Cti Communications Ltd
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Top 10 Best Phone System choices in

Your current phone system is probably connected to traditional phone lines, is on premiss in your office with limited ability for people to use it from home. The people selling you a replacement want you to have a phone system hosted in the cloud and pay them per user per month. But what is right for you?

These are our "Top 10 tips for the best phone system" for you.

  1. Buy it or Pay as you go

  2. Hosted or in your building

  3. Virtual or dedicated control unit

  4. Desk Phones, Softphones, or apps

  5. Choice of line provider

  6. Length of contract

  7. Reporting

  8. Functionality

  9. Resilience

  10. Support

Buy it or Pay as you Go

A good phone system will typically last 7 to 10 years before it is replaced. We have phone systems still being used 20 years or more after we first supplied them. People change a phone system as it doesn't do what they want. In reality most of the time the people supporting the phone system haven't been asked, or they can't be bothered to make the changes, so it could have lasted longer.

Is it better for you to buy your now VoIP Phone System or pay per user per month? If you have the cash or can get the finance, buying the VoIP phone system is a third to a quarter cheaper over it's realistic 7 to 10 year life. Hosted vendors will show 3 year comparisons because that is the break even point, beyond that you will still be paying them, yet your purchased system is costing you nothing.

Hosted or in your building

The VoIP phone system controller needs to be somewhere, you can either have it in your building or pay someone to put it in theirs. If you mostly work in your building or need lots of internal communications, then onsite is best for you. If you have a poor Internet connection and most of your folk are home workers or remote workers then a hosted phone systems for business will over come your bandwidth limitations. If you don't want complicated equipment in your building then pay someone else to host it for you.

Virtual or dedicated control unit

If you have VM Server which has unused capacity and as long as you don't have to pay extra, then just add an additional VM and run it on that. If you don't have any free Virtual Machine capacity, then get a dedicated unit. Or for resilience if your VoIP phone system supports it you could have one of each linked to each other providing instant backup / load sharing.

Desk Phones, Softphones, or apps

Deskphones work when the computers are off but the business VoIP phones require a PoE port in your switch or PoE injector, or mains electricity and possibly a DECT or Wi-Fi connection. And you need to purchase / lease a phone.

Softphones mean your computer needs a headset but no more infrastructure than you do for your computer to work properly. And you only need to carry a headset around with you.

Apps on smartphones work were ever you have an Internet connection, but can incur mobile data charges. As their Wi-Fi aerial is smaller than that in a laptop, it is more easily affected by Wi-Fi coverage.

Choice of line provider

With more than a single line provider you gain resilience - when one has problems you can still make / receive calls, and send your calls out by the cheapest route to each calls destination.

Many VoIP phones system providers don't give you a choice, you pay a higher than necessary inclusive price for each user just to use their one provider. When you can split the call and system costs, you can save money on both.

Length of contract

Since The Post Office stopped being the monopoly provider, and BT got proper competition telecoms price have only got cheaper. Next years "deal" will cost less than todays, to get the best prices you want to sign for the shortest time possible.

Reporting

Many VoIP business phone systems only offer basic call data, few do reporting and very few can provide real time wallboards. This lets you know when you are too busy to answer all the calls / if you are using all the lines for which you are paying / what calls you have missed during the day / how long it takes you to answer / who is answering - making the calls and who is not. With proper reporting you can optimise your staff deployment and give a better service with less people on the phone.

Functionality

These days you should expect all phone system to do the basics, but how do they handle or even offer:

  • Integration with Teams

  • People working some of the time at home and some in the office

  • Routing to people who provide out of hours cover

  • Ability to see who is on the phone and who is available to take a call

  • Cascading groups

  • The ability to jump out of a queue and leave a message

  • Interaction with databases

  • Click & Dial from / Screen Popping of contact records

  • Paging system to make announcement over all or a group of phones

  • Multiple control units

  • Automatic failover to an alternative control unit

Resilience

What happens when various things fail:

  • Are you connected to more than one exchange?

  • Do you have more than one Internet connection?

  • Do you have more than one control unit?

  • Do you have spare PoE switches to power Deskphones?

  • Do people have Softphone & / or apps on their smartphones configured and ready to go?

  • If your building isn't operational how quicky could you be working from elsewhere?

  • Does your provider have a backup and something on which to load the configuration?

  • How quickly will the phones switch to the backup controller?

Support

This is the most critical thing but given the least attention, if your supplier / telephone system support company doesn't set it up properly, charges per change, fails to apply the updates then very quickly you will discover you are using a white elephant and your organisation will suffer. Look for someone who is interested in the details of how you work, will personalise each extension, keep the system up to date, explain all the new features and functionality, includes your configuration changes in with the support contract. Ask them:

  • How much they charge per change you request?

  • How many changes you are allow per year?

  • How quicky they would start working on your problem?

  • Do they log each call and call you back, or does the person who answers the call work on it immediately?

  • How much would they charge you each year? And what it DOES NOT cover.

Call the support number on their website and see what happens

- how long before you talk to a human?

- Is it a message service ?

- Ask the person what qualifications they have for the phone system you are looking at, and when they got them?


Obviously we at CTi Communications Ltd, have solutions that answer all these questions - Just give us a call 01242621621.



All prices exclude VAT, and were correct on 28/09/2022 16:27:02 , but should only be used as a guide.