Phone System Support
What is a cloud business phone system provider’s responsibility for support?
Many businesses are turning to cloud-hosted phone systems to save money and enjoy more powerful voice communication features. Cloud PBX services take advantage of Internet economies by using IP networks to transmit voice traffic instead of traditional public switched telephone networks. Providers can add in sophisticated features like auto attendant, conferencing, find-me-follow-me, hunt groups and voicemail-to-email conversion – making enterprise-grade telephony available even to small businesses. With a hosted solution, businesses also avoid the expense and management of an on-premises installation. The necessary components are reduced to an ISP connection (Comcast, Google Fiber, etc.), a local network (LAN), IP phones and a Cloud PBX provider.
This reduction in management of infrastructure seems ideal for a small business owner; however, it would be prudent to question what the provider’s responsibilities are compared to your own. You can hire a professional services firm to take care of everything, but there is a commensurate cost with that approach. In most cases, businesses already have an ISP connection and a local network. They simply need to sign on with a PBX hosting provider and plug IP phones into their pre-existing network. With a quality provider and minimal legwork on your end, you can do it yourself.
Onboarding to hosted PBX
A good hosted PBX provider will start by checking the compatibility of your network and ISP (prior to any contractual obligation). They will test your local network to ensure there is sufficient bandwidth and quality of service to support the additional voice traffic. In some situations a phone simulation should run for more than a day to monitor variations in network traffic patterns throughout the week. If a problem is discovered, the provider should be able to recommend a specific solution and work with you to implement it. That may be as simple as adjusting your backup schedule or working with the ISP to optimize network configurations.
The provider should be able to help you submit a porting request if choose to transfer existing phone numbers to the new service. This FCC-regulated process may take a few weeks. When completed, you are ready to start using the new system.
A good provider will offer continuous and thorough support throughout the onboarding process. As part of due diligence, look at the provider’s capabilities and track record in this area, perhaps talking to existing customers about their experience.
Ongoing phone system support
Once the system is up and running, the cloud PBX provider is responsible for maintaining the phone system in their network, the ISP is responsible for the IP connection between your site and the Internet, and you are responsible for the local network at your business location.
If you experience a technical problem, a good cloud PBX provider will help resolve the problem, even if it doesn’t involve their part of the network. The provider’s diagnostic tools should be sophisticated enough to isolate the problem and suggest a solution.
Furthermore, not all voice clouds are the same. There are significant differences in redundancy, reliability, security, quality of service, and advanced features offered with hosted PBX solutions. Make sure the provider you select is equipped to deliver the performance and call quality that you need.