So you’ve decided to implement VoIP for your business? That’s great! You’re getting ahead of the game and getting ahead of your competitors. Stepping your business up to VoIP can actually be pretty simple. Read on for some tips on how to make the switch simple. But first, let me tell you about about an interesting psychological study. This study may actually change how you think about all of your future decision making.
In 2000, two researchers, Iyengar and Lepper, conducted a study about making choices. One part of the study took place in a grocery store and involved two separate conditions. In one condition, customers were given 24 types of jam to choose from. In the other condition, customers were given only 6 types of jam to choose from. The researchers found that, while customers were initially more attracted to the booth with more jam choices, they were actually one-tenth as likely to make a purchase when presented with more options. This study suggests that having fewer choices makes it easier, and more likely, that a customer will make a purchase at all. Having too many choices can cause, what’s been referred to as, “choice paralysis”.
Think about your own shopping experiences. Have you ever found yourself trying to compare so many similar products —to the point where it gets somewhat frustrating? What do you do then? If you’re like many consumers, you’ll probably just skip over that item. Choosing VoIP isn’t all that different from choosing Jam. If customers are given too many options (and from too many companies) they are more likely to experience “choice paralysis”. When that happens, they may become overwhelmed by all the great options and then decide that they’re just going to stick with their current system.
That could work for now. Hopefully, your current PBX system has treated you well for years. Unfortunately, these systems are aging and beginning to fail. In the last year or two, we’ve been seeing more and more of these systems giving up. It used to be that parts could be replaced and you’d be back up and running. These days, getting replacement parts has become a significant challenge. Steadfast maintains a supply of replacement parts, but we won’t have them forever. Additionally, if a replacement part needs to be ordered, it could take days to get it in. That’s days of lost business!
You should not wait for your current system to fail. It’s one of those Murphy’s law type situations: your older PBX will likely fail at the worst possible time. What do you do then? At that point, most businesses will panic and rush into finding some kind of replacement. This is when poor choices are made. The good news is that, companies, like Steadfast, are able to work with customers who are in a rush (and even those who aren’t) and design a fast replacement that’s optimized for their business.
Protect the best interests of your business.
Before you consider any company, you must ask them these questions:
1. Are you legally allowed to sell VoIP? Are you registered with the FCC? Can I rely on you for 911 calls if there is ever an emergency? Are there any other risks for which you could be forced to shut down?
2. Who will install the system? Will the company send professional technicians, or will they ship you equipment and expect you to figure out how to set everything up? Caution: If the company tries to convince you that self-install is going to be simple and easy, then you may want to reconsider proceeding with them. Self-install is never as simple as it may sound.
3. If there are problems with your VoIP system, does the company have “boots on the ground”? In other words, do they have technicians that they can send out the same day? Or will they expect you to do your own trouble shooting? Who has time for that? Isn’t it better to have an expert work on your system so that repairs are done correctly? Many users have fixed their systems, but in doing so, inadvertently created vulnerabilities which have cost their businesses thousands due to things like toll fraud.
4. Are they planning to provide you with business grade VoIP phones? Or is the company planning to use converters (Analog Telephone Adapters – ATAs)? Easy way to tell: If your installation involves plugging in standard telephones, then they’re having you use an ATA. ATAs are great for residential use, but not sufficient for primary communications within businesses. ATAs, however, do have other valid uses for businesses.
5. What kinds of features are available? Do they offer things like cross-company intercom paging? What about custom features?
6. After the install, will the company include training sessions with your employees? How about on-site training? This matters! We’ve actually found that on-site training results in much faster transitioning and greater satisfaction among customers; of course, increased productivity since employees can get right back to their usual business.
The best way to keep your business’s communications running smoothly, is to benefit from a knowledgeable provider of VoIP systems. A knowledgeable company will give you the information that you need so that you can make informed decisions —without risking “choice paralysis”.