Tips for choosing a business phone system

Tips for choosing a business phone system

Many Northeast Ohio businesses are migrating from analog landline phones to VoIP systems. This is largely due to the practical benefits of modern digital business phone plans: VoIP plans tend to be more cost-effective, more flexible, and can be easily integrated into a business’s data systems.

But before you switch to VoIP, make sure you’re getting a solution that suits your needs. Different vendors package their offerings differently, and it would be in your best interests to identify which solution meets your requirements without sacrificing quality and hurting your budget.

Here are some tips for choosing the best business phone system:

1. Identify plan features

Phone plans vary from vendor to vendor, so make it a point to ask your prospective provider to send a full list of features that come with each plan so you can choose one that matches your needs. Then, ask yourself if any of the extra features will be useful for your organization.

Make sure to verify that the functionalities you need are included in your chosen plan. Some advanced features may entail additional fees, so get that detail cleared up right away.

2. Compute the total cost of ownership

Before you commit to a phone plan, make sure it aligns with your business’s financial plans and capabilities. Consider what amount you are willing to spend for phones, other telecoms equipment, and the associated costs of data network upgrades.

Service quotes may not be the same across industries, and there may be other costs associated with installation, setup, and even post-installation. Furthermore, certain add-on features that your business needs might come at an additional cost so make sure to factor all these in to compute how much you will really be spending.

3. Assess your existing infrastructure

An Ohio Telecommunications Association study found that despite the exodus from incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) service providers, many businesses still use existing ILEC infrastructure in their office for wireless phone and internet communications. This is great news since it helps cut migration costs, but you should first check whether any existing ILEC cabling in your office is still serviceable and can handle the bandwidth needed to meet your needs.

Phone systems are only as good as the infrastructure they are on, so assessing the backbone of your communications system is critical. However, most small businesses might not have the in-house expertise to properly assess their existing network. It’s therefore a good idea to ask your provider if they can conduct infrastructure assessments before integrating your new phone system.

4. Check for mobile device support

More and more workers these days complete their tasks on the go, so it’s critical to have a communication solution with mobile capabilities. Make sure any prospective phone solution can offer softphone apps for various mobile devices and operating systems.

Having an office phone system that supports out-of-office work will allow your workers to maximize their productivity even if they’re not chained to their desks. This could also be an opportunity for your business to expand its operations’ potential and embrace satellite offices and remote working arrangements. A mobile-enabled unified communications solution can unlock a host of ways to empower workers, optimize communications, and even increase revenues.

5. Evaluate your vendor

It’s important to check whether prospective vendors’ sales pitches hold up to real-world conditions. The best way to do this is by checking their track record, especially in comparison to similarly sized businesses in your area. Consistent customer service quality, strong communication patterns, and an evident culture of continued improvement are some things you’ll want to see.

Good solutions providers distinguish themselves by how they address customer dissatisfaction. Providers that respond negatively to customer reviews and refuse to accept responsibility for issues should be avoided at all costs.

Enjoy full office phone features and significant cost savings with North Shore’s cloud-powered business VoIP systems. We start off every migration with a thorough assessment of your existing infrastructure and your needs to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. Call us at 440-392-9928 or drop us an email at to get started.