If you haven’t shopped for business phone services in a while, you’re in for a surprise. There are so many options to choose from today. Do you stick with a landline or opt for VoIP system? Will voicemail work or should you go with an auto attendant? It’s easy to get overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to focus on the services that will help you add the most value to your small business. Consider these factors before making your decision.
1. What type of phone system do you need?
It used to be that phones were connected to the wires in your walls and eventually hooked up to the wires on telephone poles. Those are still available, but now there are more (and less expensive) choices. Here’s the range that’s available:
2. Which options should you get?
It’s easy to get drawn in by the bells and whistles available on phone systems. But each one can add more cost. Ask yourself whether this option helps you provide better value, service, or convenience to customers. If so, then it might be worth considering. Here are some newer options offered:
3. What happens if something goes wrong?
Ask about installation and configuration of service. Does it include any necessary infrastructure like wiring or support equipment? Equally important is service after the sale. What resources are available if there is a service interruption? You can’t operate without being able to process credit card payments or answer a customer call. So the answer to that question is critical.
4. How much will it cost?
You’ll want to do a cost-benefit analysis as part of your decision. Will the increased cost be covered by an increase in value/revenue/customers? Remember that the total cost will include several components: the cost of the system (based on features selected, whether you host in-house or in the cloud), equipment (number of handsets), wiring, and installation.
5. What do their customers say?
Once you’ve gathered the facts, it’s helpful to get others’ perspective, especially the customers of that phone service. Online reviews can provide some insights. It’s important to look for trends among the reviews rather than individual comments. Some businesses will contact the company’s customer service department and pose as customers to get a sense of what support is available. In addition, some phone companies offer case studies of how they were able to help a business solve a problem using their services. In all of this feedback, you’re looking to validate the facts and figures you’ve gathered.
Today’s business phone services offer a variety of options that can help your business grow. The key is to determine which add the most value. Start with these questions to help you discover what’s right for your small business.