Most companies really don’t know their own telecom environment. They usually don’t have a clue especially if they have 5 or more office phones. They may have a vague idea but don’t understand the nuts and bolts of how it works, where they got it, how to fix it or where to find support.
In all of our years of telecom experience, we run into this almost every time when we talk to decision makers looking for a new business grade telephone system. The problem is a common thread of aging phone systems that don’t work, are duct taped together, crash often and leave the business without a voice. There are two primary ways for companies to communicate, telephone service and internet. Can you imagine if 50% of your ability to communicate with clients or new customers was impacted? Here’s what we would like you to know when looking for a new state of the art system:
1. Know your telecom equipment. Know answers to simple questions like, what type of equipment are you using? Do you own the equipment? Where did you get the equipment? Are you paying a monthly fee to a vendor for a “service level agreement?” How old is the equipment? And lastly, does my telephone system allow me to compete?
2. Know your telecom carriers. Who provides my local dial tone? Do they also provide my long-distance service? Am I in a contract? Most likely, YES. How long is my contract? When did I sign? Do I have a copy or record of my contract? Can I get out of my contract? Who is my contact? Where do I get support?
3. Know your telephone system vendor. Who are they? Did you rent or lease your equipment? Do you outright own your equipment? How do I get something fixed if it breaks? Do I have to pay for a service call or technician?
4. Take an inventory. How many phones do you need in our company. Where are they located? Do you have multiple locations? Do you have one reliable phone system for multiple locations? Are all your locations on the same phone system? Does your telephone system integrate with mobile devices? How many users need access to your company telephone system? Do I advertise my telephone numbers? Do I have a toll-free number? Do I need fax or security telephone lines? Does a person answer all of my calls? Do we have numbers that “roll” to others if calls go unanswered? How are we set up for business after hours or holidays?
Once you have answer to these questions, you are now ready to shop for a new telephone system. Now it become a simple matter of service, reliability, value and trust. The most important thing you can do is make sure that your business is on the right plan, platform and patch for the future! Your telephone system is a critical part of your business and should allow you the ability to be competitive, agile and integrate with today’s technology.