The popularity of cloud-based phone systems is growing every minute. For businesses considering a cloud-based option, here are several tips to help ensure you get a phone system that best meets your needs.
- Accessible from anywhere: Since today’s workforce is increasingly mobile and remote-based, it is important to give those employees who don’t work inside your business each day the ability to connect to your phone system via smartphones and laptops. Besides giving those employees the opportunity to tap into the business’s long-distance plan, they’ll have the added benefit of having their outgoing calls show the company’s phone number on caller ID, rather than their personal cellphone number. In addition, employees don’t have to use up precious cell phone minutes and data.
- Scalable: If you are planning to grow your business, you’ll want a phone system that can expand alongside you. When adding new employees, you should be able to add new lines for them by simply punching in their information in a Web interface and either purchasing them a phone or installing mobile apps on their smartphones.
- Flexible: You want to choose a phone system provider that can change when you need it to. You may wish to change the way incoming calls are handled, such as by having calls ring a group of staffers instead of going to a single receptionist. Or, maybe you’d like them answered by a virtual attendant. There may be days when your hours vary and you need to adjust your greetings, such as on holidays. Changes like these need to be quick, simple and Web-based. If they’re not, you’re often facing expensive on-site visits from a technician. Keep your service flexible so your business can be, too.
- Well-supported: Even if it’s just for a quick question, there are times when you will need technical support from your provider. When that happens, you’ll want to speak to support staff that can actually help you, rather than one that bounces you through their corporate departments. This is a harder element to quantify in advance, and your best bet is to inform yourself using reviews others have written. 24/7 access, not just business hour access, is essential.
- Quality equipment: Let’s face it. Some phone calls don’t go well and handsets can be replaced in their holders with a modicum of force. How many times have you stretched your handset cord to reach a file and the phone base has come with you to land convincingly on the floor. You want to make sure your phones can stand up to test. Polycom phones used by Simplicity are of the quality, durability and cost you would want for your business.
- Voice codec options: Cloud-based phone services use a certain amount of Internet bandwidth in order to make or receive calls. Voice codecs are used to convert analog signals to digital ones and different codecs use different amounts of bandwidth. In the case of staff that work remotely and have limited bandwidth, a “compressed” codec offering reduced bandwidth may be desirable. This means a small compromise in voice quality, but it’s usually almost unnoticeable.
- Pricing: Phone systems can be a big cost to businesses. Make sure you are sure you have everything you need included in your price so there are no surprises down the line if you realize a feature is missing that is essential for your business. Many published prices are for a connection only and do not include equipment fees, taxes, client services and added features. Simplicity’s pricing is straightforward and you would be hard pressed to find the quality and service for less.