In an age where communication takes place over the phone, through email, texting, conferencing, video chat, and on social media, it’s difficult to imagine being limited to a voice-only legacy phone system. Yet, many businesses still find themselves stuck with outdated communications, and must face the costly challenges that come from holding onto legacy phone systems. The good news is that replacing an outdated system with a Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or Unified Communications (UC) solution not only saves time and money, but improves customer and employee satisfaction, and reduces IT headaches.
Are you wondering if it’s time to hang up on your old system? Here are some signs that you’re ready to upgrade your business phone system:
You Have Outdated Technology
A legacy phone system, in reality, consists of outdated technology that is very expensive to maintain and does not deliver modern features, like mobility. Typically, these legacy phone systems use traditional phone lines (connected to the phone company), and are not IP-based. Experts like to point out that legacy phone systems are not sustainable indefinitely for the simple fact that the networking technology itself is becoming obsolete – providers are not investing in it.
When legacy phone systems get too old, not only do vendors begin to “end of life” the systems, but a ripple effect begins to emerge. Repairs become expensive because of a few factors: First, the parts needed are costly due to the lower demand for them (as more companies switch to VoIP solutions). Second, the manufacturer of the system may not even make the parts anymore, forcing a company to purchase used replacement parts, which come at a high price and are of questionable reliability.
Lastly, as these legacy phone systems continue to age, so do the trained engineers and technicians who specialize in their repair, which makes them not only rare to find but expensive to hire. The bottom line is, the longer a business continues to reinvest itself in obsolete systems, the more expensive and challenging it becomes to replace them.
You have a New or Additional Office Location
Whether your business is moving to a new location or you are adding an additional office, the reasons to switch to a modern solution are plentiful. If you decide to take your current networking and phone equipment with you to the new location, figure in the cost of uninstalling it, transporting, and reinstalling it. Once you do, you’ll see that the cost can be anywhere from 20-40 percent of the cost of an entirely new system. Also, keep in mind that if you are transferring your old equipment, you will not be able to use it while it’s being serviced, so you will most likely need to transfer it over a weekend or holiday. Double the price of service fees during these times, then add in the potential loss that can be caused by a rushed installation job, and it quickly reveals itself to be a dicey proposition.
Simply adding an additional office location is another reason to switch to VoIP. Transferring the entire company to a VoIP solution in this situation is not only easier to manage, but will only nominally increase the time and effort it takes when compared to what it would take to maintain and monitor two separate phone systems (or more, depending on how many office locations you have).
Many features within a Unified Communications solution allow for easy integration among offices as well, such as “Find-Me-Follow-Me” – a feature that lets employees work from any location while having their calls, emails, and messages easily accessible from anywhere.
Switching to a modern system when moving offices or expanding locations will not only save your business time and money, but will give you the opportunity to add useful features you never had with your old system.
You’ve Capped Your Capacity
It’s a beautiful thing when your business grows, until you realize you’ve outgrown your infrastructure. Most legacy phone systems have a maximum number of phones they are able to support before having to add additional ports by buying more of the same equipment. Once you come to a point where you need more call capacity, you are back to the same problem of having to purchase additional expensive, outdated, and featureless equipment. With VoIP, you don’t have to place additional equipment wherever you physically want to add employees – you just connect them to your IP network and that’s it. Unlike traditional legacy phone systems, the only thing you would need to increase with your business is your bandwidth – a much cheaper option than adding more ports.
If it’s not more employees added to your business, but customers, increasing call volume may be an issue for you and your legacy phone system. Not having enough incoming and outgoing phone lines leads to a busy signal, which leads to hang-ups, which potentially ends in lost revenue. Again, the only way to deal with this issue if you have a legacy phone system is to add ports. VoIP systems can be set up to have a potentially limitless number of lines that are activated when all real phone lines are busy. These lines can play music on hold or have a custom Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to direct callers to the right person.
Your Phones are Featureless
Another valid reason your business may need an upgrade is because your old legacy phone system doesn’t have the features you want in order to keep up with your business needs, or the competition. Many UC systems offer impressive call reports and stats, as well as the ability to track and monitor individual phone calls – features that are extremely valuable to a business call center or inside sales team. Even if you don’t use this particular feature often, being able to track calls by the day or week can answer a multitude of business questions, such as: Are we paying too much for phone service? What time of day are the majority of our customers calling us? From what areas of the country are the calls coming? Can we improve our hold music so the customer stays on hold longer before hanging up? Answers to these questions can save a business thousands of dollars a year. Other features offered with a UC solution include mobility and softphone applications, CRM integration, call queues, conferencing, and more.
The scenarios above are just a few of those in which a new phone system would benefit you and your business, by saving you money and keeping your customers satisfied.