There are many types of phones and many factors to consider. The right one for you will depend on your needs, your existing technology, and your budget. The right phone system will leverage the technology resources you have and make them better.
Businesses rarely find a single office phone system vendor, make their selection, and move forward in a few days or weeks. There are internal processes that need to be followed and steps to ensure everyone gets the most value from the system.
Whether you choose Atlantic Communications Team or not, we want to ensure you can select the best office phone system for you. We’ve created this overview to ensure that nothing is overlooked while you plan your office phone system RFP process and launch.
Working with hundreds of clients throughout Central Florida, we’ve had the opportunity to assist businesses of all sizes. From the smallest to the largest, most enterprises preferred a rigorous approach that allowed them to collect broad-based feedback and win buy-in for a new system.
That said, you don’t have to spend months or years finding an office phone system.
Once you know you need a new system, many aspects of the process can be performed in parallel. It is not unusual to spend one quarter on selection and get significant value from the system in the next quarter. It does not take long to have measurable ROI both in terms of customer satisfaction and employee morale.
Here’s a glimpse into a complete office phone system replacement process:
1. Gather Requirements For Your Office Phone System
A new office phone system often arises as a result of one of these three issues:
- Customers are frustrated as a result of lost or mismanaged telephone calls
- Teams are seeing turnover or performance issues due to the phone system
- The office phone system failed to perform during a recent spike in calls
Whatever the case, it’s a good idea to get to the root of the precipitating event. If you have data on call volumes and outcomes, try to figure out when your system’s performance started to go downhill. Define 1-3 key performance outcomes you expect from any new system.
2. Discuss Your Existing System With All Key Stakeholders
Many older office phone systems are a “black box” and don’t generate significant data. There may not be enough information to figure out exactly why the system has not met performance expectations. That data, instead, resides with the people who interact with the system.
If you have telephone-driven functions such as an in-house helpdesk or sales team, members at every level of experience are sure to have significant feedback about your office phone system. They may see things at a level that senior leadership does not.
As with any feedback, be sure you are asking consistent, relevant questions across groups and collecting information in a way that provides “apples-to-apples” comparisons. Sorting through a large amount of narrative feedback can slow down your data collection.
3. Collect Feedback From Customers Who Have Called You
A declining office phone system can generate a lot of friction with your customers. Failure to get appropriate service when calling in to your company is one of the most frustrating experiences a customer can have. Research shows it can drive customers to your competitors.
However, asking for feedback shows you are aware of the situation and striving to improve. Add an optional feedback survey to your post-call interactions on your current phone system. Proactively reach out through email and social media to find customers with relevant insights.
It is a good idea to use a 1-10 scale when asking customers about their level of satisfaction with various aspects of their phone experience. Items with satisfaction of 5 or less can be considered a critical aspect of your new phone system. Items scoring 6-8 may need marginal improvements.
4. Generate An Outline Of Basic Requirements For Your System
At this stage you can dispatch Request for Information (RFI) forms to various office phone system vendors. An RFI does not need to follow a strict format or be comprehensive; it solicits information from the prospective bidders so you can narrow down the field of participants.
As you await RFI responses, you can build your feedback and requirements into a full Request for Proposal. The RFP should contain detailed information about the features you want, call volume you handle, and other aspects of your technology stack that influence the phone system.
If you choose Atlantic Communications Team, we can save you several months by skipping the formal RFP process. Our business strategists will work directly with you to make sure the ideal office phone system is selected and deployed quickly. This is a major savings in both time and money, as it may take up to six months for all competing bids to be presented to you.
5. Start The Process Of System Migration And Training Early
Early training is essential to ensuring that, on Day 1 of your handover, every member of the team knows how to operate each feature of your system. Stakeholders should be walked through the features of new handsets as well as the interface between the phone and their mobile devices.
Most office phone systems are now managed through a single central interface. While this can be part of a managed IT services package, it is a good idea to have an on-site phone system admin. This person should begin training with the phone vendor team as early as possible.
6. Open Up A Feedback Loop Between Phone Users And System Vendor
Now you can hand off the work from the executive sponsor of your new system to the team who will be running it from day to day. New office phone systems rarely work perfectly from the very first morning. Ongoing feedback from front-line teams helps you pinpoint further configuration adjustments that need to be made to maximize your system value.
7. Follow Up And Track Office Phone System Adoption Over The Months
Expect your office phone system provider to name a project manager that you can contact any time with priority feedback and questions. You should also have access to ongoing training resources, including what you need to onboard new employees onto your phone system. This ensures that personnel are working with your office phone system rather than around it.
This may seem like a formidable process, but the right partner makes it easier. Contact Atlantic Communications Team to accelerate your journey to the office phone system you want.