Changing or upgrading your business communications system can be a bit overwhelming. Where do you start? Like many other purchases, it’s good to reflect a little first on your needs now and also think a little about the future as well as what you want to avoid based on current or past experiences. Many people change phone services because of the higher cost of ownership due to hidden fees, unexpected yearly maintenance fees, poor customer support or lack of new features such as a mobile app to support field teams.
Here are 5 simple steps to get you started:
Step 1: Determine Your Needs
Before we dive in and give you the answer to choosing a new phone system (hint: the correct answer is Level365’s Unified Communications as a Service – UCaaS), it makes sense for you to think a little about what you need. If you’re like most customers, what you need is a reliable service at a fair price. You expect your provider to resolve issues quickly when you call and that your pricing is consistent and easy to understand. Beyond service and price, think about the different users in your business and their specific needs. After all, you want a solution that fits your entire office.
For example, do you have a mobile workforce or even field sales or field technical staff? If so, then having a phone system with a mobile app will be very important. Do you have a call center or take support phone calls? You might want a desktop application that provides call information and reporting and the ability to shift call queues to meet customer’s demands.
Step 2: Understand Past Issues
Are you getting a new phone system because of the cost or quality of service issues? Make sure you get a quote that covers the total cost of ownership (TCO), which should include upfront equipment, monthly costs as well as ongoing maintenance costs. Remember with a cloud-based phone system, the provider handles the maintenance costs, not you the customer. Try to understand as much as you can about the level of support you will receive. Ask detailed questions about your provider’s support. What types of support do they offer – phone, email, chat, etc? How long is their hold time? Is customer service U.S. based or overseas? What measure are taken to ensure quality of service?
Step 3: Budget and Understanding Costs
This ties back to Step 2 a little by understanding TCO. Onsite phone systems can be expensive upfront but remember that costs don’t stop there. You have to pay for maintenance as well as system upgrades and more features if needed. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) provides lower TCO by providing services using cloud resources. The features, functionality, and upgrades are included with the monthly subscription cost. Ongoing support is also included.
Step 4: Research Solutions
It is a big decision, so you’ll want to invest some time in determining what options are available. There are lots of online resources but many of them are simply paid advertising designed to look like a resource. Besides monthly costs, you should look into support. What is the provider’s reputation for providing ongoing support? How quickly do they answer calls on average? What is their existing customer satisfaction rating? Don’t overlook the cost of poor customer support.
Step 5: Request Quotes and Make a Decision
You should be able to provide some basic information such as the number of users and also answer a few other simple questions and get a quote. Be sure to ask if signing a long-term contract is required. Some providers lock you into a contract that is 3-years or more. Also, ask about fees and other charges so you get a full understanding of the total costs. Many providers charge 20-40% more than their listed price due to fees and hidden charges.
Level365 provides hassle-free quotes on business phone service that will connect, integrate, and improve your overall communications. You won’t get any heavy-handed sales approach from Level365 and we respect your wishes. If you just want some preliminary information or pricing, we can provide that as well.
Level365 offers a complete Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution with enterprise voice that is customizable and scalable for your business. Our service seamlessly integrates communication among desk phones, computers, and mobile devices to improve efficiency and collaboration. Our UC platform extends beyond voice communications with Unified Messaging, Presence, Chat/SMS, Video Collaboration, Cloud Faxing, CRM Integrations, and more.