Market musings

Why Is It So Hard To Buy An Office Phone System?

by Sasha Viasasha
October 18, 2017

Phones are easy. You dial, you talk. Buying and using a business phone systems should match that customer experience. For the vast majority of small businesses, that's just not the way it works. 

JD Power conducted a survey that found small business owners everywhere are not happy with their office phone systems. The 2017 U.S. Business Wireline Satisfaction Study found that small businesses were most unhappy with the quality of their communications, the cost of maintaining the system and the lack of customer support for their business phone systems.

Small businesses represent 99% of US businesses, so the size of this problem and it's impact on the US economy is enormous. SHRM estimated that small businesses lose around $420,000 per year on average due to poor communications.

An OpEd in The New York Times made this story more personal. A small business owner described in detail his frustrating attempts to find and install a simple, reasonable business phone line.

In seach of simplicity

The NYT article was written by the owner of a small brokerage firm that specializes in finding funding for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

After operating on a shoe string for three years, he was eager to buy a four-phone system to take on the look and feel of a bigger business.

He and his office manager were confident that they could just talk to a few vendors and choose the best option, just like any other purchase decision. Then the nightmare set in.

Sales reps advised him to go with an old-fashioned analog system instead of VoIP or SIP phones. They spent the next several hours trying to find deskphones that would definitely work with the network they purchased. When the IT guy arrived, he told the business that he couldn’t set it up. The equipment was wrong and the work was out of scope. 

Step 2: Try VoIP. The owner went online to look at VoIP systems and the website sold his phone number to affiliates all over the web. Within minutes, he was drowning in calls from high pressure sales reps. The owner chose a VoIP system and bought new phones that the sales rep said would definitely work.  They didn’t.

In the end, the owner gave up and stuck with his original phone system because he wasn’t prepared to go through all that again.

PBX, VoIP, SIP and virtual phone systems

Land lines are disappearing  everywhere as the majority of American homes and 70% of millennials are now mobile only.

VoIP phone services are becoming the new telecom backbone, but these solutions remain too costly and complex to manage for a large percentage of small business owners.

While many larger companies have implemented SIP phone solutions, these demand significant overhead in terms of purchasing and configuring other equipment. Smaller businesses that can't afford that kind of capital investment are left with choosing from other options that don't exactly meet their needs. 

Some virtual phone systems have too many features that make them unnecessarily complex, while free VoIP providers don’t offer the scalability or reliability of a professional solution.

Buying an office phone system remains such a chore because there are too many options but not enough customer orientation. 

A virtual phone system built for small business

Two decades ago, VoIP made PBX systems obsolete. Legacy office phone systems like hosted PBX were too expensive and too frustrating. They weren't made for the mobile world we live in today. New systems like business VoIP services and SIP phones were less expensive, but still far too complex for the average small business. The consumer app market has changed what business buyers expect from a turnkey solution. 

Spoke is a next-generation virtual phone system, built to run on top of new technologies like VoLTE, HDVoice and 5G networks.

The Spoke app transforms the phones that your employees already love into a global mobile network, with local numbers in 56 countries.

In researching how employees at small companies actually use their phones, we've found out that less is more. The intuitive Spoke interface contains all the business phone line essentials that small businesses want and none of the bells and whistles that distract employees from doing their work.

Spoke is as easy to install and easy to use, yet powerful enough to replace your office phone system, eliminating up to 88% of your telecom costs.

Contact us for an interactive demo or a free trial and let's figure out how we can get you talking.