Identifying Your Small Business Phone and Voicemail Priorities

The single most important principle to keep in mind when you are ready to invest in any new technology is its strategic importance to your business mission. As business owners, you’ll only want to acquire technology that helps you:

  • Impress your customers;
  • Control your costs; and,
  • Support your longer-term strategic objectives.

In the current telephone services market, it is easy to be overwhelmed. You may have heard of hosted communications services or “virtual PBX” providers, or you may have seen advertisements for cost reduction achieved through VoIP phone service. But how should you make sense of these? Whether you are just starting a business, experiencing growing pains, or looking for a competitive edge, the principles of phone system selection are fundamentally similar. You’ll want to:

  1. Assess your needs — what are your company’s primary objectives, and what do you need from your phone system to support these?
  2. Evaluate whether any of the recent telecommunications innovations will directly contribute to your company’s ability to meet your strategic objectives.
  3. Identify basic principles on which to select a provider. Determine which features are most important to your business – such as voicemail, auto attendant, answering service.
  4. Minimize risk by avoiding systems that will require massive switching and training costs.
Virtual phone systems offer numerous benefits that can grow along with your business.

Virtual phone systems offer numerous benefits that can grow along with your business.

At the most basic level, your company’s needs for business telephone service are likely clear — whether you need a single line or many, toll-free numbers or local area codes, you need as close as you can get to 100% “up-time” of your phones. Frequent system outages cause your customers and prospects to be unable to reach you, and you and your employees may find yourselves suddenly cut off from critical vendors, partners, or customers.

Your ability to exceed customers’ expectations requires that you provide tools that keep your employees happy, productive, and confident in their ability to help your customers. This means minimizing the hassles and organizational stress associated with technology upgrades, so your frontline staff isn’t struggling with the phone system when they should be focused on solving a customer problem.

Keeping yourself focused on customer service and the bottom line also means that maintenance or software upgrades should not affect your business operations. If your phone system puts you at the mercy of its vendor’s corporate bureaucracy every time you need to make adjustments, you are needlessly ceding your competitive advantage. No matter how fancy the bells and whistles may seem, you cannot afford downtime or multi-day (or week!) waits for training when setting up your new system, or with an upgrade or capacity expansion.

Finally, you need a business phone service pricing structure that works with you. In addition, some will let you add features as your company grows. This is another useful way to prevent being left behind and saves your business from having to make a large capital outlay for technology you don’t need or can’t expand.

Technological advances in telecommunications over the last several years have given rise to a significantly different model of phone system: web-based, fully hosted telephone systems, sometimes also referred to as “virtual PBX systems.” Now, all of the same features of past generations and more can be supported by software alone. Hence the birth of the new industry of hosted phone systems, served up at extremely reasonable cost by numerous service providers, including Halloo.

Halloo Communications, Inc. is a leading provider of virtual phone systems with integrated contact management for businesses, help desks, and contact centers. Halloo’s innovative solutions provide instant ROI with intelligent call routing, agent and supervisor consoles for dynamic call management, monitoring and recording, as well as unified messaging abilities.