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4 Factors to Consider When Purchasing Your Next Phone System

Communication is the single most important aspect of every business, but can be even more vital when it pertains to organizations that service the public and those most in need of assistance.

We proudly partner with non-profit organizations throughout the country and see first-hand how challenging it can be for them to find a reliable and effective communication solution, especially with the unique budgetary and staffing limitations they face.  As with any organization, it’s important to find a communication solution that not only fits your needs and budget, but allows you to focus on your mission, not your technology or IT.

We recently had the pleasure of working with Intercommunity Action, a Philadelphia non-profit organization that has provided behavioral health and aging services to the Philadelphia community for over 40 years with finding a single solution that could solve all of their communication challenges.

Based on our recent partnership, we’ve compiled a list of the top factors everyone should consider when selecting your next phone system.

Cost

Cost is always one of the most important factors in any large purchase or investment. But, it goes well beyond one flat price when it pertains to a communication solution, there are several costly expenditures you need to inquire about up-front, such as: the cost of the phones themselves, installation fees, maintenance charges, included and ala carte features, and the cost associated with supporting the system itself. With Broadview’s OfficeSuite® Phone, Intercommunity Action was able to find a solution that required no out-of-pocket expenses for phones, no maintenance contracts or fees, hundreds of the included features and services they needed and no IT support required in order to manage it. “We looked at several other hosted solutions and the OfficeSuite® phone system was by far the most cost-effective solution. OfficeSuite® Phone cost 30% less than other solutions we found and every dime we don’t spend on something else, we get to spend on delivering services to those who need them most,” said Mike Mann, VP of IT Services at Intercommunity Action.  These costs add up quickly, so make sure you get the most bang for your buck with the system you choose and that the features you need most are included.

Multi-site Ready

The majority of businesses today have more than one location or have plans to grow in the future, that’s why it’s essential that whatever solution you choose, works across all of your locations. Some useful features you should be on the look-out for are: extension-to-extension dialing, personalized voicemail accessible from anywhere and hot desking. This was one of the biggest challenges that Intercommunity Action experienced with their five different locations. Their staff frequently rotated and worked from various sites, which made it difficult for their clients to reach the right contact. They often received complaints and staff struggled with missing calls, and in the behavioral health sector, it is critical that their clients’ calls are always received. “The key driver for looking for a new phone system was the need to unify all my sites under one system to make it easier for someone calling to get to the right person,” explained Mann. OfficeSuite® Phone unified all of their locations and their employees. Employees at Intercommunity Action can now use their same phone number from any location and access their personal voicemail box, so they never lose touch with their clients. This type of seamless unification is what you need to look for when selecting a phone system for the future.

Self-Management

Look for a system that is both easy-to-use and can be managed independently, so you can focus on your business, not your IT. A communication system should be intuitive, as should be the customer portal or content management system.  Finding a solution that employees can self-manage will save you a lot of time, money and hassle. The ease-of-use that OfficeSuite® Phone provided Intercommunity Action relieved Mike Mann from many time-consuming administrative duties. “It offloads administrative tasks for me. In the former system, I would have to set up and change individual voicemails for our staff, but now they can manage it on their own. We love how the voicemail functions. It is straightforward and powerful,” Mann says. Be sure that the system you select not only offers the features you need, but that they can be managed without requiring any assistance or costly support.

Mobility

In addition to accommodating employees who work from various site locations, many employee’s today work remotely and when they are on-the-go, so it is crucial that you find a communication solution that includes mobility features. At the very least, you want a system that offers voicemail to email, mobile twinning, online fax, video, audio and web conferencing and access to an online portal so you can manage everything you need from anywhere you are. With OfficeSuite® Phone, Intercommunity Action was empowered with the mobility tools they needed to support their flexible workforce. “I highly recommend OfficeSuite® Phone to someone who is looking for the same flexibility and powerful tools that our organization needed.” said Mann. Flexibility is a top priority for businesses today and in the future, so be sure that you have the ability to go mobile when and if you need to.

Nicole Yeager

About Nicole Yeager

Nicole is the Marketing Manager for Broadview Networks, now part of Windstream, where she enjoys marketing the latest technologies businesses can leverage to maximize productivity, improve security and reduce costs.

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