Every small business is unique, which certainly seems evident when choosing a new phone system, as we discovered during a recent online survey. We asked business professionals, "What quality do you care about most when selecting a new phone system?" and gave them five response options. Results revealed that selection priorities can differ greatly from business to business.
Top Qualities Driving Phone Service Selection: While our survey was informal, the results do provide a backdrop for discussing common motivations behind phone service selection. Below are the five response options offered in the survey and the percentage ranking of each:
Cloud-based vs. Landline (37%)
Traditional phone service and landlines have been around for generations, so it’s no surprise that equipment and networks are becoming antiquated and can be costly to maintain. Today's hosted VoIP systems, by contrast, don't require the “closet full of wires” at the business location. They’re hosted in the cloud and managed virtually. These cloud-based options can represent a real advantage for businesses, with robust calling features and efficient online control of the entire account.
Reliable Service (24%)
Like any kind of mission-critical capability, business owners need their phone system to be available and working properly at all times. But not all services are the same when it comes to reliability. That may explain why survey respondents focused on service levels as one of the top responses in phone selection. Some hosted VoIP providers tout uptime reliability on a regular basis, as well as peace of mind in situations like emergency conditions, when it's especially crucial to keep in touch with employees and customers.
Monthly Savings (21%)
No matter what a company's size, it's always important to minimize or even eliminate unnecessary expenses – not just on an annual basis, but month after month. Survey respondents naturally indicated savings as a major priority when it comes to selecting a new phone system. In fact, many small businesses move from traditional services to hosted VoIP systems with cost savings in mind. Vonage business customers, for example, can save on average 36% on their phone bill.*
Mobile Integration (14%)
Survey respondents indicated mobility does weigh into their purchase decisions. As today’s employees become increasingly mobile, managing both a traditional in-office phone system and separate business mobile accounts can be both impractical and limiting. In the hosted VoIP environment, on the other hand, businesses can treat employees’ mobile devices as endpoints within the same phone system. This integrated mobility helps remote employees stay tied to the office phone system – making bring your own device (BYOD) policies much easier to streamline.
No Annual Contracts (4%)
Phone system providers have traditionally relied on contracts to lock customers into a long-term agreement, including use of equipment at the customer site and/or to cover ongoing maintenance costs. With the advent of efficient hosted VoIP systems, this model seems to be changing. In fact, some of the best VoIP providers do not require term contracts for basic plans. This makes sense, since hosted VoIP systems don't require on-site equipment or service visits. Top providers like Vonage Business also believe that customers stay with hosted VoIP because of the functionality, affordability and flexibility it offers – not because they're locked into a contract that has cancellation fees.
True, small business owners bring their own distinct priorities to purchasing a business phone system – and many will weigh several of the qualities listed above. But every business owner can appreciate the benefits of a scalable, well-supported system that keeps them prepared for whatever business may bring. What drives your business phone purchasing decision?
*Savings claim is based on the average monthly recurring charge for unlimited domestic business calling plans from the top three leading wireline service providers. Comparison excludes promotional pricing, fees, surcharges or taxes and assumes a customer already has broadband service. Check your phone bill to determine the savings that would apply to you.