9 Signs Your Business Phone System Needs an Upgrade

No business wants to miss customer calls, waste employee time, or overspend on legacy technology. In other words, nobody wants to be stuck with an outdated business phone system! Here are 9 signs that your phone system is due for an upgrade.

Technology… We all think we’re up to date, until life teaches us otherwise. 2020 showed businesses worldwide that their current phone system, which always got the job done one way or another in the past, just wasn’t prepared to handle the new normal. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for business leaders to adjust.  

As we discussed in The Big 6 Benefits SIP trunking, 96% of midmarket and enterprise leaders say the COVID-19 outbreak accelerated their digital transformation strategy and 46% said it drastically accelerated it! That rarely means a simple rip and replace with similar solutions. In practice, most of those enterprises are either migrating from an on-prem PBX to a hybrid phone system on their way to a fully hosted solution. 

While 2020 was rough for many organizations, there is a bright side. Leaders have used the time to audit their existing tech stack and rethink their software asset management strategy. And we can all but guarantee that upgrading your business phone system is one of the biggest sources of productivity improvements and cost savings that most companies can take advantage of.

Today, modern companies require modern phone systems. Specifically, a system that can handle increased call volume, a larger inventory of numbers, call monitoring, and intelligent call routing. Not sure if your phone system is ready for retirement? If you’re experiencing any of the annoying issues below, you’ve outgrown your business phone system.

9 Signs Your Business Phone System is Crushing Your Growth

This list applies to readers using any variety of phone system setups. Maybe you have a hosted or hybrid solution that keeps giving you problems, or your on-premise PBX system isn’t cutting it anymore.

  1. Your expensive on-premises phone system is slowing you down.
  2. Your virtual phone system is unreliable and lacks support.
  3. You’re opening a new office or hiring remote employees.
  4. You log in to multiple interfaces to manage phone numbers.
  5. You’re ACD system doesn’t include intelligent routing features.
  6. You lack real-time visibility & call coaching features.
  7. Your multi line system is hitting capacity limits.
  8. Your company is international, but your phone system isn’t.
  9. It’s time to resign your annual phone system contract.

If you noticed your heart rate pick up or your breathing become shallow while reading any of those signs, good! This was list was written for you. Let’s dive in to the details.

1. Your Phone System is 100% On-Premises

On-premise phone systems were once the business standard, and they still have their place. However, the few advantages on-prem systems held over hosted solutions just a few years ago are disappearing as technology improves. The VoIP phone systems of today are more secure than ever, and call quality issues that were once associated with IP communications are unusual occurrences when you choose a reliable provider.

You don’t need to throw your existing PBX out, of course. If you like aspects about your on-prem solution, stick to a hybrid solution. Most companies move to the cloud gradually, by slowly migrating numbers and users over to a new system or setting up a hosted phone system as a backup in case of disaster.

The drawbacks of a 100% on-prem phone system include:

  • Higher overall costs. In addition to the costs you would pay with a hosted solution, you must pay for server maintenance, service visits, occasionally hardware updates, and more. The range of costs included with an on-prem system usually add up much higher than a hosted solution.
  • Additional headcount. Besides capital and replacement costs plus software upgrades, your company must maintain an IT staff to manage an on-prem phone network. The costs of those compensation packages disappear when you move your phone system to the cloud.
  • Manual updates. Traditional phone systems require manual updates and hardware replacements to stay functional and secure. Hosted solutions are updated automatically, including regular releases of new features for customers.

Moving your communications to the cloud offers protection against data loss because all cloud communication companies back up all of your phone records, and the recording data associated with them, to their servers. This means better chances of business continuity no matter what security threats or external factors threaten your growing operations.

2. Your Existing VoIP Phone System is Unreliable

While it’s true the quality of service delivered by hosted phone systems is leaps and bounds ahead of a few years ago, businesses still run into trouble when they choose a provider that is unreliable or inexperienced with a particular use-case. If you’re using a hosted system and you keep running into any of these problems, it’s time to evaluate other providers:

  • Calls drop or have poor connection.
  • Analytics don’t line up with your call logs.
  • Outgoing calls don’t display the proper caller ID.
  • Connectivity issues with certain internet providers.
  • Users have trouble logging in or accessing part of the interface.
  • Bugs that affect routing rules, queue groups, and call logs.
  • User permissions are not specific enough to protect sensitive information.
  • Your system doesn’t allow you to connect phone numbers from other carriers.
  • When you do need support, wait times are long and your reps seem inexperienced.

