Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Is your traditional phone system actually harming your business?

Are you in  the camp that says "If it ain't broke, no need to fix it?"

Sometimes that is perfectly true,  but there are occasions where an upgrade to something new will be like a breath of fresh air and once the change is made, you will wonder how you used to function before.
image courtesy of Kromkrathog @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Moving from a premises based phone system to a hosted or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system is a bit like that really.

You might believe that your current system is all fine and dandy and serving you well.  You may have a few niggles and have just worked around them. 

Maybe you simply can't be bothered to do the research and it's all a bit too technical to get your head around?  Does this sound vaguely familiar?

I'm going to go over some of the main reasons why sticking with a premises based phone system really isn't doing your business any favours at all.

Growing Pains - If you've ever added an additional phone extension onto your current system you'll know what a pain it can be.  Your original phone system may only support a certain number of phones and this means that you might even need to purchase a new phone system just to cater for the increase in staff.  This translates into additional costs on  your maintenance agreement. It might even be the case that your original phone system is so old you can't get a company to look after it for you anyway.  Great, just what you need!

So, a  hosted system is streets ahead.  No PBX  to  become dated (that's the Public Branch Exchange or telephone box that sits in your back room!), no maintenance agreement to pay for and any number of extensions can be added incredibly quickly, without fuss.  Another benefit is that if you run a seasonal business, you can add or remove handsets as and when, to leverage your business. After all, what's the point of paying for something you just don't use?

Lines -v- VoIP connections - If your business has two lines into the building, you will only be able to make one call out and one call in, or two calls out or receive two calls in at any one given time.  Clearly if you are busy, this means missed calls, unhappy clients and worse still, they may phone your competitor and you've lost the business!    

VoIP connections mean that as  voice "packets" travel over the data connection (broadband) there are no "lines" so the amount of calls you can make is only limited to your bandwidth.  If you achieve 1Mbps upstream, this gives you the capacity for 10 concurrent calls.  Suddenly, you have far greater capacity to take those calls, productivity increases and staff are not waiting for lines to become free meaning you can respond to clients quicker.

Down for HOW long? - If you have a problem with your in house phone system, it means the whole system is down.  You then have to wait for an engineer to show up which could take from a few hours to a few days depending on the SLA (Service Level Agreement) that you have in place. Even diverting calls can take a few hours to organise.  With a hosted system, incoming calls can be instantly diverted to mobile(s), landline(s) or a combination.  You can even set up an automatic divert for  business continuity.  This means your business need not suffer the loss of those important incoming calls.

Less for more and more for less  - Your phone system was an expensive outlay initially and no doubt you've had to pay for every upgrade necessary, together with ongoing maintenance contracts or service on an ad hoc basis, and the older your PBX is, the more maintenance it will require.

Cost savings with a hosted system can be significant and when you take into account the additional functionality available, it can suddenly give you the ability to become more productive and more profitable. 

Suddenly you have to ask yourself “what am I doing?  Why shouldn’t I have more for less?"

Certainly a lightbulb moment. It really does make total sense.  

Tina Bricknell for
The Merlin Team

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