How to Pick a New Business Phone System
In today’s competitive business world, having a reliable, stable phone system can provide a competitive advantage and can be critical to your business’ operations. Even though it may seem like email has taken over, phones are still one of the major avenues of business communication.
The amount of choices available these days for business phone systems can be overwhelming, so here are a few things to consider that may help you narrow it down.
1. What Do You Need It to Do?
Determine a few things that you need it to do, such as the ability to provide detailed call metrics, the ability for your employees to work remotely, the ability to queue callers, etc. Making a list of the top 3-5 things that are important will help you stay focused and not get distracted by all of the bells and whistles that are available. The amount of features that phone systems can come with today will make your head spin, so narrowing down what you actually need will make the decision process more clear.
2. What Does Success Look Like to You?
What will be your criteria for deeming the project a success? This will help figure out what your expectations are for the phone system. A lot of times, the answer will be similar to the aforementioned top 3-5 priorities, but occasionally, asking the question this way uncovers something that you didn’t originally think of as a priority, or something that you may have assumed was available with all systems.
3. VoIP or No VoIP…and Will You Have Enough Bandwidth?
Nearly every business phone system these days is VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or has a VoIP component. This means that you may need more Internet bandwidth to make sure that calls come through clearly and that your IT systems continue to perform efficiently. To ensure that you’ll have enough bandwidth, have a trusted IT or telecommunications expert do an analysis to determine your requirements.
4. Align Your Phone System With Business Plan Goals
Look at your business plan and make sure the system you’re considering is in alignment with your goals. If your plans include significant growth, remote workers, opening branch offices, and initiatives of that nature, you’ll want a phone system that can scale with you, instead of growing out of it after only a couple of years.
5. Pick a Manufacturer With a Good Support Reputation
Consider options from reputable manufacturers of business phone systems. I do not suggest buying a name brand for the sake of buying a name brand — I suggest it for the support that the industry leaders provide. You want to make sure that your IT team can get support from the manufacturer if there is an issue.
Regardless of which system you choose, having the right IT and telecommunications team guide you through the decision process, implementation, and ongoing support will be critical to getting the results that you expect.
About Courtney Casey
In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.