Businesses want a phone system that is effective and easy to use. Countless businesses are currently making the switch from their traditional phone lines to VoIP systems. With all the different options available today, it can be confusing, overwhelming and frustrating to decide on one. If you are looking for a new business phone system, review these five steps for choosing what is right for your business.
1. What Is Your Budget?
This is listed first because of its importance. What you are able and willing to spend will impact the steps to follow. Most businesses are able to find a plan that fits their budget. It is important to factor in the different costs that go into the solution:
- Implementation -If you are migrating from an existing phone system or starting from scratch, there will be labor costs for your technology partner to get the system up and running.
- Hardware – If you decide to use physical phones, the phones aren’t all compatible with all systems. You may need to purchase new phones. If you decide to use a “softphone,” which is the use of an app on your computer as your phone, consider headset costs.
- Service Costs – All VoIP systems have a monthly or annual service cost. This is equivalent to your “phone bill.”
- Support – Even if the system is new, and in the cloud, there are support needs: Adding/removing users or devices, changes to settings within the system and schedules for on/off hours, to name some. This support from your technology partner is an important piece to discuss and understand.
2. What Kind Of System Do You Need?
There are many types of business phone systems to select from today. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is one type that is becoming more popular because it is affordable, reliable and convenient. This system uses the existing internet connection to function. There are different types of VoIP services — the most common are hosted versus cloud-based.
- Hosted: This option is hosted on-site, meaning there is a computer inside your office managing the phone system.
- Cloud–based: This option eliminates the need for equipment on-site. The phone system is managed via a secure website in the cloud.
Hosted solutions will typically be more expensive to implement and support. Cloud solutions provide support from anywhere and easier expansion when needed.
3. How Critical Are Phones To Your Business?
There are businesses that can go days or weeks without their phones and business continues with little to no problem. That may not be the case for your business. If you rely on your phones to get orders or communicate with clients and any interruption will have a significant negative impact on your business, which needs to be considered in selecting your solution. In many cases, the more critical the phones are, there are options available to ensure that happens. With some solutions, that will drive up the costs for service.
Support for your phone system, depending on the importance, should also be considered. If something goes wrong, who do you call and where are they located? Many times, support will be in another time zone and that may be a limitation on how fast you receive support. If possible, find support that is local so your issues will be resolved efficiently and without delay.
4. How Many Users Will You Have?
The number of users will drive the pricing plans for most systems. Many providers refer to this as phone lines or seats. Determine how many you need as you move forward with your selection. Does everyone on your staff need a phone?
5. What Features Do You Need?
This is where things can get even more confusing. There are so many different options available that it can be exhausting to determine what your business needs: Virtual attendants, call routing, mobility, hold options and voicemail to name a few. Separate the features into three groups: Must-have, nice-to-have and don’t need. Focus on the must-haves as you review options to help you determine what will meet your needs for features.
It’s Just A Phone System!
Like often is the case with technology, the number of options appears to overcomplicate things and leave many people frustrated and confused. CatchMark Technologies is here to help you and your business make this decision easy for you.
CatchMark Business Phone Systems is our cloud-based phone system that is feature-rich, exceedingly reliable and locally supported. We have taken out the confusing billing and hidden costs and made it simple and affordable for our customers.