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6 common problems with phone systems for mid-market businesses

An effective phone system is a necessity for every mid-market business. It forms the backbone of communication between employees and ensures you’re reachable for current and prospective clients. Yet, despite the essential role it plays, many businesses struggle with their phone systems.

/ Managed IT Services
Last updated on August 14th, 2020

Common problems with phone systems for mid-sized businesses

What are the most common problems with phone systems?

The specific problems with phone systems can vary, but they all impact the efficiency of operations and, ultimately, the bottom line. From overspending on hardware and system usage, through to providing a poor call experience to employees and clients alike, here are six of the most common problems mid-market businesses experience with their phone systems. 

1. Outdated hardware

Unfortunately, this will happen at some point. No piece of hardware is for ‘life’ and will require an upgrade. The average lifespan of a business phone system is around 6-8 years, at which point the system is either out of maintenance or is lagging in functionality.  

Ideally, you should aim to stay ahead of the curve and update your phone systems when you can, rather than pushing them to the absolute brink. While running your hardware for as long as possible may seem like a good idea, so you get the most value from your spend, this doesn’t result in the greatest return. As hardware ages, performance often suffers, and it can be more expensive to repair and update  

Alternatively, with software-based and hosted communication solutions you don’t need to have dedicated hardware in the server room because everything can run in the cloud. Even desk phones are not essential with cloud telephony systems, instead, an application (also known as a softphone or client) can allow end-users to transform their laptop, mobile or other smart devices into a business phone which they can take with them anywhere.  

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2. Limited features

Modern phone solutions no longer offer just ‘voice’. They’ve transformed into full unified communication (UC) solutions, which offer a whole raft of productivity-enhancing features. Mobile apps, multi-site integrations, auto-attendants, call recording, click-to-dial, wallboards and call management are just some of the features which might improve your employees day-to-day activity – but they might not be available with your current phone system.  It’s typically these additional features that provide data for KPIs, which give businesses real insight into their operations, thus helping to drive transformation.  

3. Maxed out phone lines

Business is going great and you’ve decided to employ another sales executive to keep up with demand. But there’s a problem, you’ve maxed out the number of phone lines your system can take in.  

As businesses change and undertake digital transformation, it makes sense to invest in a phone system which can give you value right away but can easily scale with you too without an expensive upgrade pathVoIP can resolve these issues with its built-in flexibility and scalability, plus you’re not limited by physical location or installations.  

4. Expensive

Mid-market businesses understand the necessity of a phone system and as a result, often don’t question the cost – even where it’s eye-wateringly expensive. Some might not even be aware of what their phone system truly costs, especially when you start to incorporate some of the soft costs. 

If your business needs to forward international calls or transfer calls to mobiles, then monthly costs can soon rack up.  

5. Downtime takes you out completely

There’s no 100%, guaranteed protection against all downtime, but your business should prepare so you can still operate when it happens. If an outage occurs which takes down your phone system and you have no way to route those calls, then this not only impacts your clients but also means you could miss out on potential new business.  

6. It’s overly complex

A phone system is essential for day-to-day activity, so you don’t want a set-up which is so complex that employees can’t use it without consulting a manual. For a system which is used day-in, day-out by essentially every person in the business, you want something which is intuitive and easy to use. While you may need to provide some initial training on a new system, you should feel confident that afterwards employees will be able to use it effectively.  

What is the outcome for businesses? 

Even just experiencing one of two of these issues with your phone can have a significant impact on operations. Missed or dropped calls, poor client experience and limited functionality are all reflected in the bottom line, so it makes sense to invest in a phone system which can keep up with your business.  

VoIP is often a good alternative for mid-market firmsIt offers the built-in flexibility and scalability which will address many of the issues which occur with traditional on-premise telephony. Any initial financial outlay will likely be recouped quickly by removing the soft costs poor experience incurs, plus your ongoing costs are likely to be significantly lower. 

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