Are All Hosted Phone Systems the Same? Not Even Close.

March 11, 2016

Are all shoes created the same? Now, answer the question – is all technology the same?

I ask you this question because if you were to ask 10 people what makes a good shoe, you could easily get 10 different answers.  I personally asked this to three individuals in my office and none of their answers were the same.  The same goes for technology – like religion or politics –  in that everyone has an opinion.  Right or wrong, it’s their opinion.

Recently, I was in a meeting with a client and they mentioned their hosted phone provider was not giving them all the features / support they needed to efficiently run their business.  With this comment, I drilled down with a few more questions to find out where my local competitor was falling short.  The client had a call center they needed to get certain metrics from. The incumbent provider couldn’t provide the necessary reporting, so the client added a 3rd party company to do it – which became cumbersome and costly.  This solution provided most of the functionality needed, but the client continually had to contact TWO organizations versus ONE when making changes, which were constant since their business is seasonal.  Bottom line: Reporting metrics were accomplished but another hole in the dike opened up with the support, which became more involved.

The client then started to interview other hosted phone providers and again, not knowing many of the differences between Hosted Provider A vs. Hosted Provider B vs. Hosted Provider C, it became a time consuming project resulting in STILL not knowing which provider was their best choice.  Folks, there are  450 + hosted providers in the United States currently and like the quality of my running shoes – they are not all created equal!  When your organization starts to evaluate your next phone system, it is important to review some facts about your business.

Here is a sampling of the many questions you need to ask yourself, and the organizations you are discussing this purchase with, in order to make sure you get what you want:

  • Industry: Retail has different needs than manufacturing than medical than a call center environment.  If you miss on this, you will be frustrated with your purchase no doubt.
  • Mobility: If you have a mobile work-force, you have different needs than an organization who has all their staff in office.
  • Call Center: Not all call center providers can provide the features and functionality needed on a call report and call center queuing feature.
  • Call Expansion and ability to Burst: As many companies are making the move to Hosted Phone Service (it has been projected that within 3 years more Hosted Phones will be purchased than Premise based phone systems) they are leaving the gauge of do I need two ISDN- PRIs still? Some providers allow users to “burst” to call capacity above what they have contracted for.  If your traffic is seasonal – this would help.
  • Call Compression: Some hosted vendors offer call compression which allows the traffic for those two PRIs to go over what was equivalent to the bandwidth of 1 PRI.
  • Call Presence across the Enterprise: This is a feature I personally love in the ability to see who is on hook throughout the day when I am out of the office.  If the CTG staff member I am looking for is available, I just dial their 4 digit extension from my mobile device to connected.
  • 3rd party software integration: This is becoming more and more important to organizations.  Some Hosted Providers are now integrating their services with business applications such as MS Office 365, Google Docs, Sales Force Automation just to name a few.

These are just a few of the questions that need to be asked. As a Hosted Phone Consulting organization we personally installed Hosted Phone Service in 43 states in 2015 and have over 120 providers of Hosted Services in our portfolio. We understand that it is confusing, but that is why you need to know the facts on what you need. It’s imperative to work with an organization that understands the playing field.

For more information about how to evaluate if your organization is ready for a Hosted Phone Solution, download our calculator.

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