Voice over IP (VoIP) has been touted as the way of the future. Companies are being encouraged to jump onto the bandwagon to save money, and enjoy the many advantages of VoIP which were previously only available to enterprise-sized businesses. Many companies will join the rush and enjoy what VoIP has to offer. Other companies, though, will sign up and then find they have nothing but a big headache. The VoIP solution will be viewed by them as a failure. Why is this? What are the reasons that phone system strategies fail? Let’s examine what can go wrong.
Unforeseen external circumstances
This is the only reason where you’re off the hook - partially, at least. If you’ve decided on a VoIP vendor that then flaked on you, there isn’t much you can do. If your ISP suddenly has issues providing your internet connection, there isn’t much you can do. Make sure that you conduct thorough research before purchasing a VoIP system, by identifying business needs, viewing product demos, as well as reading customer ratings. That way, you can justify to management that you did your homework and that what happened was completely unexpected. If you didn’t do your homework, well, you’re going to have a lot of explaining to do to the management team.
Lack of understanding
If you’re going to implement the best VoIP services, but you’re going to go the cheap route and have your IT department support it, make sure you’ve gotten your IT team to buy into the strategy. If they don’t understand why your business needs to move to VoIP, you’re going to be fighting a losing battle. Make sure you take the time to have your IT team trained as well. If they don’t understand the why of VoIP, and they don’t understand how to support it, it’s never going to work.
The strategy is flawed
Any large purchase and deployment needs to be planned out carefully. Everyone needs to be on the same page, a common goal needs to be seen by all, and everyone must be in agreement as to how to get there. If your company has never worked with VoIP before, it would be beneficial to come up with some extra money to pay for some assistance from some VoIP experts. This way, someone with knowledge of VoIP can help map out the strategy based on prior experience.
If you decide simply to wing it without specialist expertise, you run the risk of potentially overlooking important factors that may cause poor decision making when it comes to comparing VoIP systems - and negatively impact business goals in the long run.
Poor match between the company and the technology
Everyone likes bells and whistles. They make you feel like you have something really, really neat that no one else does. Be smart about the technology when you look at your phone strategy, though. Just because a company offers the biggest and the best doesn’t mean that their system is right for you. Take the time to determine what exactly your business needs, and then go out and get it. Don’t go crazy on things that aren’t essential. Get a system that works and does what your business wants. Flashiness can be added later.
For example, using a VoIP phone on your existing landline is a good place to start if your business is completely new to VoIP. As time goes on, your business can gradually upgrade and expand on VoIP capabilities, therefore ensuring a strategy that doesn’t break the bank, while offering your teams precisely what they need to do their work more efficiently than before.
Lack of accountability
Every piece of the phone strategy must have an owner, and that owner must be accountable to someone to make sure that particular piece is completed. If there is no accountability, there is no assurance that the work is going to get done. This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Simply reporting progress and any issues to another person is usually all that is needed. Do that at a minimum. If you don’t, your project may never see the light of day.
With the passage of time, your VoIP platform will need scaling depending on shifting company volumes, consumer demands or changes in technology. Therefore, the VoIP strategy you establish today will seldom be a one-off endeavor - it will constantly serve as a reliable foundation for future improvements.
As you can see, there are a variety of reasons why a phone system strategy will fail. Most come back to a lack of planning. Take the time to plan the strategy accordingly, keeping in mind the things discussed here. That’s the best path for success.