- Business phone systems are quickly evolving, and you want to make sure you have the most up-to-date system available.
- You should assess your current phone system on an annual basis.
- There are some quick questions you can answer to determine if your phone system is no longer working for you.
There are many times when you may be forced into reviewing your phone system needs. These can be any of the following:
- You're moving offices
- Your current phone system has packed in
- Customer or staff complaints have forced you to upgrade
- Your phone system is technically obsolete (repairs have become too expensive)
- Your call volume is increasing
- You need more functionality
- You have taken on additional staff
- You have expanded your business into multiple sites
- Your current phone system is unable to grow alongside your business
You should be looking to carry out full maintenance checks on your phone system every 12 months, and if it is a legacy or "old" system even more frequently.
What kind of things should you routinely review?
There are often signs that will tell you when you need to upgrade your phone system, but if you set up a quality control checklist for your reviews you will be able to potentially spot these signs before they happen. You will most likely want to ask yourself the following:
- Has your business outgrown your existing phone system?
- If not, how about in five, 10 years' time?
- Does it contain all the features that are necessary for your business to perform?
- Is the current cabling infrastructure in your office suitable for your current phone system?
- Do you feel there are any benefits that you might be missing out on by not upgrading?
- Are you missing or experiencing a large amount of dropped calls?
- Have you experienced any major issues with your phone system in the past year? How many?
- What is your call quality like?
- Have you received any complaints about the quality of your outbound calls?
- Is there a hiss or any other background noise?
- Do you ever experience a delay after dialing?
- How is the general performance of your phone system hardware/software?
- Have repairs become too expensive?
- Are you finding that there are parts that are hard to get during repairs?
Service provider questions:
- How is the support from your phone system provider?
- Is your current business phone system provider meeting your expectations?
- Are you paying too much for your phone system/maintenance?
- Are you finding that you are having to contact your phone system provider much more than 12 months ago?
How are phone systems advancing?
Phone systems have advanced at the same pace as computers over the last decade. Imagine running your business on computer equipment that is 10 or 15 years old? Business owners researching current market trends will quickly recognize that replacing an outdated phone system with a hosted phone system is one of the few ways to improve quality and future proof your business.
With a hosted solution, it is unnecessary to review and upgrade your system on a regular basis -- as the provider will take care of this for you.
Tips on how to upgrade your phone system
When determining if you should upgrade your phone system, there are many features to consider. Lieberman Technologies offers a list of items you don’t want to overlook.
If you are like most businesses, you want to grow and expand. That might mean adding more employees, which means they need phones. You want to find a system that is easy to expand. Some phone systems are complex, make sure you understand how to add more phone lines. Updated phone systems use voice over IP (VoIP), which may cause problems when your internet goes down. You should make sure there is a backup plan if that were to happen.
Also, figure out how many calls come into your business on a daily basis. If you don’t get the right system for your call volume, it might negatively impact how well your phone system works. If you have multiple locations that must work together, you might want to consider a host phone system. This allows you to call anyone in your system with just a three-digit code, no matter where they are physically located.
Be sure you understand all of the features that come with your phone system, and how much they might cost. If you know what features you need ahead of time, you can express that to the salesperson to ensure your phone system has all you need. You also want to understand what the cost of maintenance will be for the phone system you want. If you are considering a refurbished phone system, be mindful that you might find yourself facing repair costs. [Read related story: Best Business Phone Systems]
If your company handles conference calls on a regular basis, make sure your phone system can handle them. Also, know what to expect from your phone system in an emergency situation, like how quickly it can be recovered, so you can eliminate as much downtime as possible.
An upgraded phone system may cost you anywhere from $200 to $1,000 per handset. The middle-of-the-road phone system runs about $500 per handset.