Choosing a new phone system for your business isn’t as simple as picking out the one with most features or the best salesperson. Your business phone system is a critical tool that can impact how your employees communicate with one another as well as with your customers.
So how do you go about choosing a new phone system if you’re not a communications technology expert? There are a few steps you can take to make the process a bit easier.
1. Consider Your NeedsWhile it may seem obvious, it’s worth mentioning that the first thing you should do is figure out what your business needs from a new phone system. Are you a company that is in full growth mode, who will need more and more phones over the next few years? Do you have a seasonal business that needs a flexible system to support a flexible volume of calls? Or are you at a steady size with little need for changes?
You should also think about your company’s communications needs beyond your phone, which we will explore later in this post.
2. Explore Deployment OptionsWhile there are many differences between types of phone systems, one of the biggest differences is the deployment option. The three most common deployments are on-premise, cloud, and hybrid deployments, which each come with their benefits. On-premise phone deployments are good for a company with IT resources to spare who wants to maintain control of their phone hardware. A cloud phone deployment is ideal for a company that wants to ensure they are always running the latest build of their phone software, relinquishing updates and maintenance to the phone provider. As you might expect, the hybrid deployment combines some of the benefits of on-premise solutions with some cloud features.
3. Compare VendorsComparison shopping is always a good way to ensure that you’re getting the right solution at the right price. While many phone system vendors offer similar features, the best phone systems are those from vendors that place your needs first. Not every company will require the same features on their phone, so a good vendor will not try to sell you on every single feature. Be sure to compare providers beyond features and price as well. Find out if your new phone service provider offers in-person service, guaranteed response times, or 99%+ uptimes. Customization and reliability in the provider are key when selecting among the best phone systems.
4. Remember SecurityWhile security may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about phones, it should not be neglected as you choose the right system for you. Without proper precautions, a VoIP system can be vulnerable to fraud and hacking. Be sure to ask any provider you are considering what security features and safeguards are put in place when they install a new system.
5. Look at Communications Solutions
Getting a new phone system will automatically help you to make and receive calls more effectively. However, the best option for your business may very well be to look at your communications system more holistically. With a unified communications set up, you can ensure that your phone, instant messaging, video conferencing, and even your CRM all work together for your employees. Consider choosing a communications solution that goes beyond your phone and your company (and customers) will reap the benefits.
It would be foolish to say that choosing a phone system is the most important business decision you will ever make. However, the right phone solution can help everyone in your office communicate better while also providing customers better support, so it is not a decision to take lightly. Go through these five steps, and you will gain a better understanding of what will work for you so you can make a smart choice.