Business Phone Systems Featured Article
How to Manage Your Company's VoIP Phone System Without an IT Department
- Start with what you know: Money. Small businesses need the best phone equipment and service at the best price they can find. Fortunately, technology developments have driven prices down in recent years. Extremely advanced digital phone systems are now available to businesses with as few as three or four employees. These systems have all the advanced features of the systems which larger businesses buy at a fraction of the price. They deliver the key benefit of “line leverage” or line sharing, in which multiple phones can be supported by a single phone line. This saves substantial money on a small business’s monthly phone service.
Regarding the business phone service part of the equation, VoIP or “Voice over Internet Protocol” technology is the most rapidly growing segment in the telecommunications market, offered by most of the major players. In general, a VoIP business line runs between $25 and $30 a month, versus a traditional business phone line running between $40 and $60. The price is better because the technology is much more cost effective than older technology; most vendors pass this savings on to you.
- Look for a simple purchase process. The reason most small businesses don’t buy phone systems is that they are forced to buy the equipment separately from the service. They then have to figure out how to get the equipment to work with the service they bought! Look for a package deal, where the equipment and service come together, pre-configured to work with each other. Then you won’t get stuck in a finger-pointing battle between your equipment and service provider.
- Look for a simple installation process. When faced with the prospect of finding an equipment supplier, finding a service provider, and getting it all installed, most small business owners throw up their hands and hire an “independent telco agent” to do it for them. These agents charge between $1,000 and $2,000 to install everything, on top of equipment and service costs. Don’t spend this money! Find a provider who has focused on simplifying their technology, and who do the hard part of the installation for you. They should have simplified their equipment enough so that they are able to send you the phone system preconfigured, so all you have to do is plug it in. It’s a warning sign if they can’t do this, and insist that you hire someone or pay extra for the installation.
Also beware of hidden installation fees. Agents typically charge $100 per phone to install wiring in your home or office. Then, if you want to change the location of your phone, you have to pay the fee again! New wireless technology allows you to avoid this charge by buying a simple $35 wireless adapter, so you can put your business phone anywhere you want it.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi