Changing the way you do business
I have walked into a number of small businesses that have old-school phone systems. They pick up an analog, corded phone, choose which line to use, and dial out. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this kind of phone system, because for some it just gets the job done. But what if something goes wrong with one of the phone lines, or a new employee comes onboard and needs a phone? Or what if the company moves offices? Who takes care of all these issues?
Every now and then I get a chance to talk to “IT Guys” at small businesses. Sometimes they are happily dedicated to supporting the company’s technology infrastructure, but more often than not, they are merely a sales or engineering employee trying to wear multiple hats. IT isn’t their specialty, but somebody has to do it.
Actually, somebody DOES NOT have to do it. Not only can small businesses outsource their technology; they can get more functionality out of their phone system at the same time.
Others on my team have posted articles covering hosted voice over IP systems. But rather than further explain what it is in technical terms, I believe you can more easily digest its impact on your business if I highlight some of the key features and benefits to the user. I talk to customers every now and then and hear some interesting things about what they like about their phone system. Here is a list of some of these items:
Zero to minimal up-front investment- Instead of spending thousands of dollars up front to buy a phone system, you can lease it from a technology provider for a monthly fee. Often times the lifetime costs are lower in this model, but even if they are the same, you have the flexibility to spread out your costs over time.
Hassle-free installation and management- Your service provider can pre-configure your phone’s settings. All you need to do is plug in the phone and log in and you are ready to go. For standard “moves, adds, and changes” a hosted system offers unparalleled simplicity.
Direct Inward Dialing- Each employee can be reached directly so callers don’t need to call a standard company number and type in an extension.
Follow-Me Phone Features- If you want to work at a different desk or a different company building, all you have to do is type your username and password into any phone on the network; all of your settings, contacts, and voicemail messages follow you. When you place a call, your name comes up on the recipient’s caller ID.
Voicemail- On hosted phone systems, you do not need a dedicated answering machine, and you can get plenty of capacity that is typically upgradeable on demand. On top of that, voicemail is easy to identify and access. Many phones have a red LED light that you can see from across the room to recognize that you have a message. Once you go to check your message, you can simply press a voicemail button on your phone for easy access.
Overall, hosted voice over IP is an extremely user-friendly system for small businesses that want advanced features without the hassle of an in-house system. However, some businesses prefer to own and control their own equipment, and if that is the case then hosted is not right for you. But if the features I listed seem appealing, you should take the time to learn more about how hosted voice over IP can meet your needs.
Parkway Volkswagen in Derby England is using hosted services for their phone solution. Watch this video to see how hosted solutions are helping Parkway meet their business goals.