Choosing a new phone office system should be fairly straightforward, right? When setting up a company, few people feel it will be any more complicated than phoning up BT (or a similar provider), signing up for a monthly contract and then not giving it much more thought. Unfortunately, this common way of thinking is a recipe for frustration and wasted money.
In this article we give an outline of the most common mistakes new businesses make when setting up their office phone system, and why you should avoid them:
1) Signing Into A Serviced Office
If you are looking for office space for your start-up, you may have already considered a serviced office provider? These services are a runaway success with start-ups and it is easy to see why. A company such as Regus provides a clean, stylish office that comes with furniture, meeting areas and refreshments. Your monthly fee includes business rates, utilities, phone, Internet and a reception/call answering service.
How could choosing this easy package possibly be a mistake? Don’t rule out serviced offices entirely, but look into them very carefully before you sign up. Square foot by square foot a serviced office will always be more expensive than traditional office space. More importantly from a telecoms perspective, tenants have no control over the quality or speed of their Internet connection. You may get a good service with great speed and uptime, or you may not. And if you don’t, there’s not much you can do about it except phone through to reception or your account manager. Your serviced office provider may choose to switch telecoms provider midway through your lease – with a consequent drop in service quality, and there is nothing you can do about this.
Most serviced offices provide you with a dedicated phone number. This is great – so long as you retain your lease. If you choose to move on it is unlikely you will be able to take the phone number with you, causing a big inconvenience for you and your business contacts.
2) Not checking Internet Connectivity When Looking For Office Space
If we have put you off signing your money over to a serviced office, don’t immediately run out and lease another business space either. At least, don’t until you’ve checked their Internet connectivity. Connectivity is so ubiquitous and taken for granted these days that it is surprising the number of new businesses that don’t consider connectivity at all when shopping for an office. Instead they look at location, transport links, price, general condition and so on. Not every office is equipped to accommodate the fastest phone and Internet networks, so check their capacity before you lease space. For example, some older offices only have ADSL connections, and do not support the latest FTTC lines.
3) Call Answering Lottery
Whether or not you have a serviced office, a lot of small businesses choose a business phone line that comes with a call answering service. On the surface this makes sense. It looks professional to have a friendly call handler take your call, and it means you never miss a message on your landline when away from your desk. The trouble is you can’t vet your call handlers. As most call answering services use call centres, your client/supplier is unlikely to get the same call handler each time they phone through, so there isn’t any continuity. Also, the quality of the messages you receive depends on how accurately they record their information. It is not uncommon for messages to be missed altogether, the details to be taken down wrong, or for a call handler to leave a negative impression. We don’t recommend you take this risk.
How To Make Good New Business Telecoms Decisions
So what makes the perfect new office phone system? This varies from business to business. An IT support company will have different needs than a small accountancy partnership. What is often missing for start-up businesses is clear, straightforward advice and telecoms options tailored for them. Most business phone systems seem to be set up for larger, well-established companies.