Changing phone providers isn't (and shouldn't be) top of mind for most businesses. Investing in and managing the core business is always the priority, with infrastructure investments left to wait for the right time. So, when is the right time? There are some advantages from a strategic and efficiency standpoint that could make sense to implement at any time, but there are also some clear events that signal that it is time to change phone service providers and move to a VoIP phone system.
My Phone System is Failing. As phone systems age, businesses spend more and more time and resources on keeping it working. This is an expense that is often overlooked when evaluating a system change. The clearest signal that it is time to change is when the contractor used to maintain the system no longer supports the model. Many times, parts are no longer available through normal distribution channels or are no longer being manufactured. If your phone system parts are only available on eBay, then it's definitely time to make a move!
A great alternative to on-site phone systems is moving to a Hosted VoIP solution. The problems cited above will not recur as it is the responsibility of the provider to maintain the phone system. The business only purchases the VoIP phones, thus the only expense down the road will be for the occasional phone addition or replacement.
My Business is Moving. This is a great time for businesses to evaluate their current phone system and provider. Instead of spending the money on moving an old phone system, invest in a Hosted VoIP system. The investment costs in Hosted VoIP are low because only VoIP phones are purchased. The money saved on moving a system and potentially selling that system will more than likely offset the cost of the new VoIP phones. Additionally, moving to a Hosted VoIP platform will provide additional flexibility to the business, as phones can be deployed anywhere there's access to high-speed internet.
My Telecom Contract is Expiring. This is an obvious time to evaluate options, both on the phone service and phone system. It is an opportunity to potentially save money on the monthly expenditure and remove the potential for non-budgeted expenses on phone system maintenance and obsolescence. As stated earlier, the phone system and service are not necessarily top of mind for business executives. Take a moment to review your current telecom contract to find the expiration date. Your current provider will not likely remind you that your contract is expiring and you will find yourself auto-renewed.
You will find the telecom landscape has changed since you last signed your contract. Most Hosted VoIP providers do not require contracts. If they do, evaluate providers who do not, as there is no value in a term contract, except for the provider. If the term contract is to secure pricing or concessions, you will find other providers have similar price advantages without requiring a term contract.
My Provider Raised My Rates...Again! One of the biggest complaints we hear about traditional phone service providers is that they raise their rates routinely. There's typically fine print in any contract signed that allows for rates to be adjusted mid-term. Moreover, rate increases are hidden in mysterious new surcharges that somehow appear on the bill. They always sound "official" like "Recovery Fee". The fact of the matter is that traditional telecommunication companies are losing traditional land lines in droves, and they're trying desperately to maintain margins by increasing their rates.
Get out of the cycle of absorbing rate increases and evaluate your options, as there are plenty out there! At sipVine, we have never increased prices. If fact, we have only lowered our prices since our inception in 2005. Moreover, our published rates include any real surcharge costs we incur and we only add sales tax to our invoice. Clearly, there are great alternatives to your current situation!
My Competition has a Communication Advantage. It may not be easily identified, but if your competition has moved to a Hosted VoIP platform, there are a number of advantages they have when it comes to their communication strategy. Many areas can be made to be more efficient with direct inward dialing, call flow decisions, heightened remote or key contact availability, auto attendant features, and many more advanced communication features. Where the previous four events are not high mindshare activities of business executives, leveraging infrastructure to create a competitive cost, efficiency, and communication advantage should be. This is a great reason to evaluate a Hosted VoIP solution today!
About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.