This is the second installment of our series, “How to Buy a New Office Telephone System.”
In our first blog post, we reviewed the telephone system evaluation and acquisition process. We also talked about the background information you must uncover prior to engaging with vendors. Next we need to look into how you handle your business communications today, both to develop your buying criteria as well as to discover potential future needs.
Location. Location. Location
If your workforce is at multiple locations, tying everyone together has traditionally been a challenge. However, with today’s technology it’s become pretty darned simple and affordable. By bringing everyone together under one platform you’ll do away with the “Islands” of communication. And with the continuing trend to have remote employees and contractors, it becomes a mandatory requirement.
The size of your company is a big factor that will help you determine the solution you put into place. For instance, companies with less than 20 users are more likely to employ a virtual PBX software, because the startup costs of purchasing an on-site PBX can be prohibitive. However, buying a PBX system can make perfect sense for larger organizations (or smaller businesses with a long horizon), because the cost of ownership can be less expensive in the long run than a virtual PBX. You also need to factor in any expected business expansion. A business communications solution is a long term commitment for most companies and you’ll want to assure that it can grow with you.
Current Phone System Capabilities
What type of telephone system is in place now? Each phone system has some features and there were probably good reasons why you bought what you did, the last time around. That can give us cues on what’s important to you and how you operate. It also tells us what you are missing and we can explain the value of certain features that you don’t presently have.
How Many Calls & How Are They Handled?
In order to create an effective solution for your company’s needs, we need to determine the number of simultaneous phone calls during times of peak traffic. Frequently we can glean this information by talking with the receptionist. Nobody has a better understanding of your volume of phone calls. Sometimes that information is also available in a report out of your present system.
Next is a discussion about call flow. How is a call initially answered, either by an automated attendant or someone answering the phones? From that point, how do calls get distributed? What happens to the call if the intended party is on the phone? What happens if they are out of the office?
It’s important to get feedback from the company’s heaviest phone users and their managers. Typically, the sales and customer service departments are the groups who have the most intensive telephone users. They likely know your company’s communications challenges best.
Armed with all this information, it’s then our job to create an efficient call handling process – I tell people that we are in the call completion business.
Don’t miss the next post in our series, “Features & Requirements.”