Switching phone providers can be a hassle. That’s why most businesses stay with their current provider, even if they are not totally happy. But the good news is that there are better options. Asking a few key questions before deciding to make the switch can mean the difference between a smooth transition and weeks of frustration and lost business.

If you’re considering switching phone providers, take the time to ask these key questions before signing on the dotted line.

How will the business phones be installed at my office?

The phone installation experience is one of the main differences between business phone providers. Phone hardware may be mailed to you for you to self-install. If you already have VoIP compatible phones, you may need to reprogram your existing phones. Or, if you’ve ordered new phones from a local company, a technician may come onsite to set up your system.

Whatever option you choose, you’ll want to understand upfront how much you will need to be involved in the process and plan your time accordingly. Typically, lower price points or choosing national providers means that you’ll have to do some of the work yourself.

Do I have to set up the features and phone system options myself?

You’ll want understand up front what parts of the setup you’ll be required to do yourself. If you’re not an IT professional, setting up a phone system can come with a steep learning curve. Make sure that the phone provider has good support and can walk you through the setup. If they do the setup for you, find out how to make changes and adjustments after the fact. You don’t want to end up without support if you need to make changes.

voip phone with headset

Will I still be able to receive and make calls during the switchover?

Phone calls are likely vital to your business. You definitely won’t want to miss calls or not be able to make calls during a phone transition. Ask your prospective providers to explain how they will ensure you don’t miss any calls during the transition. A good provider will have a process for switching your phones over without you losing any calls. While installing new equipment may require momentary downtime, a good provider will know how to minimize the impact to your business. Ask if installation can be done at a time that’s most convenient for you. Some providers, like Vonix, will offer after hours or weekend onsite installations to cut down on interruptions.

What happens if things aren’t working right after installation?

Every business’ internet and technology setups are different, and the ways they integrate can cause unplanned issues. Because issues are possible, plan for it ahead of time.  There may need to be changes or bugs worked out as you use your new business phones in the real world.

When issues pop up, ideally you’ll be able to reach the same person you’ve worked with all along. You don’t want to have to sit on hold with a call center or have to explain the entire history or setup to a person you’ve never spoke with before. Make sure that the same team will be available to you before, during, and especially after the installation.

Do I have to wait for my phone number to port before being able to use my new system?

When changing providers, you will need to “port” your number, which simply means moving the phone numbers from your old provider to the new one. Your new provider will not be able to completely control the timing of when your phone numbers port. However, there are several work-arounds to ensure that you can be up and working on the new system, even before your phone number ports. You don’t want to be waiting around for days for a phone number to port after your new system is installed, or worse — have your number port before your new system is up and running.

Ready to switch to a phone provider that better meets your needs? Chat or call Vonix to see how we can work with your business.