You have filed for your new business, acquired the proper licenses, and chosen your desired location for your store or office. Now is the time to think about how you want customers to contact you. Telephone service is the most crucial service local businesses need to invest in to grow their customer base. With new technologies emerging every year, the prospect of shopping for a local phone provider may seem daunting. Who should you choose, and why?
Every business has unique needs and challenges. What you may need in a phone system is no different. It is crucially important to choose a local phone provider who offers a versatile, flexible service that keeps your business running smoothly no matter what external factors may act upon it. We have put together five things to look for in a local phone provider before signing the proverbial dotted line.
Find a local phone provider who offers a hosted service.
Gone are the days of actual landlines and on-premise networks. Today, such phone systems are not only outdated, but they also pale in comparison to the versatility of a hosted system. Hosted phone systems make use of the internet to transfer information and make and receive calls. The network itself is hosted off-premise, meaning there is no required maintenance, and no need to hire someone to manage your phone system.
Hosted phone systems are managed off-premise by a dedicated team of experts who are available to you to help solve any problems you might have with your phone system. They are also a tremendous cost savings compared with traditional providers since nothing is managed on-premise. Hosted phone systems have allowed local businesses to break free from the pitfalls of conventional landlines, and to scale their phone systems more efficiently.
Find a local phone provider who offers a 4G failover service.
If you live in an area that experiences frequent outages from inclement weather (which is pretty much anywhere in the country), you will want to have a phone system that can stay up and running no matter what happens. A hosted phone system will typically have what is called a disaster recovery plan. Disaster recovery is industry jargon that means the phone system has an emergency failover to a 4G network.
Because hosted phone systems are internet-based, they can quickly switch over to a 4G network from an ethernet connection to keep the phone lines active if there is an internet outage. This can also work with power outages. If your business experiences a power outage, you can access your phone system via a cell phone, and keep taking calls until the outage is fixed.
Find a local phone provider who offers a mobile application.
Hosted phone systems have the advantage of scalability and versatility in a way traditional phone systems never had. Some local phone providers who offer hosted phone service also offer mobile applications. These can be used to turn any cell phone into an office phone in an instant. The advantage of this is that your phone system can follow you anywhere you go, whether you pop out of the office for a quick errand, or are traveling cross-country for a trade show.
Mobile applications also allow employees to stay connected without being locked into a desk. This allows for far greater flexibility for employees and provides for a myriad of other uses including hot-desking and remote employees.
Find a local phone provider who offers 24/7 support.
Smaller companies often do not offer around-the-clock support for their services. With a phone system, however, every call is crucial, especially if your business is in healthcare or other critical services, and if your business operates around the clock, your local phone provider should as well. Therefore, you should look for a local phone provider who offers 27/7 support, and who can follow through on it. Make test calls to their support line in the middle of the night to make sure someone is there and ready to fix your problem.
Find a local phone provider with outstanding customer service.
Technology is a great equalizer in telecom. You will likely find several local phone providers who offer all of the above things we’ve recommended. What makes the difference between them? Customer service. Too often, customer service suffers in technology-driven companies. The larger the company, generally speaking, the worse the customer service. When shopping for a local phone provider, look for companies who offer boutique customer service. To ensure their customer service is truly outstanding, ask for references. A company with nothing to hide will provide recommendations on demand.