Successful businesses eliminate the unnecessary. On their way to a $10 billion valuation, the leaders of Dropbox wrote an open letter about cutting costs that read, “When it comes to building a healthy and sustainable business, every dollar counts. And while it's okay for us to have nice things, it's important to remember to ask ourselves, 'Would I spend my own money this way?' "
Businesses of all sizes struggle to make the smartest investments to operate within tight margins. New York University found that the average net margin for businesses in 2017 was just 5.1 percent. After stretching themselves too thin, many business owners found that keeping costs low was the only way to stay profitable in a climate of B2B/B2C price sensitivity.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a second look what is typically among the largest technology investments for a small business: their office phone system. Ruthlessly evaluate the ROI on your current phone system and look at how to free up cash flows by moving capital expenditures (CapEx) to operating expenses (OpEx). Put your company’s financial needs first to move past the pain of sunk costs and decide how to best allocate your resources for the years ahead.
Who’s Using Your Phone System?
It’s not unusual for a small business to pay $4,800 or more to install a PBX system and another $7,800 per year in IT costs and maintenance, plus repairs on specific desk phones. Hosted PBX, where the hardware is in the cloud, lowers your costs for line items such as installation, upgrades, etc., but the investment is normally still so substantial that most small businesses must lease or finance the purchase. The time value of money plus interest and fees add more layers to the cost.
There's no question that your business needs some sort of phone system for basic operations, even if you don’t have an active customer service line. However, installing an expensive phone systems is not a guarantee that employees will actually use it. Millennial employees in particular have a reputation for being notoriously phone-phobic.
It’s not the phones that they are avoiding, however. They don't want to deal with low-priority calls that interrupt their workflows. Their familiarity with their own smartphones gives them a greater sense of control over when, where, and how to answer incoming calls or return calls when they are better prepared.
Workers and employers are increasingly shifting to reliance on smartphones as the default communications hardware. Last year, CIO magazine reported that 87% of employers expect their direct reports to use smartphones and smartphone apps for work.
That’s backed up by reporting on the adoption of BYOD at Inc. magazine: “Mobile devices have since become the primary computing device for workers at businesses of all sizes. There are far more smartphones sold than Windows and Mac devices.”
Smartphones are preferred by employees as well. Gallup polls found that 46% of smartphone users say they “can’t imagine life without their smartphones.”
Mobilizing Your Communications
Spoke Phone condenses the essential capabilities of a virtual PBX into an simple, intuitive app that runs on employee smartphones.
Increasingly, business happens in the field. Connections are formed and deals are closed on the road. No matter what kind of office phone system you have installed back in the home office, sales reps and business leaders will be using their mobile phones to make appointments and answer questions. The problem becomes capturing all that vital business data, phone numbers, notes, and other contact info. It won’t help your business if all of that is stored on their smartphones. Too often, employees or business leaders move on and take a huge chunk of valuable data on their business connections with them.
Spoke partitions the personal from the professional. When anyone makes an outcall, Spoke masks their private number behind the company’s central business line. Business contacts are pulled into business directory inside the Spoke app. Meanwhile, sales reps can rest assured that employers don’t have access to their private calls or app use. Security is built in at the level of the cloud.
No matter how many times employees upgrade or change their phones, the Spoke Phone app goes with them. Business contact information stays with your business instead of with the employee’s device. You can rest assured that all of your private business data is wiped when you delete or remotely disable the Spoke Phone app
Do your employees love or hate your office phone system?
Too many phone systems on the market today don't actually help people talk. They are too expensive, too difficult to set up and too hard for employees to use. Hosted VoIP services and SIP phones, were definitely an improvement over legacy PBX installations, but their costs are still too high and take too much effort to maintain for the average small business.
Most small business owners don't have the time to become an expert in phone technology and don't have the resources to maintain an IT department. Fortunately, they don't have to do either one. The consumer app market has redefined what business buyers expect from a software solution.
Spoke is as easy to install as downloading an app. At the same time, it is intuitive for employees to use on their own phones. At the same time, it’s powerful enough to replace your office phone system, eliminating up to 88% of your telecom costs. The Spoke virtual phone system puts you in the best position to stay ahead of new technologies like VoLTE, HDVoice and 5G networks.