Phone System Buyers Guide
Whether you have to buy a new phone system because yours is failing or you are evaluating investing in new technology, your purchase decision should be framed by the following objectives:
- Improve Employee Productivity
- Enhance Customer Service
- Lower Costs
If your phone system investment does not address at least one of these objectives, you are simply putting a new piece of plastic on your desk and likely missing an opportunity to improve your business.
The following are conversations you should be having with a prospective vendor. If the salesperson is not asking you these types of questions, you are working with the wrong person.
- Do you have employees who work out of the office? Would it make sense for your customers to be able to reach them any time, any place?
- Does your staff carry smart phones or tablets? If they could manage their messages (voice, fax, e-mail) from their devices, would it help them do their jobs?
- Have you invested in a CRM or Sales Automation package? How important are metrics to your business?
- Do you keep business contacts in either a CRM system or in an Outlook Contacts or similar address book?
- Do you frequently have conference calls with multiple outside parties?
- Are you using cloud applications such as Google docs? Is your e-mail on an in-house server or hosted? Are technology initiatives moving to the cloud?
- Do you have IT staff that can handle changes to the system or will you need outside support?
- Does staff move within the office frequently?
- Do you have multiple locations? Can you transfer calls from location to location?
Enhance Customer Service
- Do you have either a formal or informal call center? Are your customers frequently looking for the same person or groups of people?
- Do your clients spend time waiting on hold for help?
- Would it be a benefit if your customers could call your staff directly?
- What is your customer’s biggest frustration when they call your company?
- Do you have to ask the same questions of many callers (i.e. what is your account number)?
- Is your turnaround time getting back to customers too long?
- Would call volume metrics make it easier to schedule staffing for key phone positions more effectively?
- Would it be useful to be able to record conversations? Is there a legal need to record calls? Do you bill your clients for time on the phone?
- Do you provide the same information repetitively? Are your clients calling to ask questions where the answer resides in a database?
- Do you need to confirm appointments or manage a schedule? Is there a need for mass notification?
- When was the last time you reviewed your network services? Have you looked at what several carriers can provide for voice and internet access?
- Are you currently under contract with your carrier?
- Do you have dedicated to answering calls, if so, does the call volume vary?
- Are you expanding into new markets or geographic areas? How are you supporting the remote operations?
- Do you make international calls?
- Do you provide your staff with cell phones or reimburse staff for their personal cell plans?
- Do you track phone usage and assign costs to departments?
- If you have a call center, do you track agent productivity and follow trends?
- How much do you spend with your current vendor on service calls? How many times do you pay to have program changes or moves on your phone system?
- Do you have a budget for the technology investment? What ROI is acceptable?
A good first meeting with a prospective vendor will likely last about an hour.