Best phone system for small business
June 2, 2015
by Dror Mei-Tal

For those in search of a business phone system that best meets their needs, it can be overwhelming when there is so much to choose from.  This blog should help if you are a small to mid-sized business looking for a quality new phone system with reduced line pricing, better calling rates and more features.  In it, I focus on hosted (or cloud-based) PBX service because it provides the best value for the price and eliminates the dependency on premise-based systems.

First, it is very important to find a reliable provider. Making the right choice up front will give your company a worry-free, feature-rich service for the long-term. In contrast, using the wrong company can result in a bad experience that can also be costly. Below are the six tips I recommend to assist you in making the best decision for your company:

  1. Make sure the company you choose is an actual telephone provider 

Hosted PBX service is offered by many types of business entities. Some of these companies claim to be a telephone company. However, if you do your research, you will find that their primary focus is to market the hardware and provide IT support. Most of these entities are selling hosted PBX services as a supplement to other products. Their telecom knowledge is limited to the phone installation itself.  In these cases, it’s more difficult to get the professional advice to address your company’s telecom needs beyond the initial hardware sale. Also, if a problem occurs after the initial activation, you may find that there is no one there to assist you. The time it takes to find a resolution can become an expense your company cannot afford. My suggestion is to select companies that own their network, provide a variety of other voice services, have a history of at least three years of providing hosted PBX services, and can therefore customize their services to meet your unique needs.

  1. Always select a telecom provider with a physical presence near your location

Setting up service, examining your needs and preparing for the installation of your service require that the telecom provider’s Engineers visit your location. Site Engineers are able to observe your operations while your employees use the phones. During the visit, they asses your wiring needs, check the features that you are using in your existing system and are able to provide other options, such as overhead paging, door phones and mobile apps or soft phones. While doing this, the Engineer is also able to evaluate whether you are using the correct number of lines.  If your company has multiple locations, you may be able to share lines between offices, which means less money spent on service and more money in your pocket.

  1. Phones should be installed by Certified Technicians

Some providers offer online deals, which means they mail you the phones and require you to install the hardware yourself.  Although, prices may be enticing, it’s risky to have your own staff install the phones.  Those who try to install the equipment on their own, find it’s not as easy as they thought it would be. In this case, you receive customer support only by phone and often routed to customer service representatives overseas.  A relatively simple procedure that should only take a few minutes, can actually take hours to complete. In the end, your phones should be installed by Certified Technicians who connect the phones to the network and test the dialing features and audio quality.

  1. Make sure all your employees participate in training at your office

Some providers also suggest you use videos for your employee training.  Although, this is a more cost effective option for them, it’s less effective for you. Most employees assume they know what they’re doing and do not take the time to train themselves on how to use the phones effectively. Lack of training and knowledge of the features often lead to frustrated employees and reduction in business productivity. When training is provided at your location by the provider’s professional Trainer, participants receive an introduction to all of the available features, understand how the features support their own business functions and have the ability to ask questions.

  1. Make sure you have the support you need once your service is activated

Now that your staff is trained and ready to go, the service is activated. It may take up to two weeks to get used to all of the new features. It’s best for you if the provider’s Service Engineer is present at your office at the time of activation to answer questions, modify settings and resolve any unexpected issues.

  1. Review the provider’s customer service and repair policy

Certain providers never send a Technician to your office after the initial sale. In case you have a service problem that can not be resolved over the phone, you must have the ability to get a Technician dispatched to your location. -And if one of your phones break or you need to add one for a new hire, the phone should be delivered and installed in your office in a relatively short time.

Following the above tips will help your company avoid a number of potential problems. Establishing the service with the right provider will enable your company to take advantage of and enjoy the many benefits associated with hosted PBX.

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