Settling on your regular POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) for your business is probably a good choice, if you’re really small. If it’s just you and a couple of other individuals, the POTS system is simple, has the usual hold/call waiting/caller ID functionality, and is reliable.
But if you have several employees and/or an eye on a more mobile workplace with employees that travel, you might want to consider a UC (Unified Communication) system. UC can give you the advantage of having a single system that will manage multiple tools across the board, which can help a smaller company take advantage of features that make them appear larger and more competitive.
UC is the integration of real-time communication, such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, telephony (including IP), video conferencing, data sharing, call control, and speech recognition, as well as services such as integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS, and fax. This choice can make your organization truly competitive and always connected.
With the help of Digium, we’ve put together a list of five things that you should consider when shopping for a system:
1. Select a phone system that lets you do more with less. The less you spend, the better, and there’s plenty of good plans to check and compare.
2. Use mobility features. With UC, you can integrate mobile apps for the iPhone, Android, and/or Blackberry with your phone system. This includes calling from a mobile device as if it were your office phone and allowing access to company phone directories. This also lets you stay in touch with your staff out in the field through conferencing features, and it even allows you to monitor as well.
3. Finding the best savings. Be careful of fees, which can hide and come up if you use an ‘optional’ feature. You should calculate not just what it will cost you now, but in the future, and consider your ROI as well; increased employee productivity can help make this pay for itself in the long run. Also consider maintenance costs, including renewals or upgrades.
4. Ultimately, it’s about the customer. The savings are important, but you can’t forget how this system will make things easier for your customers as well. Do you have call volumes so high that call queuing might be useful? What about using an IVR to help automate things?
5. Flexibility and functionality. Anticipate your business’s growth to help choose; consider needs you may have coming up. Consider, too, how easily your system is upgradable and what business processes you might need.
There are a lot of factors involved, the main one of which is accessibility. Whether for your customer, for you, or for your staff, speed and ease of access are paramount to your business. As long as everything above fits into your access needs, it should be considered.