1. Know your options
Generally there are 2 main types of phone systems, VoIP and Analogue. Traditional analogue systems use phone lines whereas VoIP uses broadband connection to make calls. VoIP is becoming the preferred option for many businesses as it provides a cost effective solution with flexibility for upscaling and connecting with remote workers.
2. Align technology needs with your business plan
With any investment in technology it’s important to ensure that the purchase decision process takes into account the future plans for the business. If the business plan is to double the size of the company within 2 years, then you’ll want to be looking for a phone system that easily allows for additional users and handsets to be installed.
Or the business may be under pressure to find cost savings, in which case the main objective will be to find the most cost effective solution. Or the business may be striving to improve customer service so technology features such as automatic call routing or post-call surveys may be of particular interest.
3. Consider remote workers
Flexible working is becoming more and more common in business today. We’re no longer chained to our desks; instead businesses are seeing the benefits in allowing staff to work from home, work flexible hours and to visit clients and suppliers when necessary. That’s why VoIP phone systems are the perfect solution for many businesses, as it means that calls can be easily transferred to colleagues whether they are in the office or not. As long as users have broadband access they can login to the system no matter where they are.
4.Determine essential ‘must have’ features
When it comes to phone systems, new features are being developed all the time. What is most important is that the phone system meets your business needs. Make a list of all the available features and mark whether they are ‘must haves’ or ‘nice to have’.
Here is a list of the some of the available features to help get you started:
- Call recording
- Disaster recovery
- Integration with your CRM
- Automated call routing
- Customisable on-hold music / recorded message
- Call conferencing
- Remote login for home workers
5. Consider integrating with other systems
Integrating with other systems may or may not be important to you. Many phone systems will now be able to integrate with CRMs or project management systems, so it’s worth considering if you want to improve internal processes or have better access to management information.
6. What level of support will you need?
When choosing a new provider make sure you consider the level of support you want. Some businesses are happy to pay the minimum and go it alone, whilst others want the reassurance of training, ongoing support and emergency response in case of a system failure. After all your business phone is often the main channel for new business enquiries, so you don’t want to miss any potential opportunities due to a reluctance to pay for technical support.