Your business is constantly changing; nothing stands still or stays the same. But when did you last review whether your telecoms still meet your business needs? Here are 7 questions you should ask when you review your telecoms.

  1. Telecoms has changed, what are my options?

Your telephone is your business lifeline, but like all things technology constantly changes. Today you can chose from a range of systems each with their benefits.

  • PSTN analogue services are what most of us have for our homes, supporting voice and broadband, sufficient for most small or start-up businesses.
  • ISDN supports voice and allows multiple channels on one connection. Key a benefit is direct dial in allowing incoming callers to connect to the person directly without an operator. ISDN can only be connected to a customer telephone system (PBX). ISDN is largely being phased out in favour of IP telephony.
  • SIP is an IP based service that requires a data connection, using an assured broadband. It is lower cost and more flexible, but works with most PBX systems saving on new equipment.
  • Hosted Telephony is “cloud based” IP telephony that provides the complete PBX functionality in a hosted environment. Hosted is ideal for any sized business from 4 extensions upwards and is highly effective in organisations that have multiple sites that work together. The system is scalable to serve hundreds of users
  1. Keep your existing system, or replace it?

Modern IP telephony enables you to take a number anywhere, using cloud based (VOIP) solutions. However, if you have invested in a phone system you may not be happy to write the cost off.

  • Ask yourself; how old is the existing phone system?  Is there life or money left in it?  What is the cost of removal and reinstallation?
  • If you are thinking of going to SIP, check whether your existing phone system will support it.  You may be able to reuse the handsets, which often account for a third of the cost.
  • Hosted is a solution for the replacement of a legacy PBX, an OPEX rather than CAPEX outlay, and often preferred by Organisations that outsource. Hosted is ideal for companies that require a business continuity solution
  1. What Business continuity solutions do I need?

Nearly one in five businesses suffer a major disruption every year. 80% of small businesses that suffer a major incident close within 18 months. (source: FSB)

  • If one line goes down, do you have a second line customers can call, or the ability to divert calls to another phone?
  • In unforeseen event such as power cuts, snow, floods or worse, Hosted telephony will ensure won’t interrupt your business communications. By simply by logging onto the web portal, call handling routines can be altered and employees are able to continue making and receiving calls from another location.
  1. Local , National, Freephone, how can I chose ?

There has been confusion over the different numbers available, with customers sceptical about calling for fear of incurring higher charges. TSB Bank recently reviewed its numbering for sales, customer service and technical support,  and found that customers were sceptical about calling 084 and 087 numbers which typically charge a minimum of the national rate, or higher from mobiles.

  • New 0345 numbers are charged at the same rate as 01 and 02, and are included within mobile allowances.
  • Alternatively businesses can offer an 0800 number which is free for customers calling from landlines.
  • Your service provider should be able to offer you a selection of In-bound numbers.
  1. Which calling features do you require?

Base your feature selection on how your employees use the phone system and how calls get routed through your business. The most common features include:

  • Call Forwarding. With call forwarding, you can program a phone system to forward a call to another extension if the first extension is busy or not answering.
  • Call Waiting. Many systems provide a signal when the user is on the phone and a call comes through on another line.
  • Hold allows you to park a call until it can be transferred or managed. Exclusive hold lets only the person who places the incoming call on hold retrieve that call.
  • Hunt Groups. Hunt Groups are a method of distributing phone calls from a singletelephone number to a group of several phone lines. If the line called is busy, the call goes to the next available line.
  • Check the sound quality of this hands-free feature before you choose a model. Speakerphone quality varies drastically from product to product.
  • Speed dial. Speed dial allows users to store frequently called numbers and access them at the push of one or two buttons.
  • Call Recording: to protect yourself or your company, for employee training or your customers’ complaints, you can record any conversation and you can play them back instantly.
  1. What technical support might you require?

Choosing the right package is critical – with different line packages offering different customer care levels. Selecting a Service Provider that offers business grade service with a quicker response time during emergencies will ensure that communications with your customers isn’t jeopardised.

  • Technical support is one of the most important aspects when it comes to communications. Your business is a round the clock operation, someone from the provider’s support team should be available 24/ 7 to attend to any problem you may encounter with your system.
  1. How do you keep it simple?

Selecting the best offer for each service can save on cost, but you lose the benefits of continuity. Bundling all your service together – fixed line, broadband, mobiles –  with one Provider allows you to get the service you need, with one contact number, all on one bill.

  • Dealing with a single Service Provider will simplify your telecom expense management. You will also only have one bill for all your telecoms service with online checking capability.
  • Depending upon the Service Provider, you should also only have one helpdesk number to remember, for all your service queries.
  • And by bundling your services, you should be able to get a better discount from your provider.

Trio Telecom offer a Telecoms Health Check, to review your current lines and services to see what you actually use, a business needs audit to ensure that your company does not spend today on technology that will be out of date tomorrow, and a comprehensive bill analysis to see what you can save.