Things to do before ditching your old phone system.
We’ve all been there. You get a new phone, and in your excitement, you overlook moving all your contacts and your data. Most of the time you don’t realize this until you’ve already sent in your phone. If you use a third-party application to back up your data you may be able to get it back, but if not, your data is just gone.
A similar situation can play out with when moving to a new phone system. There are items that should be documented so they aren’t left out when you switch over. Your auto attendant prompts, your voice recordings. Your schedules are all items that need to be extracted. If they can’t be extracted, they will have to be recreated.
Yes, you need training
I have sat through my fair share of phone system cutovers. Technically most of them went great. There were a handful that were bumpy, but the technical issues were able to be sorted out quickly.
The worst part of any phone system cutover has been employees not knowing how to use their new phone. Training is a requirement with any phone system cutover. If they refuse in person training, every employee and manager will receive an instruction card, an instruction sheet and an email on how to use the new phone and new system.
Don’t assume that the behavior and functionality of your old system will magically translate to your new system. Most likely transferring calls will be different, retrieving and accessing voicemail will be different. Recording your messages and greetings won’t be the same.
If your new phone system has any new features. Plan now, to include training on the new features.
As a service provider we know that the project isn’t complete until all the users know how to use the new system. If you are part of your company’s implementation team or involved in the decision of moving to a new phone system, your project isn’t complete until everyone can use the new system.
I have seen employee’s try and use the old phone system even after everything was moved over.
Trust me, you need to schedule and insist on training.
Don’t overlook your other devices.
Fax machines, alarm systems, ATM machines may all require some additional devices in order to work with your new phone system.
You may also need to tie in your intercom and door release system. Overlooking these devices could delay your project and lead to safety concerns. Some intercoms are simple to integrate, however, if you have an older system, you may need to replace it.
If you need to replace your overhead paging system with SIP compatible speakers, make sure you get them installed prior to switching over to your new system. You will want to ensure they are mounted in the correct locations and that you conduct a sound test to ensure they are set to the correct volume.
Your provider should be able to assist you with these systems.
Record Your Greetings
Have all your users record their greetings. Most new phone systems have multiple greetings. They have the standard voice mail greeting, but also have other greetings such as a busy message, an away message, and a vacation message.
TIP – Pay attention to the prompts from your system when recording your greeting. Some systems count the greetings from 0-9, and other systems record greetings from 1-9. It is important to know which greeting you are recording to make sure you record the correct message.
Don’t overlook recording your holiday greetings. Some systems allow for multiple holiday greetings, so record them now so you don’t have to figure out how to do it later and possibly incur charges contacting support.
Set Your Schedules
Your phone system can be configured to route calls depending on the day, and time of day. It is important that you set the correct time zone, so that your schedule doesn’t get thrown off. Once you set your time zone, go ahead and set your business hours call route, as well as your afterhours routing.
Plan out your holidays as well. If your system can dynamically change the date, you won’t need to do anything other then set the day as a holiday. If your system requires a feature code, or manual configuration to enable holiday hours, be sure to document the procedure and provide it to the appropriate individuals.
Make sure you test
Most people don’t purchase new cars without a test drive. Yes, we now have card vending machines, and you can complete a car purchase entirely online. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Just like you test a car before you purchase it, you must test your phone system before you start using it.
To guarantee everything gets tested make a list and check it twice. Seriously, make a list.
Here are some items you need to test:
- Inbound Calling
- Outbound Calling
- Your Auto Attendant
- Call Transferring
- Placing Calls on Hold
- Retrieving calls placed on hold
- 911 calls – work with your provider to test calls to 911
- If you are using an application on your mobile device, test that as well.
- Test your caller ID
Other items you want to make sure are working properly
- Overhead paging
- Cordless Phones
- All phones registered
- If you are connecting your computer to the phone, make sure both devices are working.
Measure twice, cut once
In the same way that carpenters are taught to measure twice and cut once. You need to follow a rigorous testing procedure. Believe us, if you conduct the proper testing it will save you weeks of support calls.
Not all providers are the same, so you may find that testing is your responsibility. If you fail to address everything during the setup and onboarding phase, you could get pushed off to a different team. We have seen companies where the sales and implementation teams were great, but their support team was subpar.
Don’t allow this to happen. You should be able to test many of these items before you give the go ahead. There are technical reasons as to why you won’t be able to test 100% of these items on our list, but you should be able to test the majority.
Use this list as both for evaluation purposes as well as a final check.
Taking these steps will make sure your company gets the most out of your new phone system.
Once your testing is complete, then and only then should you ditch your old phone system.
If you are tired of paying too much, and your support calls not being taken seriously, we need to talk.
N2Net can end the cycle of poor call quality, and make you stop hating your phone system. Believe us, you can stop hating your phone system, and the phone company.
Call 216-619-2000 option 3 and take back control of your business communications.