So the bill was mysterious for the last time, or customer service just isn't how you wanted. Maybe you're sick of surcharges and fees that seem to come out of nowhere. Maybe you have a sudden need for more remote workers and your current system just can’t handle it. You have decided to leave your phone company, but what should you do before that happens?
You can ease the transition to a new telephony provider by performing some legwork up front. Below is a list of information you should gather before talking to a possible new provider.
1. Gather Your Inventory
Take an inventory of the number of phones, their location, their extension number, and who uses them. You can put this on an Excel spreadsheet, sorted in whatever manner you would like. Most UCaaS providers can match your existing extensions on the new system, which is just one less thing your employees will have to learn. Also take an inventory of the make and model of your PBX, and any other audio equipment you might have such as an overhead paging device. It might be possible to utilize your current equipment in your next setup, and even if you can't just provide information to your new provider about what you expect.
2. Document The Call Flow
Note your call flows. How do customers get to particular employees or departments? Do you use hunt groups or auto attendants? This information will be invaluable when building your new system. Also note how your employees currently dial outside of your network. Do they need to dial nine to get an outside line? Are there restrictions such as international dialing blocks? What Caller Line ID is output when your employees make outside calls?
Related Blog: The Call Flow Continuum
3. Understanding Internal Actions
How are your calls transferred between employees? Do they put a call on Park and page overhead, or do they transfer directly, or some combination of the two? Do not rely on personal experience in this matter, talk to your receptionist or others to transfer calls frequently. Learn their pain points so that you might have a chance to make the next system even better.
4. Find Some Advocates
While you're talking to your subject matter experts to understand what in the system is working well. What don’t they like about the current setup, as well as what they do not like. Bring in a receptionist or another person as an adviser when you meet with potential new telephone providers. Not only will you benefit from their experience, but you will build an advocate within your company which will make adoption of the new system proceed more smoothly. If your organization is exceptionally large, you may even form a committee for this.
Related Blog: Seven Project Management Tips for Better Tech Adoption
5. Note Other Equipment
What other equipment or devices uses your current phone system? Do you have elevators, credit card machines, or entry systems? Does your business require power outage failover protection? Finally a look at the cabling that goes to each location. Are spare ethernet lines available, or are the current phones on regular phone jacks? Look to your networking closet and note the type of equipment that is there. You can even enlist your IT team to help inventory the network setup.
By documenting your current phone system, its equipment, users, and procedures, you prepare yourself to transition to a new and better system. This can help you reduce cost and improve implementation delays.