7 Steps to Take BEFORE Your Business Phone Contract Expires
In the old days (circa 2010), it might have made sense to start investigating new business phone system options just a few months before the contract came up for renewal. But today, that approach won’t do you or your company any favors.
With the rate of technological change taking place and ever-increasing customer expectations, there’s no time like the present to revisit both what you currently have in place and, more importantly, what you want to achieve going forward. Beyond new feature functionality and integrations, you also need to determine which deployment option – onsite, cloud or a hybrid mix of the two – is the best fit for your business needs.
So no matter where you’re at in your contract, there’s no time like the present to revisit your current solution and plan for the future. Even if you elect to stay with what you have, you will be better prepared to make the right decisions for your business when the time comes.
Below are 7 steps to get started on BEFORE your contract expires:
1. Know the terms. What is or isn’t possible under your current agreement? From a contractual standpoint, how much lead time is required if you are considering a change?
2. Define your needs. Your business needs – and those of your customers – may have changed dramatically changed from the time you purchased your last phone system. Identify your key business drivers and ask yourself if your current solution is able to meet those objectives.
3. Do your homework. Armed with your business needs, it’s time to go shopping. Make certain you know what functionality is essential to meeting your business needs and what you would be willing to wait for or live without. These days, with some vendors offering customizable solutions, there’s no need to accept a less-than-perfect-fit.
4. Plan, plan, plan. Anytime you consider introducing a change in technology to your organization, your ability to plan for the change will be crucial to the success of the new solution. Communications systems are no different. Give your organization enough time to select and implement a solution so the change will be seamless. Identify a dedicated internal team who will be charged with articulating current needs, navigating through various solutions and, ultimately, assist in successfully implementing the technology. Consider how you will roll out the new system and train employees to ensure staff adoption and minimal disruption to productivity.
5. Seeing is believing. Certainly you should see your future solution in action either via a demo or in-person, but you need to go further. Get customer references and be sure to ask questions that go beyond just functionality.
6. Execute the new contract with enough time to be successful. All too often, the previous five steps take longer than anticipated and you end up jammed for time against your ending contract. Don’t place your organization in that difficult position. Make sure you give your team a wide timeframe to ensure your decision and system will best meet the needs of your business.
7. Eat the elephant in a planned fashion. Organizations using outdated technology often lack certain features and hence, can’t wait for you to ‘bring it on’ ASAP. While your new technology partner may be capable of delivering everything on your wish list, factor in your organization’s ability to absorb and implement a large amount of change, especially if those changes impact key processes. Consider a phased approach or, at the very least, a companywide introduction to the new technology that includes a discussion of how it will be implemented over time.