By Kathy Cox

Your business phone system: Fix it before it’s broken

Don’t wait for a crisis to force your hand.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” may apply to many things. But your business phone system is not one of them.

Waiting until your telecom network ages to the point of dysfunction will cause unnecessary stress and possibly the loss of customers and revenue. The boss will not be happy (if you’re the boss, you know that more than anyone). It also puts you in a poor position to objectively evaluate your next phone system. When you’re under duress, time pressures will prevent a level-headed review of the options.

It’s understandable that a business would put off an upgrade. After all, the phones are still ringing. And there are so many important things that need to be done. Still …

Consider your computer needs. Businesses would never string a computer out for seven years. Think of your competitive disadvantage of your firm was still using the best laptops 2009 had to offer. Phones are no different.

Your phone system runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It will eventually wear out. Technology marches on. You don’t want to be stuck in a telecom time warp.

A reasonable lifespan for a business phone system is five to seven years. If you wait longer, it may become difficult or impossible to obtain service or parts. Manufacturers eventually drop support for old product lines. And things break and will require fixing. This will plunge you into crisis mode.

That’s the bad news.


Don’t put a decision on hold

But there’s plenty of good news. Today’s phone systems are simpler to use and can do much more than was possible only a few years ago. They allow you to get more done and communicate more effectively inside and outside your business.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Seamless desk-to-mobile connection Calls are forwarded (at your discretion) to cell phones, but mobile numbers are never revealed to customers. Voice mail logs stay on the office system, not the mobile device.
  • Hotdesking Log into any company phone just as if it were the phone at your desk. In addition, a mobile app allows you to replicate all phone system functions on your cell.
  • Smart transferring Instead of dropping customers into voice mail, the system rings the next logical person who can serve them.
  • Messages on the go Voice mails are emailed as audio files for easy access without your phone.
  • Video conferencing Improve communication with webcam-enabled video calls.
  • Teleconferencing Up to 40 people can participate in a phone-based meeting, complete with full recordings.

And, by the way, these aren’t add-ons or upsells. They’re standard.


What about downtime?

The irony here is that, by postponing a decision until a system crashes, downtime will be inevitable.

But downtime is not necessary if you’re proactive. It’s likely that Electronic Office Systems can replace your system seamlessly after hours. The next day, when employees arrive, training begins.


How will I pay for it?

Because every business is different, there are a variety of ways to finance a phone system. These include:

  • Leasing
  • Lease to rent
  • Rent
  • Rent and refresh (replace with a new system at the end of the lease)

Another variable will be the type of system you purchase. A VOIP system requires an upfront purchase of hardware, while a cloud-based system does not. Both have their advantages. We can help you determine the best financial fit. Keep in mind that it doesn’t cost anything to explore the options.

At the end of the day, your phone system is not a technology decision. It’s a business decision. Proactivity can protect you from downtime and system failure. Looking ahead can also bring new levels of productivity and communication to your business.

Don’t wait until it’s broken to fix it.

Kathy Cox is president of Electronic Office Systems, a Lee’s Summit, Mo.,-based provider of business phone services, dictation and transcription in Missouri, Kansas and the greater Midwest.