Your network coverage is directly linked to your potential sales opportunities. Don’t be shackled by your coverage when it can easily become your strength. APIs allow you to connect directly with your wholesale voice service, making their coverage your coverage. Hard-to-find number types create opportunities for higher margins, driving up your profits from multiple angles. Plus, customers and partners are more likely to trust your business when you check the boxes for the markets they care about the most.

3. You’re Adding an Office or Managing Remote Employees

Out of 2,500 companies Twilio surveyed at the beginning of 2021, 87% said digital communications are critically or very important to their survival during the pandemic. As your offerings gain popularity and your customer base takes off, you’ll want to maintain the same level of personal, attentive service on which your company has so far prided itself. Modern cloud-based phone systems have the agility needed to set up new sales and service agents in seconds.

In addition, many employees are still working remotely, whether because of government regulations, health limitations, or personal preferences. 2020 helped businesses see that engaging customers from afar can work, and 95% of them expect to increase or maintain their organization’s investment in customer service systems after the pandemic. Traditional business phone systems don’t easily adapt to a remote workforce, and not all cloud-based solutions are excellent at this either. Source your provider well and ensure that your business can continue to attract the best sales and customer service agents no matter where they live.

Whether you’re expanding with a new office or managing remote employees, your phone system should make this easier, not harder.

4. You Manage Phone Numbers & Call Flows from Multiple Interfaces

No matter how many carriers you have, you shouldn’t have to log in to multiple interfaces to manage different phone numbers or aspects of your voice service. Communication Platforms as a Service (CPaaS) includes both PBX features and unified communication benefits. Even if you want to avoid replacing your entire existing PBX, SIP trunking with a CPaaS like AVOXI consolidates your phone number management needs to one simple interface. Either way, managing your numbers and call flows from one place saves time, prevents errors, and creates a scalable communications environment.

5. Your ACD System Lacks Intelligence

Another area VoIP shines for growing businesses is the deployment of priority & skills-based call routing. When someone calls your business, you want to direct them to the right person to offer a personalized experience. This internal person could be a sales representative who has nurtured a potential customer and knows the factors this potential client is weighing. Or it could be a customer service rep adept at finding resolutions for product-related challenges. Within global-reaching companies, call routing is often deployed to connect callers with agents based on their time zone and schedules.

Skills-based call routing finds the perfect match for your inbound callers by matching their phone number to data associated with that number in your CRM. Then it immediately routes the call to the team member best equipped to speak with that caller. This automated process reduces handle time while increasing first call resolution. Skills-based call routing can match callers to agents based on common skills such as language spoken or product knowledge as well.

A recent customer experience survey by The NorthRidge Group found that even though phone remains customers’ preferred channel for quick resolutions, 67% find it difficult to reach someone live, and 73% say they wait too long to talk to a business. In the field of software and technology, speed is especially important for staying on top of operations and sales. Call routing helps your valued customers bypass long call queues and quickly connect with your team, so everyone can keep up with their business.

6. You Lack Real-Time Analytics for Sales & Support Teams

Ensuring that your teams still deliver top-notch customer experiences even as you scale them up is paramount to successful growth. Most managers tasked with expanding business take advantage of the ability to listen in on calls in order to coach their teams because they know they will only grow as much as their weakest member does. But valuable insights and coaching opportunities are hard to come by without real-time analytics and call coaching features.

The use of call monitoring opens the opportunity for a growing business to use quality monitoring tools such as manual or automated scorecards in support of department or company KPIs. Quality assurance scorecards assign a score to your agents’ performance and the quality of their customer interactions. They help agents know how they’re performing in light of their sales or customer services targets. At the same time, scorecards help managers understand the strengths and weaknesses of their team, and where their employees need additional guidance.

The use of call monitoring creates opportunities for a growing business to use quality monitoring tools such as manual or automated scorecards in support of department or company KPIs. Quality assurance scorecards assign a score to your agents’ performance and the quality of their customer interactions. They help agents know how they’re performing in light of their sales or customer services targets. At the same time, scorecards help managers understand the strengths and weaknesses of their team, and where their employees need additional guidance.

