Step 1: How many 'outside' (incoming/outgoing) lines will you want to connect initially?
Helpful Hints: There are several different ‘types’ of outside lines that you can use, however the number that you have
determines how many simultaneous ‘outside’ call conversations you can have in progress at any given time. Do not include
any outside (incoming/outgoing) lines that will be used for faxes or EFTPOS, unless you intend using them for 'voice' calls as
Step 2: How many 'extension phones' will you need initially?
Helpful Hints: The number of extension phones should include the operator, and also common type areas such as a conference room, kitchen or factory phone. There are different types of extension phones available including cordless
phones, so include the total of all types of extension phones that you may require.
Step 3: Would you like to have some of your office ‘Desk-top’ phones ‘wireless’ (with full functionality), or any portable ‘Cordless’ phones for staff members that need to be contactable as they move around your premises?
Helpful Hints: Some systems now allow a number of desk-top phones to be ‘wireless’ for added flexibility when you need to move a phone either temporarily or permanently – you don’t need to call out a technician each time! Portable Cordless phones can provide excellent ‘move-around’ convenience, and
you can still ‘hold’ and ‘transfer’ calls.
Step 4: When incoming 'outside' calls cannot be answered within a set time, would you like callers to hear an 'Auto Attendant' message like "our receptionist will be with you shortly. If you know the extension number you can dial it now” or offer a 'group' of extensions eg "for Sales dial 1, for Accounts dial 2, for Service dial 3" etc. You may also need the ability for 'extension phones' or 'extension groups' to be able to take Voice Mail messages during the day and after hours? Maybe there are times when you need to Record phone conversations?
Helpful Hints: Auto Attendant messages can be customised to your own requirements, and can substantially reduce an
operator's time in answering calls. Voice Mail can take messages from customers or colleagues when an extension user
is 'unavailable' or 'busy', and the extension user can usually retrieve these messages from anywhere in the world at their
convenience. Recording of phone calls can be an important asset at times when you need proof of a conversation.
Step 5: Would any of the following be required within the for-seeable future – ‘Mobile phone to double as an office extension’ phone, ‘Remote Extensions’, ‘Networking of multiple sites’, ‘Unified Communications’, ‘Computer Integration with phone system’?
Helpful Hints: Most mobile phones can ‘double’ as an office extension, providing the ultimate in call flexibility - you can answer incoming office calls, put callers on ‘hold’ (including the ‘on-hold’ music from the office system) and transfer calls to other extensions, all just like you can on your office phones;
‘Remote Extensions’ allow you to have office extension phones at ‘home’ or ‘branch’ offices, usually
with full functionality as if you were actually ‘in the office’, you can also have an extension on a Laptop
or Desktop computer; ‘Networking multiple sites’ enables seamless 'Intercom' and 'transfer' call
ability to any site with no call charges - most systems also allow separate outside lines at the individual
sites ‘Unified Communications’ and ‘Computer Integration’ can provide flexibility in the way you
receive various message types such as VoiceMail messages sent to your Emails etc., and to be able
to click a phone number on your computer screen to dial-out., ‘screen pops’ of your incoming callers’
details to your computer screen, or a ‘PC Attendant’ so your operator can use their computer to handle
Step 6: Would your business benefit from ‘Automatic Call Distribution’ where calls can be queued for ‘Call Centre’ staff, and presented in order to the next staff member that becomes available?
Helpful Hints: This feature can dramatically reduce staffing needs - callers can listen to 'music' or 'Messages-on-Hold' whilst waiting in the queue. Customer satisfaction is improved by ensuring that calls are answered as quickly as possible by the next available staff member.
Step 7: At the location where you will be needing your phone system, is the ‘NBN’ (National Broadband Network) available yet?
Helpful Hints: When the ‘NBN’ is in your area, there are extra options that become viable with your phone system (in addition to having your faster broadband).
Step 8: Do you have a preference as to whether your Phone System main box (brains) is installed at your office, or is controlled at an ‘off-site’ (remote) location (i.e. ‘Hosted’, or ‘Cloud’ based)?
There are certain advantages for either option depending on the way your business operates - for more information to help you make a comparison, click here ....