Business telecoms are an essential part of the digital communications infrastructure. If your business telephone system is unreliable, frequently experiences outages, or delivers poor call quality, this can impact customer services, sales functions and responsiveness.
The real-world costs of poor communication can be critical, whether you miss customer enquiries, fail to receive an important message or present an unprofessional first impression to a caller who ends up listening to a never-ending engaged tone.
Here we work through some of the red flags that your business telephone system is letting you down – and discuss the advanced options to pick a future-proof phone system installation that will improve speed, call response times and the reliability of your telecoms.
1. Increasing Costs of Calls and Business Line Rental
Phone systems are, of course, necessary for any business that needs to be able to make and answer calls, implement remote video conferencing, communicate through internal phone lines, or correspond with colleagues at another branch, site or department.
If those calls are becoming increasingly expensive, particularly where you need to communicate with international vendors or team members, you may be spending more than necessary.
A report in June 2023 published by The Guardian showed that major telecom providers have introduced huge price rises of up to 17% in the last year primarily due to increased demand for phone capacity and to boost profitability in an inflationary environment.
The regulator, Ofcom, is expected to intervene – but in the interim, a cloud-hosted phone system or a hosted VoIP telecoms setup could effectively remove these cost pressures, and in many cases can reduce communications overheads by as much as 80%.
2. Lack of Customisable Functionality
Incoming calls are often the first point of contact a customer has with your business. If that process is difficult, stressful or unsatisfactory, there is a very good chance a prospective client will go elsewhere.
Older phone lines have limited options – perhaps a ‘mute’ button to silence a call while you consult a colleague or a call forwarding function where you can pass a call to the best person. However, modern alternatives have a huge number of features that can deliver excellent benefits.
Businesses might prioritise phone systems with:
- Customised ringtones for specific groups.
- Multi-device or specific-device call routing.
- Responsive call menus for customers to select from.
- Intelligent queuing systems with expected waiting times.
- Voicemail-to-email functions.
- Call recording and monitoring.
Not every feature will be helpful for every business. Still, by customising your business telephone systems, you can eliminate niggles and improve smoother call handling while enabling staff to better manage peak call volumes.
3. Being Unable to Use Business Telecoms Remotely
Traditionally, phone hardware was static, and each handset was only accessible by the individual working at that station.
Today’s business sector means this phone system is ineffective, where a proportion of colleagues work remotely or on a hybrid structure and need the same ability to make and receive calls from home or any location.
Mobile features mean an employee can use an app-based phone system to answer and initiate calls as if they were in the office – but from anywhere they happen to be working.
Businesses with several sites and locations, with staff working in the field or managing callouts, those with remote or hybrid systems where teams might be in the office or at home on any given day, and those wanting to provide responsiveness at any time when a customer chooses to call often opt for mobile functionality.
These features are also vital for roving positions or community-based roles; for example, engineers who travel around their region during the workday, or care workers supporting people in their own homes.
4. An Inability to Add Additional User Lines
Most older phone systems based on ISDN lines have an upper limit on the number of users or lines they can support. If you have reached a point where you cannot add new users, or have already utilised the maximum lines available, it is time to look at a replacement.
Individual lines can be advantageous for businesses with different departments or teams. For example, a client might call a different number for accounts and billing, ordering and shipping – or contact specific individuals such as their account manager when they need help with a query.
As businesses grow, they add new services or increase the number of employees as the organisation scales; it is important your telephone systems can keep pace.
5. Regular Business Telephone System Outages and Downtime
Phone system glitches can be incredibly frustrating and expensive, often requiring an engineer to visit and identify the problem – which can add additional time while you wait for a call-out to get your telecoms back online.
Temperamental, unreliable phone systems cause no end of issues and, ideally, should be replaced with more advanced technology before they reach the stage of total failure. That could mean telecom outages, dropping calls sporadically, or finding that callers are unable to get through or encounter very poor call quality.
It’s also time to consider a replacement phone system installation if you have hardware that has exceeded the manufacturer’s warranty or where the components are no longer manufactured and become tricky to replace if a physical aspect of your phone lines stops working.
6. Business Telephone Systems That Cannot Integrate With Other Applications
Finally, a great phone system works like a cog in the machine rather than as a standalone communications asset. Integrated phone networks linked with, for example, CRM systems can have huge benefits. For instance, you might be able to instantly identify the caller from their number, bring up their profile and access order history information – all before you pick up the call.
Unified communications systems are the gold standard, whereby all dialogues are recorded and logged in the same place, including live chat messages, emails, phone calls, and video conferencing interactions.
However, a simple integration can make all the difference to the experience every caller has when they get in touch – and how quickly and efficiently you can improve your service delivery standards to focus on personalisation.
Replacing Outdated Business Phone Networks
Our engineers and telecom consultants regularly work with businesses that have been struggling with frustrations for some time. They might have decided that the only solution is to replace redundant phone systems to accommodate remote working and be able to reliably communicate with long-distance clients and partners.
Others recognise that it is essential to replace conventional cabled phones before PSTN lines are switched off and ensure they have agile telecoms that will remain a good investment in communications without anticipated outages or the need to upgrade hardware again shortly.
For many, VoIP phone systems or a comprehensive hosted PBX service is ideal, providing seamless call management, a broad array of call-handling functions, and lower operating costs, needing solely a good internet connection to manage any volume of calls with ease.
For more information about the underlying problems causing issues with your phone connections or for advice from the independent telecom experts about the best new phone system installation for your business and budget, please contact Maximum Networks at any time.