For many businesses, your phone systems are something your team uses every single day. This isn’t the ugly rain jacket you buy and wear once to get through a sudden rainstorm— it’s the coat you buy to hike the Black Hills. It needs to be something that will last and enhance your company’s performance every step of the way.
That means, you need a telecommunication provider which offers more than just clear audio and competitive prices. The system needs to offer functionality that improves your daily operations and be an informed purchase you make with longevity in mind. Before selecting a new telecommunications service provider, ask yourself and your team to address some hard questions about your potential candidates:
1. How does this upgraded service directly benefit our team?
When looking for a new telecommunications service, it’s likely because your company was unsatisfied with your previous providers. Maybe the signal was spotty or the support wasn’t on par. Or perhaps your phone system was outdated and the updates weren’t provided. Whatever the case, take those concerns and address them thoroughly with your fresh candidates.
Be on the lookout for other modern features as well. Does this phone service allow your workers to use their devices on-the-go? In sales-based roles especially, availability could make or break a deal. Some providers use phone applications which allows your desktop or cell phone to function as an office phone, with the same monitoring abilities.
Let’s not forget improving the customer experience. Recordings can be used to coach your team and improve performance, a feature that traditional phone systems can’t offer.
2. How does this upgraded service increase our profitability?
Consider the other side of the same coin: how can this not only benefit your team and customers, but also your company’s finances on a grand scale? Look for a telecommunications service provider who offers a way to track productivity. With the right data, you could see how many calls were made, for how long and by who to modify your tactics and streamline your processes. These numbers can help you justify the cost of a new provider, using these gained insights to increase your office-wide efficiency.
And, let’s not forget cost. Different providers have different payment options. Do your options have one big, lump sum, or are you able to do monthly recurring payments that cover service, local and long distance minutes? Examine your current billing statement to determine the best option for you.
3. If we scale up in 6 months, a year or beyond, will the telecommunications provider still be able to serve our needs?
When learning more about the provider, be sure to consider both where their systems are today and assess how they could serve your company in the future.
If you were to expand, could their infrastructure support your needs on a larger scale? Doubling your phone systems, for example, might tip the edge of a smaller provider’s offerings and force you to make another stressful switch.
In addition, look for a provider who values growth, constantly staying up-to-date with cutting edge technology and upgrades. With electronics changing so quickly, you don’t want to invest in a provider whose phone systems will be outdated within a year’s time or doesn’t provide the software updates needed to stay savvy.
4. Does the telecommunications service provider offer reliable support?
What’s the company’s support infrastructure? If they don’t even offer support, think of all the headaches (and time wasted) you’ll suffer through trying to troubleshoot solo.
Look for a provider who not only offers support, but is available when you need it the most. Some companies may have hours that don’t correlate with your timezone, or only offer a set hourly availability or predetermined number of support tickets you can submit in a given time.
Ask the provider to do a demonstration of the user-interface for you. Some interfaces allow you to make changes such as transcribing your voicemail to your email at a touch of a button, while with other providers, the support staff must make that change for you.
5. Is the telecommunications provider willing to customize their services for our business?
No one company is alike, and your needs are likely very different than the other businesses utilizing your candidate’s telecommunication services. Ask the providers what they can offer you that no other telecomm service can.
Will they be there when you need support? Can they give you a personal quote for your unique needs instead of a standard package that leaves you overpaying for things you don’t need? Look for a company which goes the extra mile and cares about your business individually. No one wants to be a nameless customer, and when investing in a service you’ll use daily, don’t compromise on personalization.
6. Does the telecommunications provider have the capacity to store all my data?
Larger businesses might make hundreds of calls a day and store long phone recordings. For companies who have high call capacity, will the telecommunications system you are considering be able to handle the influx of incoming and outgoing calls? Can it store hours and hours of saved calls a day, including textual transcriptions?
For companies who utilize text-messaging services, this is just another set of data that needs to be stored. Ask the provider how much data storage your package includes, and ensure you know the cost of upgrading, as these sometimes “hidden” upgrade fees can add up fast.
7. What kind of security does the telecommunications provider offer to protect your calls, internal data and the private information of your customers?
For businesses which use phones to communicate— no matter your industry— your conversations should remain private. Companies who receive personal information over the phone need to be especially cautious, as collected names, credit card numbers and more can be maliciously stolen by cyber attackers.
But the threat doesn’t end there. This also includes internal exchanges, which if overheard, can leak policies or industry-exclusive information. Hacked recordings or live-streamed calls can be used as leverage to demand a financial pay-off (think ransomware) or pitted against your company or customers.
Most telecommunications providers these days store your business information in the cloud, but where does the trail start and stop, and who has access to this data? Does the provider own the cloud system they are using? If it is a fully converged network with a safe IP? For those unsure of the “technical” questions to ask, your IT department may be able to assess the provider’s level of security.
Access Cloud Communication Solutions (ACCS)
Only after you shop around will you have the full scope of the telecomm services and support available for your team. Do the research and be thorough.
Here at Access Systems, our expert team is always looking for ways to improve our offerings and find the best solution for your business. If you’re looking for a company who passes this seven question test, give us a call or explore our Phone Systems services page.