Your phone system is sitting in your small business as we speak, taking up loads of room in a closet somewhere. You’ve had it forever, and even depended on extra hardware to add features like message on hold or auto attendant greetings.
Is it time to switch? It most likely is, but you might be balking. All that phone equipment needs to go somewhere, and setting up a new phone system has a lot of up-front costs. Although the adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes to mind when you think about upgrading, switching your old phone system with a new one is easier than you think, specifically if it’s a hosted phone system, or VOiP.
We get it. Change is a hassle. But a new hosted phone system doesn’t have to be. In fact, once you make the switch, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to dump your old phone system. Here’s why switching to a VOiP this year makes more sense than you think.
The basics of hosted phone systems
Your old phone system, the one taking up an entire closet of space in your office as we speak, is called POTS. It’s been around for a century in some way, shape or form. POTS is a plain old telephone service or a Post Office Telephone Service, referring to the days when all phone systems would run through post office operators. These systems go all the way back to the beginning of the phone and have just been upgraded and upgraded for over a century.
POTS works by having a terminal, the big bulky phone system in your closet, wire received and sent calls from your office phones to a switch in a central office. They’re your phone call’s connection between point A and Point B, a holdover from when we could only transmit messages via copper wires.
Until now. Hosted phone systems work by cutting out the middle man and using your internet connection to connect your call. These phone systems are hosted elsewhere and depend on a robust internet connection to work, so no more storing a big, bulky phone system in your office!
Thanks to the magic of the internet, hosted phone systems can do more than just take and receive calls. VOiPs make a lot of items of your old phone systems easier. These include voicemail to email, multiple call routing, remote calling, and uploading voicemail greetings, including auto attendant and Message on Hold.
With a VOiP you can upload your Message on Hold, auto attendant greetings, and voicemail greetings directly to your server on the internet. No more need for CDs, USB or memory sticks, or tapes to plug your new messages in. Just receive an emailed production and upload to your system and voila!
As an added bonus, since your phone system is wireless, your employees can use it in and out of the office. All they need is a wireless connection and they can access your phone system through a portal, on their own cell phones or through an office phone set up at their home. As work becomes less confined to a cubicle, this will allow you more flexibility for remote work or telecommuting. This feature can also apply to video conferencing and chat messaging, making it easier to do business with customers online and third parties like vendors and stakeholders remotely.
It’s also more cost-effective than your old POTS. In fact, we’ve found that our clients are often able to recover the cost of the new equipment in less than a year, based on the monthly savings over their traditional phone solution. How? It costs a lot of money to operate a POTS, especially factoring in long-distance calls. By using your VOiP, making a call is like messaging someone on the internet in terms of cost.
What do you need to upgrade?
In order to make the most of your new hosted phone system, you and your employees need a robust internet system. This will ensure your calls, voicemail greetings, etc. will work in and out of the office. You’ll also need great internet security to deter hackers and ensure you’re compliant with the privacy laws that apply to your business. For example, HIPAA, IP-SEC, and GDPR – your hosted phone system provider should have these certificates listed.
You also need to check your contract with your old POTS. If it’s almost up anyway, now is an excellent time to switch. If not, or if you just renewed, you can either talk to your phone provider and see if they can upgrade your phone system as part of their plan, or talk to your new phone system provider and see if they have any “buy-out” promotions you can take advantage of.
Another thing you will need to check: how long can your greetings be? If you use Message on Hold as part of your marketing, be aware that some companies only allow two minutes of airtime for your message. If that’s the case, or if you switched and just discovered that’s the case, contact your message on hold provider and see what they can do to update your message.
Once these items are taken care of, installing a hosted phone system is easy. Your phone system provider can take care of most of the work; all you’ll need to do is follow the prompts on an online portal and presto! Goodbye bulky phone system and hello extra storage space.
Not sure what to do? Give us a call! We will offer complimentary consulting services, help you vet out the different suppliers, and help to find you the best supplier at the best price.