A recent survey by Hanover Research found that despite the rise of email, video and social media, 74 percent of small and midsized businesses (SMBs) still rely on voice communication and rated it as extremely or very important to their business operations. Unfortunately, a majority of businesses are continuing to maintain a traditional PSTN phone system at high cost. In doing so, organizations may be hobbling their business potential.
When you rely on your business phone system for everyday use and connectivity with your customers, the safest move is to invest in a phone system that is simple to maintain, scalable, feature-filled and cost efficient. An option that is becoming more popular every day is VoIP communications.
It’s important to first understand your business needs and your network infrastructure. What functionality does your business require, and what would be some nice-to-have features? Do you need an on-premises system or is a hosted solution a better fit? Once you cover your basic needs, you’ll discover the advanced features and functionality a VoIP solution can offer that a traditional phone system would have never been able to compete with.
In this slideshow, Digium outlines five problems your traditional phone system will eventually experience, and how VoIP can solve each one.
Overcoming Common Phone System Problems
Click through for five common problems with traditional phone systems and how VoIP can help organizations solve those issues, as identified by Digium.
Obsolete Hardware and Support
As with most technology, phone system hardware becomes obsolete quickly as newer, more cutting edge devices become available. Repairing legacy systems becomes difficult as parts are only available aftermarket and the cost of repairing and maintaining them eventually becomes overwhelming. Support costs also rise as the technicians and engineers retrain or retire. With heightened security risks, increasing demands from customers to communicate with businesses right away, and the need to improve productivity, the model of limited voice capability is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Limited Capacity and Scalability
The good news is your company is growing. The bad news is, when this happens, many businesses outgrow their infrastructure and require a system that can handle the added call volume, extensions, and data being passed across the network. Adding new office locations can be a nightmare with a traditional system, as equipment is required in every new building location. With VoIP, because employees are all on the same IP network, no additional hardware needs to be installed at each location — saving businesses time and money. With a traditional PBX, adding additional lines for employees can take several weeks to install; with VoIP, the process takes minutes. This growth support works both ways with VoIP, so if your business has a tough year and your capacity needs shrink, you can remove lines and only pay for the extensions and minutes you use.
Inadequate Features and Functionality
Being able to route customers to the correct department without playing phone tag is essential. Why? Because other companies implementing VoIP phone systems have the capabilities to deliver superior customer service, so if your business doesn’t, the competition will steal them. Employees and customers need more functionality than the expected three-way calling and caller ID. Video chat, instant messaging, presence, voicemail to email, call recording, and call analytics are all features that enhance productivity and customer service. These features and more are offered with a Unified Communications (UC) solution.
Lack of Data and Reporting
Data from your phone system tells a story that can help shape staffing and training decisions as well as improve customer service. Unfortunately, traditional phone systems do not provide this type of data; if they do, it’s through a very expensive add-on feature and is a nightmare to integrate and manage with an analogue system. A UC solution provides several forms of data, including integration with your CRM system for important customer information, call logs to determine high and low-volume call periods, on-hold times, and call recordings. The level of visibility that reporting tools provide gives you the opportunity to fine-tune your operations based on actual numbers, not just what you think might be going on.
Businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs, but one that the large majority isn’t aware of is their phone bill. How much was your last month’s phone bill? Nine out of 10 clients calling Digium have no idea, but they know they probably should know since a lot of money seems to be going toward their communications every month. Switching to VoIP can save up to 70 percent off your monthly communications costs, immediately. If you choose a hosted VoIP solution, you can have a feature-filled new phone system up and running within hours (not weeks) and with no up-front costs. Also, many VoIP pricing plans give the option of a metered or channelized payment plan, so you can pay by the number of lines or the minutes used — whichever makes more sense for your business model.