Top tips to help charities future proof their telephone system (Guest Post)

| 6th Oct 14

In this guest post, Pauline Goring of The Deer Initiative gives us an insight into how the charity managed an upgrade from a simple telephone line to a Hosted Voice solution for its 9 users; both office and home based.

Tip One: Avoid Short Termism

If you just look at set up costs and combine them with first year projected operating costs then you’re in danger of going with what ‘looks like’ the cheapest supplier.  Take the time and effort to look beyond even a two year plan!

And don’t be put off doing this by the fact that your charity is funded on annually reviewed grants.  Have confidence in your future and plan for it now.

Tip Two: Look at the Cloud

We had no idea you could utilise the internet to improve your telephone system – once we had undertaken our own research we quickly realised what was possible and moved ahead, getting suppliers to plug the knowledge gap.

Tip Three:  Decide on your Telephone Essentials

For us, we needed to streamline our telephone operations.  We needed to be in regular contact with our homeworkers and transfer calls seamlessly between their home and our office.  We now do this simply with good call quality.

Tip Four: Know the Risks

Pull together a full risk assessment of what you’re undertaking – look at what you’re in control of and what you won’t be in control of.

You have to understand what you risk by moving from your current setup to your new proposed solution.  The process made us plan for every communication contingency.

Tip Five: Vet your Suppliers

When we initiated the project, we asked a local supplier to quote. However, when we took a longer term view, we opted to go with Class, despite them not being local to us.  Whilst their sets up costs were higher, they worked out cheaper in the long run.