Some business owners assume that replacing or upgrading a phone system is a straightforward task. However, business phone systems are significantly more complicated than they appear, and often assumptions associated with business telephony result in making mistakes during a phone system upgrade. This article will briefly cover the most common mistakes that businesses make when replacing their phone system.
7 Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Failure to Conduct a Formal Needs Assessment: When the time comes to replace your current phone system, it is important to assess what you have and what you need from a new system. Your assessment should determine existing and potential communication issues; what needs should be met by a replacement system; and what are your current network capabilities.
- Expecting All Systems to be the Same: Technology has come a long way and phone systems are no exception. Today’s telecommunication systems have features that have been developed to solve common communication issues; but there can be great diversity among brands as well as models. Few business want to pay for phone systems that have all the imaginable features. Most telephone systems for SMB customers have 80-90% of the available features and those are more than enough.
- Focusing Only on the Initial Cost: Make sure to inquire about maintenance costs and software upgrade fees. It’s also a good idea when working with a new Telecom Vendor to ask about standard and emergency service rates and policies. That low cost up front may not end up being so reasonable if there are expensive annual charges. Avoid getting locked into long-term maintenance agreements that will keep you in old technology.
- Failure to Consider the Customer Interface: Your business telephone system is your connection to the marketplace and can be paramount in conveying a professional image to customers, prospects and vendors. Keep in mind that these needs may change and grow with your business and that the telephony solution you select should offer flexibility.
- Failure to Conduct Formal Training: You should not assume that everyone you work with is technology savvy; always be sure to incorporate formal trainings when transitioning to a more modern phone system. Your telecommunications provider should include training and a follow-up visit in the installation cost to ensure an easy technology implementation.
- Failure to Consider Future Growth: Miscalculating how quickly your company may grow can be very costly. Most telephone switches are set up for a certain number of phone lines and extensions and have limits to how large they can expand. Consider your five year plan and if you might have remote workers as well. Ask about the potential for expansion in any phone system you are considering and what the upgrade costs are likely to be if and when that time comes.
- Not Choosing the Right Vendor to Partner With: Make certain the communications vendor is experienced and can support your business properly. Ask about money-back guarantees, after-hours and weekend support, their relationship with the manufacturer of the phone system you are considering, how long they’ve been selling that model and references for other companies with the same or similar phone system set ups as you are considering.
Tips For Replacing Your Business Phone System
When a new phone system is being installed for your business, remember to consider 911 requirements. Your phone system should identify its location on the outbound caller ID, so that in case of an emergency, the proper authorities can locate where the call is coming from.
Most users only utilize about 10% of a telecommunication systems features. Be careful not to over buy! Some phone system features may seem “cool” but will your employees really use them?
Don’t purchase a telephone system that is near the end of its life cycle if the manufacturer intends to stop supporting when that happens. There are a number of phone system brands that develop new systems regularly and “orphan” the older models. To get the most for your investment, ask about backwards and forwards compatibility of each model you are considering.
It is crucial that you consider the long-term needs of your new phone system. The process of upgrading systems can be expensive and time consuming. While you may upgrade your mobile device every other year, doing so with a business communication system isn’t feasible for most. Find a professional you can trust and the process will become far more less daunting.