispensable feature of our working lives regularly taken for granted. When breakdowns occur, or an exceptionally high bill arrives, the business owner gives telecom some thought but most of the time it stays a low priority. This nonchalant approach makes no sense if you consider the phone system's pivotal role in commercial life. It connects the business to existing and new clients. It also enables efficient communications between members of staff involved in developing and marketing the product or service.

Since the phone helps your business to thrive and contributes so much to a positive company image, selecting the best system becomes crucially important. New firms that start out on the right telecom foot and established firms with open telecom minds can gain a competitive edge.

While no article can offer tailored advice for each business, it can help you to learn from the mistakes of other firms. Here are a few of the common errors to avoid when choosing a phone system.

1. The simplest alternative is unlikely to be the best one

It is easy to understand why new entrepreneurs planning to launch a business might be tempted to turn first to their home phone service provider. After all, they have so many concerns over advertising their product, acquiring premises, taking on employers and myriad other matters. Why lose valuable time searching for the best telecom provider?

This approach may seem tempting but it is seriously flawed. It does not follow from the fact that you are satisfied with the home phone service, that this provider's business phone offering will meet your needs. Your phone system must present your business in the best possible way, for example, by offering a high standard of reliability and supporting voice menu (IVR), auto attendant and other features that make calls flow smoothly. If you work with a landline system, expect to pay a great deal for a top grade. However, these options come as standard features in the best VoIP systems so there is no need to dip deep into your funds to buy new hardware.

2. If it costs less, it must be more economical

Every competent businessperson appreciates the value of a good bargain, but he or she also realizes how foolish it is to make a purchase on this basis alone. Do not focus primarily on the monthly fee when deciding the best system for your firm. Competition from internet phone services is one of the factors that now encourage traditional landline providers to make a more attractive offer. Remember that even if the regular charge seems very reasonable, this does not cover the initial investment you need to make in hardware and maintenance and upgrade costs.

When weighing up the options keep in mind the fact that VoIP phone systems free the business from equipment outlays and maintenance. Whatever system you eventually choose, if you look beyond the monthly charge to focus on the whole picture you are more likely to choose sensibly.

3. Neglecting the Caller Experience

Putting the customer first is a traditional recipe for business success, but some companies seem to forget to consider this when they chose a phone system. The conversion rate of calls to sales certainly improves if call handling is prompt and courteous.

Automated attendant and welcoming messages are some popular ways of enhancing the caller experience. Conditional and unconditional call forwarding is another example of a telecom feature that allows you to define call-answering priorities. It also helps ensure that customers, and other employees, can contact the service engineer when this individual is away from their regular workstation.

You soon discover that users of VoIP systems are again at an advantage when it comes to adjusting their phone systems to give the best possible caller experience. It is possible for them to easily set and change call routing and other features themselves online. If you have a traditional PBX, you will need to pay a system engineer to make such changes.

4. A lack of forward planning

Suppose you have just started a new business with three employees. You hope that that idea will take off, customers will soon start to flow in and business will expand. If your expectations are realized you might be employing a hundred people in a few years. With funds stretched, you probably think you can manage with just a couple of phone lines for the moment. However, what do you do when the business expands? Does it make sense to invest in a much larger phone system at this early stage?

Alternatively, what happens to the optimistic businessperson who spends heavily on an advanced PBX in anticipation of business growth, but this expansion does not happen so quickly. Nobody knows how fast a business is going to develop and the ways in which its telecom needs are going to change.

Is this a classic "Catch 22" situation? Not if this businessperson has the foresight to choose a flexible VoIP system that expands or contracts in line with business development, and does not tie the firm into long-term contracts for services that they might not need.

5. Don't attempt to adjust your business practices to suit your telecom system

The ideal system should fit in perfectly with the way a company wishes to run their business, Neglect of this prime consideration might lead to a preposterous situation where employees need to adjust their working practices in line with their telecom system’s limitations.

A classic case in point is a firm where employees work in scattered locations but they need to keep in frequent communication between themselves and with the customers. Therefore, the choice of a phone system that is great for the office is not going to provide the right solution. It is essential to find a network that fits perfectly with the current business flow but is flexible enough to quickly adjust to future changes. This is yet another of the areas where many firms have come to recognize that VoIP outperforms the alternatives.

With over 12 years' experience providing custom internet phone solutions Zadarma has accumulated a huge pool of expertise. They are pleased to share their professional knowledge with businesses who want to avoid these telecom choice pitfalls and find a low budget, flexible and reliable telecom solution.