Market musings

Things to Consider Before Your Business Phone Contract Auto-Renews

by Sasha Viasasha
February 3, 2018

If you are currently under contract for your business phone system, it’s a good idea to check the date of your “Evergreen” clause. That’s the area the specifies when your policy will auto-renew – it can be a few weeks or even months before the contract completion date.

Business owners have expressed frustration that when they started looking into options for better phone service, it was already too late. Business phone contracts are often for 24 months or more, and that’s a long time in the new mobile global economy to get trapped into paying for something you don't want or something your employees aren’t using.

For those who are happy with everything about their business phone system, the Evergreen clause is a “courtesy” to keep everything running smoothly. The odds are, however, that if you run a small business, you aren’t perfectly satisfied with the solution you currently have.

A 2017 survey by JDPower found that small businesses are much less satisfied with their phone service than mid-sized or enterprise-level companies. The biggest disconnects for small business owners were poor communication with the provider, high costs and lack of attention to customer service.

The point is that business phone services tend to take up a substantial portion of the annual budget for a small business. You can't afford to waste that much of your budget on a resource drain during this critical period in the business life-cycle.

Questions to ask before the renewal

Your small business deserves answers to the following questions before you lock up cash flow and limit your growth options:

  • Do you need a contract? There are plenty of options out there for phone service providers who can give you a discount on monthly costs without locking you into a restrictive agreement. If you have to be locked into it, it's probably not that good a deal.
  • Which features are not being used by employees? Can they be removed to lower the cost?
  • Is there a minimum or maximum number of users on this plan? What if you go over/under?
  • Is it easy to integrate the plan with employee mobile phones? Can employees use any mobile service provider they want?
  • How difficult is it to add phone lines? How much will that add to the monthly costs?
  • Do you have phone numbers in other cities/countries where the business might want to expand into?
  • How hard is it to get help if something goes wrong? How useful is the self-help Knowledge Base? What are the costs if a technical specialist has to get involved?
  • What are your network service level/voice quality assurances and what if you don't meet them?
  • Can employees make unlimited calls to each other, even from other countries?
  • Are you prepared for the next level of voice technology, like 5G networks, VoLTE, HDVoice, etc.?
  • Does the price include a machine learning AI auto-attendant that can detect and answer in caller's language or even in their local dialect?

Contract vs. pay as you go

In many ways, a contract is a vestige of the legacy world. As the old analog system continues to be disrupted by the cloud and VoIP technology, new models of delivering service can offer greater flexibility for agile companies, while still securing you a great price. Software as a service (SaaS) and the subscription model is designed to service agile companies, allowing you to pay as you go without the inflexibly and hard terms of the contract era. 

Greater flexibility, greater mobility

Spoke Phone doesn’t lock you into a hard contract. We condensed the essential features of an enterprise-class phone system into a solution for your existing mobile phone network. You can still use desk phones with the Spoke Phone network if you'd like, but you don't need them. The entire application can be managed from your smartphone, and allows you to easily capture and access essential call data, including:

  • Call logs, including missed calls and searchable messages
  • Customer contact information, organized in a smart directory
  • Team member availability, live presence, and office hours

Spoke Phone offers features that drive better productivity and business outcomes, allowing teams to easily document and save vital information, and to communicate easily in the field. They can transfer calls, set up call groups, and easily access a shared call log. Missed calls stay visible in the system until someone follows up, allowing a busy team to easily track and manage call traffic. Our AI attendant ensures that your callers are always greeted professionally and it is learning more languages and dialects every day. 

Best of all, there is no hardware to setup, install or configure--and Spike offers a significant cost savings-- much less than traditional phone service.

Our subscription pay model and features package is just as simple. Our terms are transparent and flexible, so you won't have to worry about getting locked into a contract that can't work for you. 

Spoke is the only business phone system that is dead simple to setup and use, yet has the enterprise phone system features your business needs. 

Want to check out a demo of Spoke and see how it works? We're always happy to show you around.  

Selecting and Implementing a Business Phone System