The smooth operation and cost effectiveness of your phone system is more important than ever to effective business operations.
Admittedly, it is far too easy to take a telecommunications system for granted, but it does not pay to let your familiarity with the phone blind you to its commercial significance.
It is therefore a real pity that in the majority of cases the only time much thought is given to business phones systems is when problems occur. As every business knows, “Murphy’s Law” dictates that the phone system is going to go down in the middle of an importance customer call, or while some crucial information is being relayed to an employee.
However, even if you run one of those few fortunate businesses with a problem-free phone system it still an excellent idea to check if you are getting the best deal. Competition is tighter than ever these days.
Every company tries to cut costs wherever possible. With phone services representing a major business expense you cannot afford to ignore considering how these costs might be reduced. If you can get an equal or superior service for a much lower price go for this option.
The Case for Change
The key aspects of an optimum business phone system are reliability, quality and cost-effectiveness. Clearly these are relative rather than absolute measurements. The only way you can know if your current arrangements best serve your interests is by carefully investigating the other options.
Comments on how rapidly communications technology is changing have a cliché sound to them, but they still convey a valuable message. Not so long ago businesses replaced manual typewriters with electric typewriters.
Then the business computer came along and the typewriter was relegated to the museum. You might think the same would hold true for phone systems but this is not invariably the case. Many businesses, especially small and some medium businesses, continue to operate with PBX managed phone systems.
Although these PBX systems have undergone many improvements over recent years an increasing number of businesses are now opting to replace them with newer communications technologies, for example, hosted phone systems. A brief review of what lies behind this business trend may help you decide if a phone system update also makes sense for you.
The Managed and Hosted Phone System Divide
Managed and hosted are two of the principal ways in which business phone services are provided. In the former case the company buys or rents the system hardware and software from a service provider.
Normally an agreement is made to cover system maintenance and technical support. Often options for further upgrades are included in the contract. The hosted phone system offers a completely different approach to phone and data service provision.
Calls and data are routed via IP to the service provider’s server. The phone sets are sometimes bought outright or rented from the service provider. The service agreements generally include a certain number of free or low-price calls, and a number of other attractive advanced phone service features.
Certainly both of these phone system options have their pluses and minuses, so how is it possible to make an informed choice?
The most logical first step to take is studying the solutions adopted by other successful firms.
Fortunately, the message conveyed by the statistics is quite clear.
For example, in 2013 Microsoft commissioned an international study entitled “The new era of hosted services.”
A key fact that emerged from this report is that more than half of the businesses surveyed considered hosted, cloud-based services as beneficial to their organizations.
Many other business research studies lend support to the findings of this Microsoft-sponsored study.
Why the Enthusiasm for Hosted Phone Systems
Businesspeople are known for their cautiousness. Only the prospect of major gains is going to persuade so many of them to turn to hosted phone systems. So what are the principal benefits propelling growth in this section of the communications world?
The prime benefit a hosted phone system brings to businesses is major service costs reductions. To start with, the costs of setting up a hosted PBX system are much less than the tens of thousands of dollars companies need to spend on traditional phone system installation.
Often the hosted phone system provider will not levy any change for setting up the systems. Hosted phone service providers operate on such a scale that they can afford to offer a more attractive and economical range of value-added features than traditional PBX systems.
There are also financial advantages to having communications expenses transferred from capital to operational expenses when a managed PBX is replaced with a hosted phone system.
Another key plus of the hosted phone system is the flexibility it offers. As a company grows and hires new employees the hosted phone system can be seamlessly expanded to meet changing requirements.
Work from home or other remote locations is easily facilitated by buying extra handsets and reprogramming call flow. In a similar way communications from and between branch offices can be managed without the need for costly duplication of PBX equipment and administrative personnel.
Your hosted system is easily configured to match your specific requirements, for instance, displaying a single number to all callers, using an international phone number, a toll free number and many other possibilities.
With so many companies convinced that the hosted phone system is the right choice for them, it is logical to investigate how it might help you improve your business operations.
Admittedly the number of phone services options on offer can be confusing. It is well worth your while to obtain professional advice — the input of a company with a successful record of matching up firms with the best hosted phone system options for their telecommunications needs.