I was given a referral to a church today that has a newer phone system. Their main complaint was that it was too complex and that a technician had to come to the office every time they wanted to make any changes. Like most organizations, they do not have the time, nor do they want to dedicate staff to learn phone system programming. I have heard this over and over again.
Something to keep in mind when looking at a phone system is that someone has to maintain it and keep it accurate. When someone leaves your organization, a new employee starts, or you want to offer more information to your callers, the system needs to be updated. So we suggest that you “Keep It Simple!”
Here are some common phone system traps to watch out for:
- “Phantom” Voicemail Box - Call gets routed to an unmonitored voicemail box and the caller leaves their message in the proverbial “black hole.” Someone leaves the office but the voice mailbox is not deleted.
- Menu Looping - Caller makes selection, but the programming does not match the greeting. This usually happens when someone in the office is responsible to record the outgoing greetings.
- Forwarding Extensions to Cell Phones - This will tie up two phone lines for the entire length of the call. See "Get your Flash going" for more information.
- Systems requiring an office “Phone Expert” - If that person leaves, the learning curve starts all over again for someone else.
AT&T and Panasonic have great 4 line phones that work very well for the small business and ensure everyone can use it. Combine these phone with an outside voice mail/call routing service, like Answer Idaho and you have a very powerful phone system.