Business Telephone SystemsFor a business to operate effectively it needs to have access to reliable, resilient communications systems which are not only robust enough to function normally for as long as possible, but also easy to maintain when faults inevitably occur.

Most companies cannot dedicate a permanent team to managing and addressing issues with a telephone system on site, which could lead to disruption in the event of an emergency. This makes it practical to outsource maintenance to a third party provider.

Responsiveness should be an important asset for any telephone maintenance provider, but business customers must make sure that any company they choose to use for this purpose is able to deliver on its promises and address system issues in a timely fashion. Here is a look at the serious consequences which might arise from choosing a provider that is not responsive and how you can benefit from one which is equipped to excel in high pressure scenarios.

System Shock

Voice communications may seem outdated today, but British businesses still make and receive hundreds of millions of hours worth of calls each and every day. A voice call is often a better way of communicating with colleagues, clients and prospective customers because it allows for an immediacy of engagement which is missing from email and other platforms, while also making it easier to convey messages and avoid confusion. Such revealing features as tone of voice and emphasis, for example, are difficult to replicate in text, so even if you feel that telephone conversations are being edged towards irrelevance, it is still necessary for most businesses to use landline connectivity to offer a vital conduit for communications.

Internal telephone systems can vary in size and complexity, but disruption to this set-up can hit hard whatever the arrangement you have in place. There are varying degrees of disruption, ranging from dropped calls and failed connections of a sporadic nature through to full system blackout. But whatever the severity of the outage, even the most minor hiccup can be costly. Lost sales, stifled productivity and a damaged reputation will result and disruption can ripple out to impact the business in the long term.

If you have signed on with a maintenance provider, you might assume that you are guarded against system errors and other communications issues. However, the responsiveness of the provider will dictate the speed with which you can recover from setbacks and there may be a number of factors influencing the ability of third party firms to meet the needs of your business.

Essence of Speed

Ensuring that you choose a responsive telephone maintenance provider can be difficult, but you need to start at the most basic level of contactability. Work out how easy it is to get in touch with the company in question and what kind of response you can expect based on variables like the time of day and the kind of help that is required.

Such things can depend not just upon the provider you pick, but the maintenance package that you are paying for, because 24/7 support may only be accessible to those willing to make a suitable investment in a more comprehensive service. Remember that while you may be treated attentively while procuring a maintenance provider, this may not continue once you are a paying customer, so check up on the reputation of eligible firms from independent sources and find out which is most likely to live up to the promotional superlatives it uses.

The next element that comes into determining the responsiveness of a maintenance provider is its proximity to the location of your business. While a company which is three hours away may have a better price, it might be worth going for one that is more local so that when work needs to be carried out, there is as little delay as possible. For every second that a system is faulty or completely out of action, a business is not only missing out on potential sales, but slipping ever closer to complete disaster. IT outages may be seen as more problematic today, but complacency about telephone systems can be just as catastrophic if issues occur and then are not addressed responsively.

It pays to carefully research each telephone maintenance provider to work out where they are based and how quickly they will be able to get to your business when work needs to be carried out. Many providers who offer national coverage will work with a network of specialists, geographically dispersed so that no matter where a business might be located, it will not be out of reach or left dangling over the abyss when a fault arises.

Hardware Expertise

If a provider can be contacted round the clock and get someone out to your business without delay, this might sound like the ideal scenario, but you should not close the case there and assume that responsiveness has been assured. You also need to make sure that the telephone system you are using can be maintained by the provider’s technicians, because by the time they get to the site and there is a gap in their knowledge, it is too late. Matters were simpler in the past when most telephone solutions were powered almost entirely by internal hardware, but with a growing number of businesses using VoIP and SIP trunking, the degree of complexity is increased.

If your company is using a partially or wholly hosted telephone service then your choice of maintenance provider should take this into account. It is equally important that those with legacy hardware are catered to by a provider, not stifled by a lack of expertise. This is another area in which gauging the reputation and abilities of a provider is important, because those with first-hand experience of its services and abilities will be in a good position to let you know whether you should sign up for coverage.

Get Flexible

The ability to offer maintenance packages which can be adjusted to suit the type of telephone system and budget a business has on offer will be a good indication of the quality of a maintenance provider.

Paying for maintenance coverage should not just be a meaningless investment in intangible peace of mind, which in practice does not help your company avoid disruption. It should be something you do secure in the knowledge that a quick response will come in the event of any issues floating to the surface. A business is responsible for picking a telephone maintenance provider and this power, when correctly used, will make all the difference should it be necessary to eliminate disruption and ensure communications go uninterrupted.

This guest article was supplied by Jamie Garner, who works for the business telecoms provider Daisy Group.