It’s a common theme.
Small business signs up for a phone system because it’s relatively cheap. Later on, they realize they need more from the phone system—but the provider doesn’t have the capacity to meet their demands.
The company, in turn, settles. They simply adjust operations to accommodate the limitations of their phone system. After all, as a small business, they really don’t have a lot of options within their price range.
This would be ok if it doesn’t have adverse effects on the company. But a system with too many limitations can lead to missed calls, missed messages, and missed faxes. A small business can’t afford to miss these things because it could also mean missed opportunities. Since you’re still trying to stabilize your footing, you can’t afford to waste a great chance that comes your way
It is a shame because, with a little more research, you’ll find that you never really had to settle. There are options out there that can meet your business communications needs without forcing you to spend large amounts of money.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to recognize that you need an effective phone system. The first step, however, is to accept that there is a problem.
This is not always easy. Businesses, like people, are often resistant to change. You may feel that you can still work with what you have right now and you’re probably afraid that making a change could also mean making it worse.
To help you figure things out, here are some signs that your small business needs a new communications solution:
The system is obsolete (or near-obsolete)
You might think your phone system will last forever. Oh, it will probably need some tweaking over time. But it should hold out for as long as you need it…
Until it doesn’t. Suddenly, the problems become much more difficult to fix, and parts needed for the fix are harder to come by. Soon, you’ll find it much cheaper to just abandon it.
That’s because the system is on its way to being obsolete.
There are familiar signs that will tell you if your system is going the obsolescence route, including:
- Your provider is not offering the same system to new customers anymore
- The parts you need to fix your system aren’t available
- New trends that could replace (or have already replaced) the system being used in the company are emerging
There are more signs that point to your system going obsolete, but it will be up to you to recognize them.
A lot of businesses choose their communications solution providers based on price, thinking it gives them the most value because they don’t need to spend too much. It doesn’t take long before they find out the reason why the price is cheap is that the service is cheap, too.
When your people spend more time trying to get your phone system to work than they do actually making money, it’s a big neon sign saying you need a new communications solution. You deserve one that will actually help you become more productive instead of getting in the way of your productivity.
Is your phone system able to provide the features and functionalities you need?
You’d think this is an easy question to answer, but it’s not. Sometimes, businesses don’t know they need a certain functionality because they don’t even know it exists. Or even if they do know about it, they don’t think they can afford it given their limited resources.
For example, if your company’s been using a traditional human receptionist through a multi-line system, would you actually recognize that your business could be better off with an auto-attendant that automatically answers and routes all incoming calls?
To have a better idea of what you need and what you may be missing out on, you have to make an honest assessment of your phone situation by:
- Reviewing the features and functions you need based on your business goals
- Matching it with the available features and functionalities of different communications solution providers in the market
- Comparing your findings to what your current provider is delivering to you
It should paint a clearer picture of what you’re missing out on. You might be surprised to find what’s available to you at your price point.
For a growing business, a phone system that’s not scalable can be a liability instead of an asset.
Most of the traditional systems require complex cabling and installations just to add one more user. Can you imagine how much harder it’ll be if the business needs to expand to another location? Will the business have to install a new and separate system for the new office?
That’s something you should consider as a business owner, even if you’re not at that point yet. While your current phone service may be working for you (albeit in a limited capacity), you should consider its ability to adjust to the needs of your business as it grows and goes through changes. A lot of the time, what works right now may not work in the (near) future.
Poor customer service/assistance
When evaluating your current phone system provider, you have to ask yourself the following questions:
- How far has your current communications solutions provider gone to provide you with the best service?
- Did they assist you in installing and implementing their service for your company?
- Are they readily available to assist you when you have questions, concerns, and complaints about the service?
- Do they have people who know the history of your account and have knowledge of how you use the phone service?
A lot of third-party providers only care about getting new customers and don’t really care about them once they are signed up. If your current communications solutions provider is like this, then maybe it’s time to look for a provider who cares about retaining your business and earning your loyalty.
If your current situation sounds like the ones mentioned above, then looking into other options like VoIP phone service should certainly be on the table for you.
While you might think there are limited options for a small business like yours, you’ll see that, with a bit more digging, there is a communications solution capable of meeting most, if not all, your needs without breaking the bank.
Want a handy version of this article? Check out our infographic below!
Did we miss anything? Share your thoughts in the comments section.