Even in a five-person company, if the phone system fails, the failure can have a direct (and sometimes disproportional) negative effect on business operations. In a large business, phone system failure idles large numbers of workers, makes business slow to a crawl, and prevents vital conversations from happening. Recovery can take longer than just getting working phones again, because business relationships may need to be repaired as well.
In December 2013, thousands of airline passengers in the UK were confronted with flight cancellations and long delays when the National Air Traffic Service's internal phone system failed. Major airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Cardiff, and Glasgow were affected. The Service's Swanwick center in Hampshire, the largest phone system of its kind in Europe, failed when night-time operations failed to properly switch over to the daytime operating system. Though the problem was resolved within one day, the effects were widespread. But even if your business phone system doesn't involve air traffic control, loss of phone function can be disastrous.
Causes of Failure of Business Phone Systems
Natural disasters can affect phone systems, but more commonly, damaged cables, power surges, and simple old age can cause phone system failures. Sure, the old adage, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it" applies in some situations, but if you have an aging PBX phone system, it may be operating on borrowed time. Worse still, getting technical support - particularly emergency technical support - for old systems can be a nightmare. Newer phone systems, like hosted VoIP systems, are designed to avoid failure in the first place, and are also designed to be repaired much more quickly than traditional phone systems. With an old PBX system, you could be waiting days for repair, but with newer hosted VoIP systems, instant workarounds and speedy repair are the norm.
Consequences of Failure of Business Phone Systems
If your phone system is down and a potential customer calls and receives a message such as "This line has been disconnected," he's not likely to call back. Even if your system is only temporarily out of service, you could put off potential customers permanently. If frequent long distance and international calls are typical for your business, every moment your business phone system is out of operation is time your people aren't getting work done, and possibly time that competitors are siphoning off customers. Some employees may get in touch with clients using their personal phones, but simply having a non-functioning business phone system can tarnish the professional image of your company.
If Your Old PBX System Fails
If your business uses an aging PBX phone system, it's wisest not to wait until you start having problems with it. A hosted VoIP system from a trusted provider offers excellent technical support, quick repairs, and instant workarounds in many cases, ensuring your phone system is operational again very quickly, not days later. If you stay with your PBX system until it fails, you'll not only face replacing your phone system, but also repairing any damage done to your business during the outage. If nothing else, you should start exploring your options and select a hosted VoIP provider when your PBX system is 6 to 8 years old, even if it shows no signs of failure.
Preventing Phone System Failure
Switching to a hosted VoIP business phone system is smart even if your PBX system still works. Not only is setup quick and simple, even for those without technical training, all you provide are the new phones. Choose a provider that offers ready technical support, and that answers your questions about how phone system errors are handled. Ask how contingencies such as power failure are handled (often with powerful battery backup systems), and how quickly a system can be back up after downtime.
Most businesses are pleasantly surprised to find that not only is hosted VoIP quicker to set up, and has a full range of business phone features, but that it saves considerable money over a traditional PBX system. Hosted VoIP allows very low cost long distance and international calls, and allows your remote and traveling workers to make free or extremely low cost calls wherever they have broadband, using their work phone number. There's simply no reason to put up with the limitations, risks, and expenses associated with old-fashioned PBX business phone systems when hosted VoIP is available.
At Nexogy, we know how vital your business phone system is to successful business operation and professionalism. We design hosted VoIP business phone systems that meet or exceed expectations and that save businesses money every day.