If you’re not taking advantage of the real-time guidance and growth call monitoring affords, it’s time to graduate to a phone system that offers these capabilities.

7. Your Multi Line System is Hitting Capacity Limits

In 2021, most multi line systems are outdated by default. The benefit of a multi line phone is that you can have one number that connects to multiple lines, so callers never hear a busy signal just because someone else is on the line. Why is that outdated? Because multiple lines is a far cry from unlimited capacity.

Modern call management systems prioritize unlimited capacity which each number, capping your total channels only in certain countries where regulation requires. Most of the notable VoIP PBX providers include unlimited call capacity (or close to it) in their pricing, so additional fees for extra channels are unusual. Why let channel limit concerns occupy your headspace when solutions with unlimited capacity are readily available?

8. Your Company is International but Your Phone System Is Not

The business phone system industry has been moving towards unified communication environments for years, and the pace is only picking up post-2020. As we discussed in Effective Sales Techniques for International Expansion, virtual communications are pushing more companies towards the global marketplace. Imagine setting up a new phone system, including new PBX configurations, for every new location you ever open? Or worse, a new setup for every region employees work remote from. That’s a massive waste of time!

A modern business phone system is an international phone system. No new hardware or internal PBX setups at each location. Your international phone system should include:

  • A global inventory of phone numbers ready for use.
  • Flexible, simplified pricing plans that make sense across borders.
  • Local connections in your target markets for superior call quality and guaranteed caller ID.
  • International offices and remote agents are all managed on a unified, secure cloud PBX.

Many providers claim that their phone system is international without meeting the standard requirements above. When vetting providers, ask for details about their voice network infrastructure. Specifically, make sure they provide local voice service (rather than reselling another providers phone numbers) in the international markets you prioritize.

9. It’s Time to Renew Your Annual Agreement

Too often system admins and call center managers are forced to make a rushed decision about their phone system before it’s time to resign an annual agreement. But why do so many phone system solutions require annual agreements (if not multi-year agreements)? Because that’s what phone system giants have gotten away with for years.

That’s changing quickly, as consumers are tired of being forced into longer agreements despite working with less information than their provider. Providers like AVOXI are breaking that mold by always offering affordable month-to-month options for customers. No setup fees, no minimum contracts, and no porting charges means you can change course anytime without any hassle. That’s the type of offer you can make when you know your product delivers on its promise and then some.

The Business Phone System Upgrades You Need, Done Your Way

If your existing phone system is slowing down your business in any way, it’s time to do something about it. That doesn’t mean you have to rip and replace the whole thing tomorrow, of course. Today’s top phone solutions work over the top of your existing system!

Migrate phone numbers and teams of agents to a new system at your own speed, ensuring things are done right the first time. Once your new solution earns your confidence there, migrate another team or phone number block. In our 20 years of experience working with global companies, this is method is highly effective for midsize companies and enterprises trying to transform their communications environment with the least amount of risk. Don’t rush, take your time to make effective voice system decisions for the long-run. And if you’re looking for a helpful hand while making this decision, AVOXI is here for you.

Whether you want a full phone system replacement right now or a partner that will help you upgrade your existing solution over time, here’s what you can expect when working with us:

  • Expanded Voice Service Portfolio. Partnering with AVOXI allows you to provision phone numbers from 170+ in minutes. That includes rare voice coverage other providers are missing, like local numbers in India, Nigeria, the UAE, and many more.
  • Phone Number Management Made Easy. Manage your voice features and phone numbers, including ones from other carriers, in one intuitive user interface. Take advantage of phone number APIs to automate your work and scale quickly.
  • Dedicated Account Service. In addition to 24/7 follow-the-sun support, AVOXI Flex partners have a dedicated account manager from AVOXI that understands your business model and always watches out for your needs.
  • International Porting Expertise. When other carriers say it can’t be done, our world-class porting team finds a way. AVOXI removes stress from the number porting process so you can just enjoy your savings.
  • Superior Voice Quality at Affordable Rates. Better call quality doesn’t have to mean higher telephony rates. Reduce costs and improve your margins with flexible subscriptions and market-leading rates.

Sourced from: Avoxi. View the original article here.

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