How old is your business telecom equipment? You probably don’t have a rotary phone on your desk, but you might have that old push-button telephone that hasn’t been upgraded for ages. You figure it still gives you a dial tone, so why upgrade?
The truth is that your telephone system is central to your operation, and the more efficient your telecommunications system is, the more efficient your business is.
As telecommunications technology continues to evolve, the telephone still remains the best tool for business communications. Telephones are generally inexpensive, and everyone has one. And the telephone is universally compatible—all phone systems can talk to one another. For business, using the telephone is the fastest way to connect and to get things done.
However, the telephone offers possibilities beyond conversation. Today’s telephones also are able to send text messages, digital information, and even video images.
Signs it’s time to upgrade your business phone system
If you are still picking up your old touch-tone office phone just to make voice calls, it may be time to think about updating your business phone system. Here are seven reasons why:
1. Your company is growing faster than your phone system
If you are adding new staff or new locations, adding more phone lines can be a problem—and expensive. Many older telephone systems don’t scale well, or they require additional expensive hardware to add telephone lines. Voice over IP (VoIP) offers more scalability, especially if you are using a hosted VoIP service, but it’s expensive. However you grow, you want a phone service that can grow with you without a lot of added cost.
2. Your phone bills are too high
As your phone system grows, so does your phone bill. Are you spending too much for telephone services? What about telephone maintenance? Is your phone system becoming too expensive to operate? Performing a simple cost analysis should tell you if it’s time to upgrade.
3. Your staff is mobile or remote
The phone system is an office lifeline for a staff that’s on the go. That means you need an efficient telephone system that facilitates remote access to messages, directories, and the like and that has “follow me” functionality so that you can reach employees in the field. Most employees are working from home or remotely, so adding bring-your-own-device support to the phone system is becoming increasingly important.
4. Your phone system doesn’t integrate
Because the telephone is a central part of a broader communications and collaboration strategy, ensuring your telephone system integrates with other systems is also important. For example,
does your phone system’s voicemail system generate transcribed email messages for faster response? What about integrating with other unified communications services such as messaging, file sharing, and video? Some phone systems even go so far as to integrate directly with customer relationship management databases to improve customer support.
5. You need better business intelligence
Businesses are more data-driven than ever before, and because your telephone system is core to your business communications, you should be able to use it to see what’s working and what isn’t. Many phone systems will allow you to track such things as call time, call duration, call abandonment, and other metrics that can tell you a lot about sales and customer service.
6. You need an all-in-one collaboration system
Fewer companies are maintaining separate phone lines for separate purposes. Fax numbers, for example, are being used less as companies are turning to online fax services. Other services, such as teleconferencing, also are being outsourced, but companies are realizing that many of these services can be integrated into their existing telephone systems for little or no cost.
7. Your phone system is susceptible to failure
If you have a centralized telephone system, then you also have a single point of failure. If your telephone system goes down, then your business is isolated from customers, prospects, and partners. Modern telephone systems, especially cloud-based systems, provide system redundancy, so even if your phone system does go down, calls can be rerouted, or an automated attendant can handle messages so that your business doesn’t go dark.
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