Many businesses invest in a VoIP business phone system to reduce costs and boost productivity and collaboration. But take note: Transitioning to unified communications (UC) is just the first step in an ongoing journey.

In any organization, and with all technologies, change is a constant. Businesses grow. They adapt to new market conditions and emerging opportunities. They hire new employees and promote or transfer others. At the same time, technology advances. Your “new” phone system is enhanced with upgrades and additional features. It boils down to this: There’s never an end state—for your business or your technology.

That’s why companies should routinely evaluate whether they’re getting as much as possible from their business phone system.

Start by making it a habit to ask questions. Has usage remained steady, or fallen off in the months since deployment? Are employees aware of newly added features? Do they use the system wisely? Is it still meeting your business needs a year after rollout? Two years after? Three?

Then, use these best practices to keep your business moving toward effective use:

Future-proof the solution with 5 best practices

Survey users: Find out what users like and dislike. You may uncover that areas of frustration stem from a lack of training. For example, some users may not know how to use video conferencing and screen sharing, so they don’t fully benefit from UC’s collaboration features. Remote workers may need guidance on mobile device usage, including call routing and Find Me features that make them always available to colleagues and clients.

Promptly address problems with additional training and information sharing.

Conduct regular audits: An audit is an opportunity to reassess your business phone system. Items to check include overall performance, usage and quality. Are calls automatically routed to the right place? If not, system administrators may need to revisit any directories that have been set up to ensure they’re up to date and properly implemented. If your company has grown and call quality is suffering, you may need to increase bandwidth.

Conduct audits at least once a year to ensure your system meets the current demands of your organization. 

Monitor users in real time: The best way to learn whether employees are using the system correctly is to watch them use it. Look for areas that can be streamlined or may require additional training. You may discover your workers are wasting time by not using the phone system’s presence feature. Are they checking the status of co-workers to determine the best way to reach them? If an employee is out of the office, have they set their status appropriately?

Communicate the importance of actively using these and other features to improve productivity. 

Review call logs/analytics: One of the benefits of a unified communications business phone system is the ability to record all its activity. Customizable reports enable businesses to track and analyze data in various ways. For example, monitor customer service calls for length, efficiency and proper use of customer data. Or, track the availability of sales reps.

This data will help you make sure the entire business is using the system in the most efficient and powerful way possible. 

Be aware of innovations: It can be difficult to stay up-to-date on the latest advances in unified communications. The solution? Choose a vendor that handles this for you. Look for a provider with a history of innovation and a flexible system that supports your business today—coupled with the ability to meet your future goals. 

You’ve made an investment in your business phone system, but its true value lies in proper use. Make the time to ensure employees are well-educated about the system and know how to use it effectively for their job. At regular intervals, take a step back and confirm the system still meets your needs.

Organizations that follow these guidelines set themselves up to reap the full benefits that a VoIP business phone system offers.

Considering a brand new communications system? Whether you're an enterprise or a small-to-medium business, check out the steps you should follow.

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Digital transformation has become a top initiative for business and IT leaders. In today’s business world, sustainable market leadership is no longer based solely on which company has the best products or even the best people. Instead, organizations that are agile and can quickly adapt to rapidly evolving market trends will become market leaders.

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