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Five steps to evaluating if your business phone system is ready for an upgrade.

What to consider when reviewing your current system and how you can boost efficiency.

Group of people sitting around a table using electronics and conversing

When was the last time you thought about the tech your company uses every day? Perhaps the last time you onboarded a staff member? Or moved to a new office? If it’s been a while since you considered your current system, you may want to investigate whether a different solution can boost productivity, improve workflow and save time.

For many businesses, their phone system is one area that’s often overlooked. Whether you’re in the office or out with customers, staying connect is vital to everyday business. And, with so many options available, finding the right size solution for your business could give you a competitive advantage.

From timing and features to planning and implementation, we’ve put together five important considerations to help you review your current phone system.

1. When and where to start

There’s never a bad time to step back and assess your business phone system. For example, the start of a new fiscal year is a time many small businesses take to see their operations from a fresh perspective.

Start by meeting with your employees in each department to understand their workflow and technology requirements. Assess daily workflow such as client calls, meetings, internal processes and how employees collaborate. The goal here is to understand how your current system meets your business needs and identify gaps or bottlenecks.

Getting feedback from your team at this stage is a great way to understand your IT needs and gain early support from employees. This will aid adoption and implementation if there’s a need to update or upgrade systems.

2. Features for your team and for the future

More small businesses are thinking mobile, and with good reason. Teams require more flexibility to work anywhere and on any device. Reflect on the workflow issues identified in step one to see if a change in process is the answer, or if a tech solution will better address the problem.

For example, what happens to a call that goes to an employee’s voicemail at their desk when they’ve been called away? If your company has sperate voicemail for your desk phones and cell phones, messages receive a delayed response, sometimes even until the end of the day or the start of the next. 

One number and one voicemail can mitigate this risk and improve your customer service. The same is true for voicemail-to-email capability if your employee really can’t take the call.

Being able to stay connected from anywhere on any device—smartphone, desk phone or even laptop or tablet, can empower your business to be truly mobile.

At this stage it’s not too early to be thinking about the future. Consider the IT your business will need to continue to grow. The solution you choose should give you the confidence that you’ll never miss a sales opportunity whether you spend your day in one place, constantly on the go, or somewhere in between.

3. Get your head in the cloud so you can focus on your business

If time is money, then there’s no sense in spending it maintaining on-site infrastructure or losing it to downtime for repairs. Moving your communications system to the cloud means spending less time and money managing your telecommunications, giving you more time to focus on moving your business forward.

That’s why more small business owners in Canada are looking to cloud-based solutions to realize savings. There are many advantages to the cloud, including zero maintenance, 24/7 uptime, easy scalability and data security. All of this adds up to savings for your business because your staff can focus on core business operations rather than the technology that facilitates them.

4. Plan your work and work your plan

Ask and answer these questions: do we know what features we need (and why)? What resources will be needed to effect the change? How will this improve customer service? How long will it take to implement? 

Once you have a clear picture of your workflow and system needs, establish a plan and stick to it. With an understanding of the features you need, you can decide to implement everything at once or take a staged approach based on your budget. Be sure to consider the resources needed to implement the new technology and any support needed for maintenance. Once implemented, set a time in the future to review your system’s performance and adjust your workflow or solution accordingly.

5. Consider a professional perspective

If you’re not ready to assess your IT needs on your own, there are professionals that can help. A professional will ask the right questions and bring a fresh perspective with fewer preconceptions about your existing workflow and systems. In the end, this can save you time and give you peace of mind knowing that you have the right solution for your business.

Learn more about cloud-based communication.