The office phone system is one of the familiar and necessary staples of every business.
Even as other forms of communication continue to change, the office phone system is the indisputable leader in connecting businesses.
Nobody wants an office phone system that can’t keep up.
The signs start with minor irritations but eventually graduate to issues that affect business operations and productivity. Phones not being answered in a timely fashion, confusion as to who’s answering which calls, complaints about call quality, full voicemail boxes, and other frustrating problems can all indicate that your phone system has reached its limits for your business needs. Phone systems that can’t keep up create problems beyond dropped calls and confusing menu options. Outdated office phone systems can actually harm your business and reduce revenue. It’s hard enough to get customers on the line, you certainly don’t need your phone system complicating that process.
Can you remember the last time you updated your office phone system?
If not, it’s time to consider a new one! Here are five signs that your office phone system can’t keep up with your business:
1. Poor Business Phone Call Quality
Dealing with poor call quality is frustrating for both your customers and your employees. Static, poor audio quality, voice delays, or calls that drop unexpectedly are all serious issues. If your employees are unable to connect with customers within that small window of opportunity due to phone issues, you can lose business. Call quality should be top-of-mind to your customer service reputation.
2. Call Routing Problems
Limited call routing options can make your phone tree frustrating to navigate. Leading your callers through an endless maze of menus, requiring them to enter several different digit combinations, or putting them on hold for long periods of time can cause frustration, and send them to your competition.
Your office phone system should allow you to customize call routing features that make the calling experience helpful and simple. For example, a simple after-hours rule that immediately offers callers the option to leave a voicemail message. Or having a maximum on-hold time before going to a failover destination can let your callers know that you value their time.
Creating a phone tree that’s easy and helpful for your customers to navigate will keep them from getting lost, and even worse hanging up.
3. Your office is expanding beyond the cubicle.
The number of telecommuting workers has increased 115% in a decade, according to report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs. That translates to 3.9 million workers, or almost 3% of the total U.S. workforce, working from home at least half the time in 2015, an increase from 1.8 million in 2005. With these numbers, your phone system needs to be equipped to handle remote working. A phone system with geographic flexibility gives your employees the ability to work from home, on vacation, during sick days, or for any other reason that might take them away from the office.
If your phone system ties you to a physical location, you’re creating a scenario where either your employees can’t work remotely, or your employees can work remotely with their own cellphones or other devices, which means you may have to reimburse them for their cell phone charges. But a phone system with geographic flexibility keeps all of your employees’ work calls under a single bill and with systems in place.
4. Phones That Don’t Scale To Your Company Needs
Phone systems that don’t scale easily can make it hard for any business to grow. Businesses that expect growth shouldn’t be hindered by an archaic office phone system. A hosted phone system that scales well can add new users and new locations within a matter of minutes or hours. This allows an admin user to easily add new employees to the phone system, and even add new locations as the business grows. Cloud phone systems allow you to make real-time changes to your deployment, so new employees can get up and running quickly.
5. Limited Call Functionality
How your office phone functions is an important user experience for both your customers and your employees. For customers, are they given an option to re-hear auto attendant options? Or is there the option to return to the prior menu?
Call functionality also includes what happens to a customer during a call. When sent to a queue, is the customer met with music on hold, or do they wait and listen in silence? According to an AT&T survey, customers who listened to hold music thought a 30-second wait lasted just 15 seconds, while those who listened to silence thought the same wait lasted 90 seconds. So make sure your customers have music to listen to while on hold! A business phone system with limited capabilities might not even be able to offer these small conveniences.
Your employees can also suffer from limited functionality. Conference calls with low per-person capacity can limit the size of team meetings. The absence of voicemail can also add inefficiency to your staff. And limitations placed on landline phone systems can diminish the number of phone lines your employees can have.
Don’t Let Your Phone System Hurt Your Business
The issues identified above are some of the pressing signals that your current office phone system can’t keep up with your business. In fact, these same issues may be placing unintentional obstacles in front of your customers and potential business.
It’s hard enough to win business, but when your phone system is lacking necessary functionality, you’re potentially giving your competition a subtle but not insignificant advantage that has nothing to do with the quality of your product. You don’t want potential business to judge your capabilities based on your phone system fails, so now is a good time to consider a new office phone system!