November 30, 2022
If you’re looking to up your productivity, improving your communication tools can work wonders. Teams that are well-connected are 20-25% more productive, and 86% of workers believe a lack of collaboration and communication is the biggest reason for workplace failures.
Online communication platforms have revolutionized business communication, but when it comes to facilitating sales, appearing more professional and trustworthy, and connecting with customers or clients, it’s hard to beat the phone. Even in 2022, most businesses will still need a reliable phone system. But nowadays, you do have more options. To start narrowing your search, ask yourself a few basic questions.
6 Questions To Ask When Looking for a Business Phone System
You definitely have more options than ever before, but researching them online is often a challenge. To make your search easier, these questions will direct you to the best solution.
1. Do You Have Access to Reliable Internet?
VoIP has come a long way, and landlines are already obsolete. But if you don’t have access to a reliable internet connection, you may not have much choice in the matter for the time being. Your phone carrier will end its landline service eventually, so if you have a reliable internet connection, it’s best to switch to VoIP sooner rather than later. If you don’t, you might prefer to wait a little longer.
2. Do You Prefer a Phone With a Handset and Base?
You can get a VoIP phone that looks just like a traditional landline phone and operates much the same way. You can also get an adapter that can transform a traditional set into a VoIP phone. However, if you’d like more space on your desk, you might opt to go with a virtual phone you can access through any smart device, also called a softphone.
3. What’s Your Budget?
Businesses typically save between 30 – 50% by switching to VoIP, but an on-premises solution will require more of an upfront investment than using a cloud provider. Over time, you may ultimately save more money by owning your own equipment, but you’ll also carry more risk should it fail or need repair. And using softphones or an adapter will be cheaper than investing in new VoIP desktop phones.
4. What’s Your Technical Expertise?
Owning your own equipment also means someone in your staff should know how to manage and maintain it. You’ll also need a temperature-controlled server room to house the equipment. If you don’t have a fully-staffed IT department, or they’re frequently overwhelmed with other tasks, going with a cloud provider is probably the wiser choice.
5. Do You Have Remote Workers or Travel Frequently?
If you have a remote or hybrid workplace, a hosted or cloud VoIP solution allows you to access your system and its features from anywhere. Your customers can still reach you through your business number while you’re on the go. An on-premises system isn’t typically the best choice for workers that frequently work elsewhere.
6. Does Your Business Have Additional Needs?
If your business uses a call center, you can save quite a bit of money with VoIP technology — either with an on-premises solution or through a cloud provider. Cloud solutions tend to have better features to keep calls quick and agents productive, and tend to be more reliable than a solution you’d own and manage yourself.
If you’ve answered the above questions and you’re still on the fence, this ten-question survey can help narrow it down. However, if your business is on the smaller side, hosted or cloud VoIP is usually the winner. Now you just need to find the best provider.
How To Find the Right Provider for Your Small Business Phone System
Not all cloud phone providers are the same. You should also consider these factors before you make a decision:
- Support and Training
Obviously cost will be a factor in your decision. Just make sure to consider your Service Level Agreement (SLA) carefully before you sign so you know exactly what you’re getting for your money. Your provider should spell out their guaranteed uptime (more about that later), what you can expect if there’s an issue, how any disputes will be resolved, and more.
Would you like your cloud system to integrate with other business tools, like email, video conferencing platforms, or CRM software and other productivity tools? How about automated call forwarding or call analytics? Not all providers are the same, and you should carefully consider the features that you will use before signing a contract.
Occasionally, even the best systems need downtime and maintenance. Pay special attention to a provider’s guaranteed uptime. 99.9% doesn’t sound bad, but over the course of a year, that adds up to around nine hours of downtime. An uptime of 99.99% reduces your possible downtime to just under an hour per year. And if you’re really looking to minimize downtime, 99.999% uptime should reduce any potential downtime to just over five minutes.
Keep in mind that your provider wants to minimize downtime as much as you do, but a guaranteed uptime is just that. If your downtime falls within the terms of their SLA, you won’t have much recourse except to choose another provider when your contract’s up.
Cloud providers understand that their reputation depends on proper cybersecurity. How do you know that your provider is secure? Look for things like server encryption, constant monitoring, and multi-factor authentication for users.
Support and Training
With new tools will come lots of questions. Consider any ongoing training needs and the kind of support you’d like if you’re having an issue using their service. While support and training is often an afterthought, you tend to get what you pay for, and bad support can be especially frustrating when your business relies on phone communication.
Voice as a Service From Marco
Marco’s Voice as a Service (VaaS) is a great fit for small to midsize businesses looking for cloud-based VoIP. You’ll get excellent call quality, multi-functionality, security, 24/7 monitoring, US-based support, and portability without worrying about a significant upfront investment, ongoing maintenance or additional service expenses.
But the key to many great business conversations is not shying away from this one. At Marco, we always take the time to get to know an organization before we make a recommendation. If you’d like to see if a cloud-based solution is right for you — or if another solution might be better — our experts know how to speak in plain language and ask the right questions to help you make the best decision. Hit us up!