10 Questions for Companies Considering a VoIP Phone System
Top 10 Questions & Answers for Businesses Considering VoIP Phone Systems and Services
Are you thinking about switching your company’s phones over to a VoIP phone system and services? If so, here are ten crucial questions, as answered by Vince Finaldi, vice-president of Tele-Data Solutions in Union, New Jersey:
1. How Much Does a VoIP Phone System Cost?
Back in the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s, a phone system was expensive. A company could expect to pay up to $1,000 per phone for a enterprise level phone system. It was so expensive because it was proprietary, and the hardware was costly to manufacture. The new model, however, is all monthly as a service, and it’s a “per user, per month” model. With the new technology, it’s now somewhere between $20 and $50 per user, depending on the selected features. Especially because there’s aren’t any up-front fees, these systems today are affordable and don’t present a significant barrier to entry for big or small companies.
2. What Costs and Fees Are You Eliminating When You Upgrade to VoIP Phones?
With a VoIP phone system, a few expenses are eliminated.
- Local long-distance phone charges with current carrier provider
- Including toll free expenses
- Maintenance fees on phone equipment
- Third party conferencing fees
- Third party call center services
- Fax fees
3. What Percentage of Small Businesses Are Not Using VoIP/UCaaS Right Now?
In small companies (250 users or less), the percentage using cloud services is about 50 to 60 percent, meaning there’s still lots of opportunity for market growth.
At the enterprise level, adoption is about 20 to 30 percent. (This lower adoption rate is simply because it’s more complex when you have thousands of seats to roll out.) As the numbers indicate, there’s even more opportunity for expansion and growth in this enterprise arena.
4. What Is the Turnaround Time Once an Order Is Placed? How Long Is the Installation?
From when a customer agrees to move forward, it’s usually about six to eight weeks before the entire process is complete.
As far as the actual installation day, depending on the size of the company, it usually takes one full day with a technician or two on site.
Generally speaking, the company will transfer over the receptionist’s phones first and all the other phones after that. It typically takes about ten to fifteen minutes per phone to install and to set up.
When the company’s main line ports to the VoIP provider, it’s like flipping a switch. After that port occurs, you can route incoming calls to any phone. This means you never miss an inbound client call. While there is a reality of downtime for each phone as it’s being plugged in, there’s no downtime in terms of receiving calls.
5. What Is a Typical Agreement or Contract Length for Businesses Who Sign Up?
For most businesses, the most common term is 24 to 60 months. That allows companies like Tele-Data Solutions to eliminate those up-front fees. If a business wants month-to-month service or short term like a 12 month contract, there will be expensive up-front fees have to be passed on to the customer of labor and hardware costs in addition to higher risk for a client to switch quickly.
6. Why Would a Business Hire Your Company over Verizon?
Businesses hire us over Verizon because we provide faster service to small businesses. At times, Verizon is too big to care about your small business.
The important thing to remember, though, is that Verizon does about $120 billion in revenue. They’re massive. If you’re a small company uses Verizon to manage your hosted phone system, then you have to call Verizon when there’s a problem. That can be on the painful side. In terms of making service calls and troubleshooting, they’re too big to be quick, easy, and painless for the end user.
7. Is There a Difference in Phone Technology between You and Most Other Providers?
The differentiator of a company like Tele-Data Solutions is not the actual technology. Any legitimate provider can give you the same technology options. (End points are either going to be Polycom or Yealink, and the software is going to be mobile apps and desktop client software.)
The differentiator comes in the end user training and a great on boarding/go live experience. Buying the technology is easy, but getting everyone in your company to use it properly is more important.
Think about a law firm where someone has had the same phone for eighteen years. Then think about getting that person to learn and to adopt mobile applications and cloud software. The psychology of that is hard. That’s the difference at Tele-Data Solutions: our ability to navigate change management.
8. When Is the Best Time to Get a New VoIP Phone System?
There are three main triggers that alert when someone is ready for a new phone system:
- Office Relocations
Anytime someone moves, it’s easier to change over to new stuff (new wiring, new computers, and new phones). This way, the company doesn’t have to deal with moving old equipment.
- Approaching Contract Renewals
Nearly every business has a contract with their existing phone service. Find out when that contract is ending, and then back into the change. If your contract has a year left, start planning for the switch about six months out.
- Hiring or Acquisitions
If a company is hiring or acquiring, that company should ask itself a question: Why pay money for an old private branch exchange (PBX)? Say you have to add ten people on an old phone system. That could be upwards of $5,000. For most companies, it just makes sense to take that money and put it toward a new system and a better solution.
9. How Does Your System Handle After-Hour Calls and Urgent Calls?
Tele-Data Solutions works with a lot of medical companies, and the system is sophisticated enough that it can notify doctors or anyone on call if an after-hours call comes in. The system can also notify multiple people after hours, if that’s desired, or it can route the call to an answering service or, in the case of a true emergency, 911.
10. Does Your Company Install Phones on Weekends?
There’s always a challenge doing a whole installation project on the weekend because everyone’s closed. That includes the porting departments, the technical people, and more. If anything goes wrong, it’s difficult to fix the issue for that reason. It takes about three to five people to install a phone system (most on the backend), and doing it on a Saturday is also tough because people don’t want to work on a day off.
Tele-Data Solutions usually advises its clients to do the switch on a slow workday at three or four in the afternoon. We do our best to work with companies to find the best day and time to make that switch.
Name: Ed Scott
Company: Liberty Transportation
Location: Berkeley Heights, New Jersey
We had so many issues with our phone systems dropping out. Vince came in and provided a consultation, and we finally pulled the trigger. We’re three weeks in now, and the switch was seamless. Everyone is extremely pleased with the installation.
Name: Shari Verrone
Company: Stackable Sensations
Location: Parsippany, New Jersey
Vince and his staff and family were amazing. We were having such a nightmare with 8×8. Vince came in, sat down, calmed me down, and said we’re going to take care of it. Rest assured, that’s what he did. If we have questions, his people are on the phone within seconds. We’re a small account, but he treats us like we’re his largest. He’ll take very good care of you.
Choosing the right VoIP phone system makes all the difference for your business. If you’re ready to work smarter using a VoIP phone system for business, contact Tele-Data Solutions!
By Vincent Finaldi
Vice-President, Tele-Data Solutions
E-mail: [email protected] | Direct Line: (908) 378-1218
What brings me satisfaction is meeting with New Jersey–based businesses and genuinely helping them solve communication and business problems. As someone who has lived in New Jersey my entire life, I love working and playing here. I live in Florham Park with my wife, Lisa and our son Leo. Although it usually hurts, I will root for the New York Giants.