Oh My! The Phones are Down Again!

September 2nd, 2016 by Jeff Jenney

“The phones are down again!!”  This is the refrain heard in office environments across the country when the inevitable happens.  That little box sitting atop your desk with the lights that usually blink longingly at you for attention blinks no more.

Phones Down – Panic Mode

So you walk into the phone closet, stare at the slightly discolored large box hanging on the wall that represents your nerve center for voice communications, and hope that by looking at it long enough (and maybe giving it a slight tap with your hand), that it will come back to life. But, alas, it does not. Now you are virtually shut down, and in panic mode. What do you do now? How will your customers reach you? This is especially damaging if your business has a Customer Service or Service Team where time of response is of the essence. Hard to respond to a customer issue if they cannot call you to tell you about their problem, right?

The scene plays out every day in small businesses, growing mid-level businesses, and large corporations, as a failed phone system has no prejudices with who it takes down. Why? Because many times the Office Managers, CFOs, I.T. Directors, and business owners alike, have mistakenly adopted the, Well, if it’s not broke, why fix it mentality with regards to what is quite possibly one of your most vital links to the outside world. Your business phones are the analog and digital lifeline that contains your customer base and income sources.

But my phones work just fine now, and have for 10 years. Why would I want to spend thousands of dollars on something that works now? Think about it like this. You did not have a car accident today (or maybe you did… but hopefully not), so why in the world are you paying for car insurance? I mean, if you did not have a wreck today, yesterday, last month, or last year, why ‘throw away money’?

Safeguard Your Investment

Here is why. Because you want to be prepared in case the inevitable happens. You want to safeguard your investment in your automobile and protect yourself financially against an unexpected loss. So if you are protecting your personal vehicle (which presumably is not making you any money…unless you use it as a part time taxi service), why would you not exercise the same common sense on putting safeguards in place by investing in the vital tool that IS providing you or your business with an income stream?

What many people do not know is that while some business phone systems may last quite a while (10 years or more), the actual manufacturer support for them is typically only 5 – 7 years (some longer, some shorter, but you get the idea). So at some point you are either reverting to prayer to support your phone system, or relying on the aftermarket and used phone system ‘junkyards’ that inhabit that dark world called the Internet. Either way, you are at the mercy of what you can find used, typically with little to no warranty, in order to keep your phone system off of life support. Oh, and what about those software upgrades? Did you know that most phone systems are like computers and require software updates to continue to work properly?

I could go on, but you get the idea. So what do you do now? Simple thing. Get ahead of the game by having a trusted phone vendor (preferably someone with an actual brick and mortar facility that you can go to if you have issues) come out and do a health check of your system. Have them not only give you an honest assessment of what the lifespan of your phones is, and what the access to support looks like, but also to assess your business growth. Because as technology and business needs grow, you need a scalable system that can grow with you and meet the needs of an increasingly mobile society.

You would be surprised how much time you can give back to yourself, and to your employees, by simply updating your business phone system to be more user-friendly and able to integrate directly with cellular technology and your virtual employees in the field. This time equates to money, which helps your bottom line dramatically, and streamlines communication within your business.

Business Phone Systems Are Not Cheap

Good phones are not cheap, and usually cheap phones are not good. Go ahead and buy a cheap phone and then try and get support for that phone system after the sale. Or better yet, ask someone who has gone this route before and has used the system for more than a year. Most likely they are regretting what they did, unless they see no value in their time and enjoy spending hours on the phone with ‘support’ in some foreign land, or they also enjoy constantly ‘resetting’ their phone system when it crashes.

So when you select a phone system provider, ask them how the system is supported. What is their response time? Where do the technicians dispatch from? How does the proposed system integrate into the initiatives and needs of your office and your sales force so that you can drive revenues? These are all vital concerns that anyone running a business or office environment should be addressing.

When business phone systems crash they are not like replacing a blown fuse or burnt out light bulb. Fully crashed phone systems can easily take up to 1 – 2 weeks to replace, program, and get up and running, which will paralyze a business, and can heavily damage your relationship with your customers.

Van Ausdall & Farrar Can Help

So, here we are. Back where we started with one simple question. How much time and money can you afford to lose before it becomes a problem for you or your customers? Take the time now to contact Van Ausdall & Farrar and find out how much risk you are open to. At the very least you are taking that vital first step to understanding what you need, what is out there, and what you could benefit from by addressing the issue now instead of waiting for the inevitable words… The phones are down again!

Posted in: Insights from VAF Blog, Business Telephones