In part one of our blog series, How to Find Your Next Phone System, we explored how features and functions play a large role in the search for the right phone system for your company. And, we discussed how what works for your competitors’ businesses may not be right for your business. In this blog, we’ll discuss why usability and easy maintenance are critical factors to consider when purchasing a business phone system.

Challenge Two: Maintenance and Usability

The telephone service industry used to sell business phone systems knowing that it was such a specialized device they would be back time and time again for all sorts of add-on work. If someone needed a phone moved from one desk to another, they would say, “Sure, we can do that for you for $150.” Or, if someone needed to assign a phone to a new employee, that would be another $150. If a customer wanted to alter how or where their calls were directed during holidays, the phone company would say, “We can send someone onsite to set that up for you for $75/hour.”

Sadly, in today’s marketplace, there are still voice vendors and manufacturers who operate under a similar process. Administration menus are difficult to access or not available to the end customer, keeping them from being able to make quick updates to their system and requiring them to be reliant on their telecom vendor. The legacy model works great for additional revenue for your installer and the manufacturer, but it’s not a wonderful choice for most businesses.

In a world where mobile apps, web services, and click-to-build web-based applications are the norm, it makes sense that most business-critical applications, appliances, or servers follow suit with graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that are designed to ease administration and guide even non-tech personnel to make simple moves, adds, changes, and more.

Why should you bother with self-service and internal (or partner provided) maintenance? Aside from the fact that new features, functions, and enhancements are often available to phone systems these days, it can save your business countless hours of missed opportunities waiting for a vendor to respond or resolve an issue. And every savvy business manager and owner knows that time is money.

The most cost-effective phone system solutions are those that utilize smart GUIs through a website or dedicated application so that even non-telephony managers can easily make simple changes to the way the phone system operates. Re-assigning a phone or extension from one desk to another, for example, shouldn’t take a team of engineers or a few hours of wait time for a vendor to become available to make the change. Unified Communications (UC) solutions do require experts to design and initially configure, however, the day-to-day operations and common chores that can nibble at your bottom line should be easily managed in-house.


A great example of a UC solution designed to be easy to administer is our very own Switchvox platform. From the easy-to-navigate, browser-based interface to the built-in help system, it makes it clear that the nickel-and-dime vendor support model is outdated and ultimately unnecessary for most business solutions.

In the final part of this blog series, we’ll explore why choosing between cloud and on-premise phone system deployments is a huge factor in today’s Unified Communications buying process and how choosing the correct solution deals with more than just the upfront and ongoing costs.

For 8 specific tips about finding a phone system that is easy to use and maintain, check out this blog.