I am the first to admit that if you try to get me to change something that I’ve been doing for more than a year or so I’ll be hard pressed to let go. A great example is trying to be less “intense” when talking and meeting new people or colleagues for the first time. I read and think and write out what to say, when to say it, try to be more open blah blah. My intensity is hard coded into my DNA and changing that will be a lifelong learning and molding experience. Another less intense example from my life is getting rid of my brown sectional couch. It’s been with me for years! My dogs love it, but it has holes in it from them digging at it when they were pups. I keep “fixing” it to hold the integrity of the shape, it’s to the point where I need to get a new couch. Changing is hard and you have to find a way to let go, but when you’re considering letting go of your on-site phone system...beware! I’ll go through 3 common pitfalls that you aren’t being told about when you do decide to the change.
The most pain inducing experience you can ever go through in the telecom world is “porting” your business phone numbers from one service provider to another. Here’s why:
1. The carrier that the numbers are being ported from will kick and scream and claw to keep you from making a switch. What’s worse, you’ll have to dig and uncover hidden rocks to find out where your numbers are. What I mean by that is that sometimes even though you have a phone number, your current carrier might have subscribed to another carrier to get that phone number for you through a porting process. That same process most likely happened to that number over the decades. This means that your number probably isn’t owned by your current carrier. So, when trying to move only one number you will be going through this process. Multiply this by 10-20-100 users and phone numbers and you have an adventure on your hands. Making a switch to a new hosted unified phone system is a good decision, you just have to be prepared (and extra patient) to port all of your numbers.
2. Next, you must take into account your workforce and how they’ve been going about their days for the past few years with the current system. How long have they been on that system anyway? 2,5,10 years? Has it been working for what their needs are? Do your users every complain about the phone system? Do they like the system you’re on already? Why would you change it up? You might even hear "now I have to learn a whole new system? IT sucks" or "Why are we changing?" These are what your users think when you make a switch from an old, tried and true phone system to a new more technologically advanced, resilient and reliable UCAAS solution. You have to be ready to manage the inbox full of complaints and death stares in the office when you pass by each and everyone of your staff.
You are changing the way they’ve been doing things for years, so this is something that you will have to take into consideration when deciding to switch out your phone system. Yes, all the new features like presence and video and chat will pay off in the long run, but you can’t let the uncertainty of how your workforce will accept changes affect your decision to make it in the first place. I had a customer NOT implement a new phone system for a subset of his workforce who refused to adopt a new phone system. What happened? My customer didn’t change out 10 user’s phones, kept an old circuit and is continuing to pay over $1500 a month for those users. Don’t let others get in the way of progress.
3. Last, but not least if you do not follow up with training for your users the new phone system will fail. You will not have the adoption that you want, and it might get all the way back up to your leadership team who will question your judgement in recommending the new system and implementing the change in the first place. You must follow up with your users daily and create relationships with your staff so that they know the functionality of the product. Having one group training and letting your people go isn’t enough to make them understand how to use a new system. You will have to constantly remind and ensure that your staff understand how to use the system because sometimes they will just accept something being wrong and not say anything, or worse, complain about it later. Stay on top of your staff and make sure that your new investment starts to pay off immediately.
One more thing, do yourself a favor and upgrade your internet circuit to a dedicated fiber line. Once you have the new hosted phone service installed and it starts to sound like your breaking up on calls and experience call drops the issue is your internet. Your phones are running over a local internet line at your office so if the phones are bad, check out the internet service first. If you’re running a cable broadband as a primary line for your hosted phone system, then that could start to become an ongoing problem and get frustrating. Therefore, make sure your internet circuit is symmetrical and ready for you to layer on the hosted phone service.
So now you know that porting, your users backlash due to the change in system and lack of training will trip up how your new system performs and is perceived. There is no doubt that moving to a Unified Communication system is the way to go now and into the future, but you have to be ready to face the challenges that come when changing the way you do business.
Where do you go from here? Luckily we here at AtlasIP have you covered and have the experience necessary to get you through the tough times that come from making a business decision like switching out your phone system. With a combined 20+ years of experience porting numbers, selling new phone systems, dealing with upset customers, resolving issues and navigating the toughest telecom carriers in the world, you can trust in our ability to deliver on the outcomes your business requires and expects. For more information please visit www.atlasip.net or comment below and I’ll be happy to answer any comments or questions!
Daniel Macias – Telecom Sales Professional