Small Business Phone Systems: Don’t renew until you evaluate hosted solutions

If your business phone contract is about to expire, then now is the best time to reconsider your options. Technology and business have both changed significantly in the last couple of years, and there are now simpler ways to structure your phone service.

Who will benefit from this guide?

In the following report we’ll look at the business phone market from the perspective of an established small business with 10–30 phones. Whether you currently deploy a PRI circuit or upgraded to a SIP trunk years ago, there is a next-level solution worth your consideration.

Smaller than 10 phones? Most of this guide will still be valuable in helping you navigate the market. We discuss how regulation of national carriers raises their prices, while their monopoly position makes them slower to adopt new technologies.

Who won’t benefit from this guide?

Large enterprises have the leverage to demand better deals and service from national carriers. This article will be informative but the superior alternatives primarily benefit small and midsize businesses.

Small Business Phone Systems Vs. Full-Service Hosted Solutions

There is a reason why now is the best time to reevaluate business phone systems. Until recently national carriers had the advantage of offering cellular service in addition to land-locked business phone lines. Only national carriers could reach your employees on their mobile device.

4G and LTE networks changed everything. Suddenly data-based phone calls like the ones your teenager makes on Snapchat and Facebook Messenger were the same level of quality or better than traditional cellular service. This allowed VoIP providers to offer mobile apps with business-level quality as a part of their business phone services. The market was leveled, meaning there is currently no difference in capability between major telecoms and competitive local carriers. Both can reach your employees anywhere, inside or outside the office.

Mobility also changes the game for companies using SIP trunks. SIP is Internet-based phone service. It is modern telephony delivered at a fraction of the traditional price, but it requires on-premise equipment to route calls.

Mobile technology shifts the value to cloud-driven solutions since these are capable of managing all calls to business locations AND to any mobile device in the world. Mobile data telephony has essentially done what SIP did for the office but for the extended workplace.

Read our thorough comparison of these services.

Small Business Phone Systems Contracts with Major Telecoms Are Not Competitive

We refer to national carriers as “design services.” We call them that because they are obligated to design the telecom network including provisioning, equipment, and SEC tariffs. They support the copper and fiber in the ground.

You need to pay for the network when you buy Internet, but you don’t need to pay them twice for Internet AND for phone, especially when their phone service is so poor.

Why is their phone service poor? They are focused on the network, and they have a monopoly, giving little incentive to innovate. As a result, their phone software and services are outdated.

Think about cable television. More and more consumers are pulling the plug on cable because the customer experience is poor. Most would rather use their Internet to connect to Netflix or Youtube TV. In 2017, over 55 million Americans had either cut the cord or never installed it to begin with. And millions more join them every year.

We see the same trend in business phone solutions. Major carriers try to deliver according to an outdated model, which is pricier and delivers poor experience. More and more small businesses are switching.

Here’s why. PRI service can cost more than $800 monthly for a company with 20 or 30 phones. Add another $300 to that in monthly equipment upkeep, and your phone bill is pushing $1,100 or $1,200 per month, maybe more. The problem is not the cost; it’s the level of service. You are paying that money for poor functionality.

SIP contracts will be a big improvement over PRI in terms of cost effectiveness, but maintaining on-premise PBX and phones yourself often leads to similar service issues. The benefits are:

Benefits

  • Greater redundancy means better business continuity (Major telecoms only)
  • Cost benefit for SIP trunks

Drawbacks

  • Poor customer service (Major telecoms)
  • Expensive for what you get
  • Legacy equipment
  • Old software (Major telecoms)
  • High maintenance costs
  • Hard to scale or shrink

Full-Service Hosted Solutions

Having a hosted or cloud-based solution allows you to take full advantage of a truly centralized, professionally maintained communications center. Cloud solutions can scale up or down as you need them while offering free, consistent updates so your business phone platform stays on the bleeding edge of modern telecommunications.

Going with a competitive cloud-hosted business phone service, you could spend the same amount of money per month on a scalable, fully managed solution. This includes equipment, free upgrades and maintenance to that equipment, and white glove customer service.

Benefits

  • Valued customer
  • Exceptional customer service
  • Fully managed cloud solution
  • Advanced phone hardware that is maintained and replaced for you
  • Full warranty on equipment*
  • Moves phone from capital costs to continuing Operational Expense
  • Same monthly cost

Drawbacks

  • Less known brand
  • Less redundancy

*Some vendors incorporate “You break it; we buy it” policies into their contracts

We hope you have enjoyed our assessment of the small business phone market and hope you think a little differently about your phone contract. When you have been in the market as long as we have, it’s really clear when companies rely on brand and marketing to keep their profits up. But at the same time, it’s a customer’s responsibility to shop around every once in awhile. Thank you for taking the time and effort to learn more.

If you are located near Denver, CO, be sure to check out our hosted PBX before you renew your contract. You’d be amazed by how simple and affordable your phone service can be.

Convergence Solutions was incredibly helpful to me when I joined my firm. Convergence had long managed our Telecomm PBX and handset equipment so I turned to them to help our full office renovations. Once our immediate phone relocation and wiring needs were handled promptly and professionally by the Convergence team, I found we were using a variety of unrelated vendors to manage our voice, conference call, IP Phones, and internet services. It was clear there was a lot to improve upon in terms of service, price and quality with this confederacy of dunces, so I stopped to talk with Steve Solton about our overall communications infrastructure.  After a brief discussion, it was apparent Convergence were experts on more than just the PBX in my back room, they began to identify our network server and port issues, suggested solid state industry enhancements, AV Conferencing solutions and  much more.  We are implementing many of these ‘Convergence’ solutions presently, none of which are minor, but all which are being expertly handled.

Bob Conway
Kaplan Kirsch Rockwell

Why Convergence Cloud

Unlimited Calling

The telecom industry is moving too slowly. Why nickle-and-dime you over minutes when it’s all just data?

Convergence Cloud delivers unlimited local and long-distance calling. There are no additional charges for toll-free. Every one of our plans are inclusive with no additional items costs.

Friendly Customer Support Based in Denver

As a Denver business, we are in the neighborhood to support you as much or as little as you need. If VoIP is new to you, our service representatives can take you through the process, so you know your communications will go uninterrupted.

The Most Cost-Effective Telcom in the Industry