Your company is looking to buy a new phone system and you aren’t sure where to start. I recently wrote about how to choose an online vendor for The Huffington Post, and will incorporate those tips (and add more) in this piece to help business executives looking to switch to a modern business phone service.
First, embrace the cloud
Gone are the days of traditional landline phone systems. Cloud-based solutions allow companies the flexibility to seamlessly forward calls to cell phones, integrate offices (without having to cross physical phone lines) and apply fixes instantaneously (no more waiting until a storm passes to get your phone service back up and running).
Establish your goals
What do you love and hate about your current phone system? What do you wish it included? Phone systems are critically important to business operations and, although it may seem like an internal problem to solve, your phone service is something that impacts all of your customers so it pays to dedicate time to choosing the right vendor for your business.
Sit down with your management team and draw up a wish list for your next phone service provider.
There are many cloud-based phone service providers out there, so it is important to talk with your network and research the best service for your company. Try narrowing your search to two or three providers and then calling them individually. Discuss offerings with customer service agents and ask every question that comes into your head. Good customer service employees will not rush you through the call, even if you don’t intend on making a purchase.
When talking with a customer service agent, ask for the names and phone numbers of three or four clients with comparable businesses to your own. Prepare questions and ring each one. Ask technical and non-technical questions such as:
- How long was your set up process with this vendor?
- How is the customer service?
- How reliable is the phone service? Could you give examples?
- When you run into problems, how are they handled?
- What service/package did your company purchase?
Go with your gut
After speaking with several vendors and hearing testimonials of like-minded small business owners, you will likely know which service to choose. Strongly weigh a company’s customer service practices, then go with your gut and move forward.