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Small Business

 

Tips on Purchasing Business Phone Systems

After recently updating our office phone system, I have a few pieces of advice to share about purchasing an office phone system. We thought we did enough research to make this a simple purchase and installation, but found out later that we really had little idea of what we were getting into.

Telephone, telephones, phone, phones, telephone systems, telephone system

After recently updating our office phone system, I have a few pieces of advice to share about purchasing an office phone system. We thought we did enough research to make this a simple purchase and installation, but found out later that we really had little idea of what we were getting into. This, in itself, wouldn't be so bad, but the phone supplier we went with flatly refused to help us out after the sale. We ended up having to contact another vendor for the information we needed to make our new phones function properly.

First, and let me stress this; always contact the vendor prior to the purchase. Not only do you want to know who you are dealing with, you need to know if it is someone who can and will answer your questions and who will stand behind the products they sell.

Second, always go with a vendor who has more than one option for phone systems. We found out after we had already purchased our new phones and equipment that there were phones on the market which would have served our specific needs better and would have cost less than the phones we went with.

Third, always think about compatibility. We thought that because we had purchased the same brand of phone, that we could simply switch out the new phones for the old ones and that our line equipment would never notice. We did ask the supplier before the purchase if there would be compatibility issues and were told, "it should be fine". That should have set off a red flag, but one likes to assume that someone selling phones might know a thing or two about them. See rule number one.

Finally, do a healthy amount of comparison shopping. We went with the first supplier because he was the cheapest of three that we had looked at. Three was nowhere near enough. We found out after it was too late that the vendor we contacted for help had the same phones for cheaper (although he would have been kind enough to steer us toward what we really needed) and offered far superior customer service.

In short, purchasing a new office phone system, whether you have five lines or five hundred, is a big investment. Follow the step that we didn't, and you'll save a lot of time, money and effort. You'll be glad you did.

 

Trunk Study for Business Phone System Helped My Business

I am the owner and manager of a trucking repair company located in the mid-west. My business provides tractor-trailer repair services both in-house and on the road for owner/operators who are in transit. I say "in transit" because a large portion of our business comes from trucks which have broken down on the road. We travel over 200 miles in all directions to get them up and running as fast as we can.

Telephone, telephones, phone, phones, telephone systems, telephone system

By: Todd Lokken

I am the owner and manager of a trucking repair company located in the mid-west. My business provides tractor-trailer repair services both in-house and on the road for owner/operators who are in transit. I say "in transit" because a large portion of our business comes from trucks which have broken down on the road. We travel over 200 miles in all directions to get them up and running as fast as we can.

Additionally, we offer diagnostic services and preventive maintenance such as oil changes, plug and wire changes and tune-ups. Located between two fairly large cities, we see a lot of business come in as drivers generally prefer to avoid having to stop near major metropolitan areas as it can often mean several hours of down time. Consequently, we get a lot of calls coming in at certain times of the day, while at other times our phones might not ring for an hour or more. I recently had a trunk study performed on our phone lines, to determine if we were missing calls during our busy times. I wanted to know if adding more phone lines might improve business. I was shocked at the results.

We were missing a lot of incoming calls, more than I had imagined. With the phones ringing off the hook, I really had no idea just how many people were unable to get through. After I received the trunk study results, I added four more lines and hired more customer service representatives. Within a month of doing this, I had to add two extra bays to our building to accommodate the increase in trucks coming in. In short, my business has grown by thirty percent from having the trunk study performed. The alternative would have likely been a decrease in business as drivers might have decided to stop trying to schedule with us as a result of never being able to get through. It just reminds me that what you don't know can hurt you, or certainly your business.

 

Customer Service for Business Phone Systems

Working in a law office often means long hours and late nights, especially doing probate work. Getting in before seven A.M. and staying until well past business hours, I assumed that I would always be available for whoever might call me. Recently, my office switched our business phone system and I started to notice a drop in the number of calls I was receiving each day.

Telephone, telephones, phone, phones, telephone systems, telephone system

Working in a law office often means long hours and late nights, especially doing probate work. Getting in before seven A.M. and staying until well past business hours, I assumed that I would always be available for whoever might call me. Recently, my office switched our business phone system and I started to notice a drop in the number of calls I was receiving each day. It was such a change, in fact, that I was able to get my work finished much earlier than usual. I never considered that it could be our phone system and simply chalked it up to good luck. Little did I know that I was missing several calls from important clients who had almost all left voicemail messages that I hadn't been receiving. A couple of weeks after he new phone system was installed, I ran into one of these clients while in court, who kidded me about being too busy to get back to her. It was then that I realized there must have been a problem.

The next day when I returned to the office, I asked my associates if they had experienced similar problems. They hadn't, but they suggested I call the company who sold us our phones and equipment to see what could be done. I called, and within twenty minutes, the problem was fixed. Apparently, my voicemail was being sent to another place. The service representative explained in detail how to do a simple diagnostic to see if my messages were going where they were supposed to. When I found that they weren't, he explained how to change the settings to solve the problem. While I now have a lot of calls to catch up on, I am grateful that the company we went with for our new phone system provides such competent customer service. I think that in the phone business, as in any business, it is paramount to success.




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