Businesses are run by people, and unfortunately, while most of us will get pretty excited about a new PC on our desk or a new smartphone to take on the road, only a very rare breed of person gets excited about a new landline phone on their desk at work. For most businesses though, a good business phone system is still among the most important business tools we use to serve our customers and manage our day-to-day operations.

Don’t get tangled up in old phones systems. Photo provided by OTELCO

Because we don’t get excited about that new business phone system, it can be pretty easy to let it continue to age while we spend our resources on shiny new laptops. Like all technologies allowed to age, eventually our phone systems reach a point when they need to be replaced. The question is – is your phone system at that point? This post is about how you can answer that question for yourself.

Utility and Functionality Issues

Like any other piece of office equipment, your phone system has job to do: get incoming phone calls from your customers to the right people.  It should do so in a way that is painless and easy for both your customer and your internal team.  In addition, your business phone system should support the way your team works, whether you are in the office or in the field, all together or scattered around the country, a stable team or a rapidly changing and growing company.

At some point, your phone system won’t meet these needs.  Perhaps your business has grown or your way of working has changed.  Your answers to the three questions below will help determine if you have a system that is meeting your needs.

– Has your business grown from a 1-3 person shop to a larger team?

– Can you get callers to the right people in your organization quickly and easily?

– Does your phone system support your business, or does your business support your phone system?

Is your Business Phone System at End-of-Life?

Sometimes, a business phone system that has the right functionality for us still needs to be replaced. This usually happens when the system we purchased has reached the end of its useful life. A system that has reached the end of its life will be both more difficult and more expensive to support.  Such systems should be replaced before they fail completely and leave your business without access to vital business voice communication, and your customers in the lurch.

There are some tell-tale indicators when your phone system is at or near the end of its useful life.  Your answers to these questions may help determine if an end-of-life event is approaching for your business phone system:

– Is your current phone system fully depreciated?

– Does your current system need frequent service or repairs?

– Has your vendor indicated that they will no longer support your system in the near future, or are they having trouble getting parts for it?

So, what is your decision?

A modern IP phone (left) has more in common with your computer than it has with a rotary phone. Photo provided by OTELCO.

Now that you’ve contemplated the six questions outlined above, is it time to replace your system?  If so – don’t be concerned about spending your budget on “un-sexy” things.  Modern IP phones, after all, are closer to computers than they are to a rotary phone, and they can actually do some pretty amazing things. They also don’t have to be expensive – a Hosted PBX system can give you the benefits of a new phone system for a lower up-front cost.

If you’ve decided it’s time for a new system, the next step is to build a requirements list so you know what to shop for.


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