Last week, we installed a brand new, state-of-the-art VoIP telephone system for a well-known and very much respected local business here in Pembrokeshire. The installation went without a hitch and the client was delighted, saying we were 'by far the most professional company to quote for the system' - which is great to hear and means we must be doing something right! Pictured is one of the old phones we removed during the installation.
It's a Siemens Optiset E Memory phone and if you've worked in a medium to large business at some point over the last 15-20 years, you may recognise it. Siemens has sold a great deal of these systems and we find them quite regularly on our travels. The phone system itself had a number of handsets connected, each with their own DDI (direct line) and voicemail. On the whole, the system worked as it was programmed to. The phones would ring, calls would be answered and staff could phone other businesses. So, why did our customer want a change to a new system?
My phone system is fine - I don't need to upgrade!
From our very first meeting, the customer who owned this particular Siemens system was great - very much aware of its limitations and open to discussion about the best way to do things in modern times. They came to us with a list of pain points to consider and we were happy to address all of them when designing the new system.
- The system used ISDN phone lines - this is still quite common, but they're expensive and meant that there were only a handful of lines available to use at any given time so some callers would end up with an engaged tone. A switch to VoIP lines allowed for savings on line rental and call costs, and now there is a much higher call capacity (probably more than they'll ever use).
- There were over 30 telephone numbers in the system and only 16 phones - some numbers didn't go anywhere, others rang phones which weren't even plugged in. Callers could leave voicemail messages which were never going to be returned (bad for business).
- Incoming phone calls were routed seemingly at random, which meant that the wrong person would end up taking the wrong kind of call. This caused staff to get 'tied up' dealing with something they knew little about and then having to transfer the caller to someone else to explain it all again. Now there's a refined call flow with the right type of call going to the right person, every time.
- It had been difficult to expand the system and we found staff with 2 (or even 3) separate telephone sets on their desk for different lines. Now the staff just have 1 handset each, and different call types are displayed on-screen when the phone rings.
- It was almost impossible to get anyone to service the system as technology has moved on - this meant that, if the system were to break down, it would be almost impossible to return to normal business quickly. Our system is far more robust, but with the added bonus that the VoIP lines can be forwarded to mobiles if there's ever an issue with the internet connection on site.
Whilst it's true that your office phones might 'do the job' for now - have you thought about how sticking with old technology could be damaging your reputation and making it harder for your staff and callers?