Telephones have been around for over 130 years. It is not surprising that over that century and a quarter a few incorrect assumptions have surfaced. Today we will attempt to shine the light of day on what we believe are the 10 myths about telephone systems.

1. Video Conferencing is too expensive.

In years past that was true. You needed tens of thousands of dollars in specialized equipment and dedicated point to point T1 lines for bandwidth. With today’s low priced cameras and gigabits of inexpensive bandwidth, video conferencing can be affordable for the smallest companies.

2. Self Administration software is helpful if you have a dedicated IT person.

Today’s feature rich applications are designed to be sold to the small business owner. Developers realize this and design the interface to be accessible for even the most novice user.

3. Every system needs Voice Mail.

I am not a big fan of pink slips. I am less of a fan of those who hide behind their Voice Mail. If your business is designed accordingly and has the dedication to customer service, you can function without voice mail. Remember, Voice Mail does not help your customers, it only documents their problem. People solve problems. Get the callers to the right people and see you problems diminish.

4. A receptionist is a waste of money.

As we stated in number 3, you can have a company that chooses not to use Voice Mail. If so, they wouldn’t necessary need a receptionist, but they do need someone to answer first time callers and be available to help customers whose primary contact in the company is unavailable. Having someone work an hour a day and then spend their time filing their fingernails and reading romance novels is not a good idea. Not having anyone to answer when customers call to spend money is far worse.

5. Voice Recording is only practical at the Police Station.

With the drastic cost reductions in hard drive storage and the advancements made in speech compression, voice recording also known as voice documentation can be affordable to almost everyone.  If you don’t think you’re a candidate ask yourself what the financial impact would be if you could reduce order errors? Could you improve customer service if you knew first hand what their experience was? Does your staff make it easy for your customers to buy things from you? The questions go on but the answer may just be voice documentation.

6. Pure IP is always the smart solution.

I’m all in favor of IP phone systems with their laundry list of applications. When it comes to IP, versus digital, telephone sets; that depends on the application. Pure IP may require re-wiring your building to Cat5e or Cat6a cabling, installing QOS routers, POE switches, setting up a V-LAN. If you don’t know these acronyms, you’ll need to hire an IT person to help design your network. If you do understand these acronyms, ask yourself if the investment is worth the reward.

7. Signing a 5 year contract for Network Services is a better deal than signing a 3 year contract.

Historically pricing for comparable Network Services has dropped since Alexander Graham Bell called Watson. Additionally, if new offerings arise that may prove a better fit for your company, those last two years may seem like an eternity.

8. Dealing with a large company is superior to dealing with a small one.

Small companies can give you local personalized service, quick response and in-house billing resolution. Larger companies tend to focus on larger accounts, have defined response procedures and corporate billing resolution. If you think the little guy can do the job and be there when you need them, give him a chance.

9. Never lease, always pay cash.

Leasing may be the way to go depending on your company’s income, expenses, debt and other factors. Talk to your accountant and ask them the benefits and arguments for and against leasing. It just may make their day.

10. Maintenance Contracts are a waste of money.

Today most Maintenance Contract costs are calculated on the actual risk involved. They’re a good idea if you want to buffer and budget for unexpected costs. If your company’s finances can take a little feast or famine occasionally, that’s another story.

We’ve just debunked 130 years of myths. At the rate technology is evolving, we’ll need to address this in about 130 days.

  1. thanks for this information on IP Telephones.

    ip telephone

  2. helpfulherb says:

    One person business living off cell phone, any suggestions on how to improve customer contact/communications?

    • Mike Bayer says:

      Make sure you have all your clients and prospects’ telephone numbers in your Contacts. Benefits being:
      1. You can greet them by name when they call
      2. You can recognize the caller and organize your thoughts prior to answering
      3. If the call drops or is unreliable, you know you should call them back immediately
      4. You’ll never forget their phone number

      Another tip: Make sure your voice mail has a greeting. The default greeting will not even verify that your customer has made contact to Helpful Herb.
      Good luck!

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