When it comes time to purchase a new phone system, how do you sift through all the clutter to arrive at what exactly your business needs to consider? To many, this can be daunting and not as clear as it might seem it should be. Some questions such as “how many phones do we need” are probably easier to answer than “how should we integrate VoIP into our processes?” or “What type of licenses might we require?”.
To help you out a little bit, CSM gathered some information given by industry experts. Take a look below, some of their ideas and thoughts may surprise you.
Melissa Swartz at NoJitter.com gives us a Top 10 list of what mistakes to avoid:
1. Needs assessment? What needs assessment?
2. Assuming that all systems have feature parity.
3. Not involving business users in the decision.
4. One-Size-Fits-All Decisions.
5. Skimping on user training.
6. Overlooking analog requirements.
7. Ignoring the underlying infrastructure issues.
8. Skipping the network assessment.
9. Discounting 911 requirements.
10. Not thinking of the long term.
(for a complete list and description of each item, click here to link to the blog post on www.nojitter.com)
Jim Gutsk recently spoke with Business News Daily and offered these ideas:
“Companies are not only marketing products or services, but marketing themselves as well,” Gustke told Business News Daily. “We believe that no matter the size or type, every business should have the tools and solutions needed to present themselves in a professional manner, while maximizing their ability to work efficiently and stay connected to customers and co-workers.”
While some small businesses may believe they can get by with simply using their smartphones for work purposes, Gustke thinks differently. He said even the smallest of businesses can benefit from a central business phone system, because it presents a unified face to customers, employees and partners.
“While it may be intuitive, mobile phone plans are simply not set up to offer the same business features that specifically designed business phone systems offer,” he said. “For example, mobile phones can’t offer a virtual receptionist to answer calls and quickly and easily connect customers with the proper company contacts, or provide important business information like hours and directions.”
James Bucki over at Operations Tech gives us a list of basic features every new phone system should have:
Here are some of the more common features that are available on a business telephone system. Each brand is different, so ask the salesperson for a complete list of options.
- Auto attendant: Usually takes the place of a receptionist by presenting callers with a list of options to route their call (“Press 3 to speak with somebody in Sales”). In addition, it can also allow callers to dial their party’s extension directly.
- Conferencing Features: Allow two or more extensions to connect together to share in a conversation. Usually, the default is two. If you require more than two, ask what the maximum number of participants is. Some systems only allow internal extensions to be conferenced. If you require external conference calls, ask about that too.
- Automated Directory: Allows callers to look up an employee’s extension by entering the first few letters of their name.
- Voice Mail: Allows messages to be left for employees that are unavailable or on the phone already. Some systems allow separate third-party voice mail equipment to interface with their equipment. Depending upon pricing, this could save you money.
- Call Hold: Is the ability to put a call on hold while the user attends to other matters. Usually included with the system.
- Call Forwarding: Gives the user the ability to forward all calls to another extension or to voice mail temporarily.
- Speed Dial: Is a useful time saver for frequently called numbers.
- Redial: Allows the last number called to be redialed with the touch of a button.
- Pagingallows a user to speak over a public address system to locate an employee or give announcements.
- Music on Hold: Gives your callers something to listen to while they are on hold. It can be music or prerecorded messages advertising your company.
- Back Up Power: Will provide an alternate source of electricity for 10 to 60 minutes in case of a power outage.
(James actually wrote quite a bit more as well, check out his blog entry here)
These great bloggers and experts are simply offering you a few steps to help you begin. For more information, check out our website or use the form below to contact us.