Market musings

How Do You Find a Phone System for a Growing Startup?

by Sasha Viasasha
February 7, 2018

Today’s businesses have seemingly endless choices when it comes to telephone providers, yet finding the right solution can be quite difficult, especially for a small business. Consumers expect enterprise-grade service and a flawless customer experience regardless of the size of the company they call. New mobile-first phone systems are finding original answers to this very old problem.

Your business phone system is a critical lifeline to customers and employees, who pick up the phone when they need support and clarification. Your business phone system creates a powerful first impression for callers, establishing trust and credibility, and setting the stage for a meaningful interaction.  

BYOD as the new normal

For startups, small businesses and remote teams with employees across different time zones, finding the right fit can be a huge challenge. Many small companies have defaulted to an informal BYOD policy, and just use their smartphones for work. This makes sense, as the smartphone is evolving to perform most business-critical tasks, from accounting to analytics and most marketing tasks.

But this can be problematic as you grow, both for the business and the customer, who expects a consistent and reliable brand experience when they call in. They may have to call multiple numbers and leave voice mails on personal phones. Eventually, some customers will end up getting lost in the process, and not receiving the support they need.

On other side of that, administrators and office managers can waste time hunting down people in the field, searching for numbers, and delivering handwritten messages, voicemails and emails—instead of doing work with real value.

Founders, owners, managers and team leaders can lose touch with their employees and workers, resulting in a lack of cohesion and direction, and a weak culture. As businesses grow it can be even harder to keep all aspects of your business on the radar.

A mobile architecture holds the business together

Old, hardwired PBX phone systems were the connective structure of yesterday’s office, allowing visibility and access, and providing a centralized location where calls were sorted and managed.

Keeping up with and managing call traffic across a network of personal devices is all but impossible without some kind of architecture, and a business phone system provides that structure. Unfortunately, many systems haven’t evolved to keep up with the needs of young new companies, who prioritize agility, speed and transparency over legacy.

Being able to easily add lines, adapt to changing consumer expectations, and equip workers in the field with an intelligent, easy to use interface that helps them solve problems and manage call traffic are some of the benefits of the SaaS delivery model of phone systems. Since the software is in the cloud, it can be easily customized and updated, and managed from a smartphone.  

A reduction in IT resource, capital expenditures, and training costs are some of the benefits of software-based phone systems. Fast growing, agile companies can easily adopt and use these systems with very little lead time.

Simplicity and usability come first

However, not all cloud-based and VoIP systems are created equal. Some software-based systems are notoriously difficult to use and install, and others come with rigid contracts and terms that detract from the benefits of a more flexible product.

The more features a phone system has, the higher the price the provider has to charge until the system moves beyond the reasonable price range of a small business. The simple fact is, though, that small businesses don’t need all those extra features and shouldn't have to pay for them. 

What are the essentials of a small business phone system?

What will you do when you need to add employees and the associated employee phone lines quickly? Will you need to call IT resources out to reconfigure your phone system? If you use a cloud-based VoIP provider, is there a limit to how many accounts you can create? What happens to the reliability of your network traffic when there is a sudden spike in traffic?

Choosing the right communication infrastructure for your agile business can be challenging. Growing business often feel stranded between old legacy business phone systems solution that are cumbersome and expensive vs. a confusing swirl of low-cost solutions that seem to work well enough for the moment.

The best business phone system must do more than shuffle around phone calls. It should strengthen connections among mobile workers and foster long-term business growth.

In the old world, people worked side-by-side in offices so that you could easy reach whoever you needed ASAP. You knew where they sat and when they were in the office, even if they were away from their desks at the moment. In the new world, the people you need to contact are in another time zone and may be spending most of their workday on the road. You will need a mobile contact that’s always up-to-date and makes it easy for teams to reach each other without worrying about the cost of international phone bills.

Phone calls take priority

Interruptions kill productivity. That’s why so many people prefer the feeling of control they get from text or messaging. Yet the reality of business is that some phone calls have to take priority, such as customer problems, operational emergencies and time-sensitive questions. A smart system should alert you who is calling and what they are calling about so you can quickly make the best decision.

If you miss the call, you should be able to see if someone else picked up or you need to schedule a callback. If you need to transfer the call, your smart business phone system should make it simple to route it to the right person or even a department in another city.

Voice quality on a call should sound like face-to-face

Two decades ago, Voice over IP (VoIP) shook up the business world with low-cost calling around the world. The drawback was unreliable call quality that degraded rapidly with spikes of traffic on the company network.

Today the next generation of VoIP applications – like HD Voice and VoLTE – are striving to achieve excellence in sound quality. The technology infrastructure that supports VoIP is also evolving, with advances such as AI-enabled self-healing networks and faster 5G connections. A truly smart business phone system should adapt to the highest quality tech available on each end of the call to optimize sound quality.

A global business should feel like a local one

Spatial distance is intuitively understood by people. Your phone system should be at least that smart. It should auto-route local calls to the nearest geo-location before rolling to other offices. For outbound calls, you should be able to dial out using local numbers to make life easier for your prospects and business. Both are much more likely to answer a local call. This also protects the privacy and security of employees who want to call from their personal mobile phones but don't want to give out their private numbers. 

The scalability engine for global startups

Spoke Phone was built specifically to help small businesses grow at their own rate. You don't have to invest thousands of dollars just to get a professional phone system. Agile companies need the liquidity and flexibility of OpEx over CapEx.

You can secure all the most important features of a on-premise PBX or a hosted VoIP provider, without spending all of your development funds. Spoke Phone gives you the option to add a host of local numbers anywhere in the world, the freedom to transfer calls to team members, and the data to find out who called when and whether anyone on your team followed up. Your AI assistant will be able to answer the phone when you can't and respond to the caller in their own language or dialect. 

You'll sound like an enterprise long before you are ready to scale up into one. Add or delete team members in an instant. While they are part of your company, you'll always have an up-to-date contact at your fingers.

You'll also save the massive costs of hiring a IT team to install and maintain your phones. Download the app onto your mobile  and set it up in a matter of minutes. With Spoke Phone, your operation will be ready for the 100% mobile future of work. 

See how it all works by arranging your own interactive demo. Spoke is the smart virtual phone system for a growing business in a mobile world.

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