Telephone Systems – Five things to think about for a growing business:

I always advise that you should think about what impression you want to give to the people that are calling you.

At this point don’t think about how you are going to achieve this, just about what you’d like to achieve – the how comes later!

If you are a small business with only a handful of users, don’t be put off by the features and descriptions below thinking they don’t apply to you. Everything discussed in the paragraphs below apply to a company with less than ten phones, just as they do to an organisation with many hundreds of phones.

Telephone systems have been providing a vital service for businesses of all sizes for decades. How calls are dealt with however, has matured and is now intertwined with the daily process of running a business.

Within the telecoms industry, statistics suggest the average business phone system is replaced only between every six to eight years. This means that your investment in a telephone system is crucial in portraying the image you wish to present to your clients and suppliers when speaking to them on the telephone call.

There is a huge array of features now available on a telephone system and unless you speak with an expert it’s easy to make a poor choice of replacement. In addition, there are various technology changes taking place that if you’re not aware of, would mean money spent today could be wasted as these changes in technology will force you to replace again sooner than you would wish.

‘Cloud’ based telephony is now a ‘must’. You still have the choice of a system located in your building if you wish (on-premise) where it connects to ‘cloud lines; although most businesses are now investing in a ‘cloud hosted’ solution where the telephone system software is housed in a data centre.

  1. Plan your costs – Can your phone system save you money? Most cloud phone services include either unlimited phone calls or a fixed minutes and user plan. Your monthly charge should be for a fixed sum and a pre-determined period of time. This helps you plan against any ‘bill shock’!

Overall Summary – as a business grows so too do the costs. This doesn’t have to be the case and you can negotiate a fixed fee, fixed term solution.

In many cases, it is possible to replace an old telephone system with a new ‘cloud’ based system and actually turn this into a cost reduction exercise!

 2. Retain flexibility – with the cloud you just pay for what you need. If you need more capability in the future, you just add it. You only pay for what you use today and add more users as your business grows.

Overall Summary – old legacy telephone systems often require ‘investment steps’ in that you have to pay for extra capacity over and above what you actually need. Technology today allows you to pay only for what you need and when.

  1. Productivity– you can implement a range of productivity features that allow your current staff to communicate and collaborate much more effectively than before, thereby improving the overall productivity of your business.

For example, if your business is increasing its mobile or remote workforce, you need to ensure they are always connected to the office. Cloud-hosted phone systems ensure the mobile or remote worker is always connected by the availability of smartphone apps, desktop apps or even deskphones that will work anywhere.

Overall Summary – look at every person in your business and think about how they communicate with your clients and suppliers now, and where are the areas that need improvement? A small investment in your telecoms might save £££’s in delays when they cannot talk to they need to when perhaps there is an easy answer available to you – ask the expert!

  1. Think about the image you portray – ensure you provide a highly quality customer experience by having the ability to activate auto attendants, hunt groups and a range of other call routing features, so that you always look totally professional to your customers. And equally important, always put in place a structure so that you never suffer ‘missed calls’.

Overall Summary – Most telephone systems have the ability to ‘manipulate’ calls so that a call is always answered. However, it’s common to learn that many purchasers of a new telephone system don’t have a detailed programming meeting with their telecoms expert to put a plan in place. Implementing such a plan is another example of something that’s easy to do and at no cost to you, but frequently missed.

Remember –  a missed call could be the biggest client you never get!

  1. Disaster Recovery – with a cloud-hosted phone system you can work from anywhere. Users can be based in an office (or multiple offices), their home, their car or a coffee shop and continue working just as normal. Your customers will never know the difference. Calls can be made and received through a range of devices such as deskphones, headsets, smartphone apps, desktop apps, cordless handsets and handsfree conference units.

If an office is taken out of service (fire, flood etc), then all the remaining users can continue to work as normal. Other office workers, mobile workers and remote workers will continue to still have access to the whole range of features.

Overall Summary – what would happen to your business if your building was destroyed by fire? Do you have a plan? How would your staff continue to work?

Work with your telecoms expert to build a DR plan that works for you. Often there is no extra cost to do this but strangely enough, people regularly don’t get around to setting one up!

Remember the best question you can ask is “WHAT IF” – make sure you ask this all the time!

If you have an accountant, they should be your first stop for business advice. If you don’t have an accountant or they can’t help, BuBul has a wide range of experts available. For more advice on the right telephone system for your business, why not connect with our expert* Jeff on LinkedIn?

*We’ve picked experts we know and trust who are good at what they do. All of them will give you at least an extra 30 minutes free advice if you contact them and would then charge their normal prices. They don’t pay to be on BuBul and don’t give us any money from anything they earn as an expert.