Spring has sprung! As an educator, you know what that means. End of year testing and festivities are fast approaching. As the school year comes to a close, now more than ever is a great time to audit your current phone system.
An effective phone system can make a big difference in the efficiency of your front office as well as district offices. And we all know, office staff have a LOT on their plate.
Maximizing the potential of your school phone system means so much more with a cloud-based phone system than with an antiquated phone system. Read on to learn the key questions you should ask when assessing your current phone system as well as key features to look for in a new phone system and phone system provider.
Assess Your Current School Phone System
The first step to take when considering a school phone system upgrade is to assess your current system. Take a moment to figure out what your system does great and what needs some work. Talk to your employees and find out what they like or dislike about the current set-up. When you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current phone system, you can better understand what you are looking for in a new phone system.
If you are unsure what questions to ask in order to assess your phone system, you can start with these:
- Is our current school phone system reliable? Have we experienced any dropped calls or other issues?
- Does our current phone system meet the needs of our school? Does it allow us to communicate effectively with parents, staff, and students?
- Are we able to receive and make calls efficiently and effectively? Is there any lag time or delays?
- Does our current phone system have useful features such as enhanced voicemail features, call transfer, and an automated attendant?
- Is our school phone system user-friendly? Are staff members able to use it without difficulty?
- Is our phone system cost-effective? Are we paying more than necessary for the features we need?
- Are we able to scale our phone system to meet the needs of our growing school?
- Is your current school phone system 911 compliant? Is your solution working with you to provide a safe environment to all in your district?
By asking these questions, you can identify areas where your current school phone system may fall short and make informed decisions about upgrading or making changes.
Choosing the Right School Phone System Provider
Once you have made the decision to upgrade your phone system, your work is not over. You now need to decide which provider you would like to work with. This decision is vital to your satisfaction with your new phone system. So how do you pick the best provider for your needs?
Some items to consider include:
- Size of provider. Working with a nation-wide “big” provider can be difficult. With the customer service be subpar because they have more clients than their customer service department can handle? Often a smaller, local provider can be the better option.
- Products and Services Offered. Not all providers offer the same products and services. This is where the pre-assessment of your current phone system can be beneficial. If you know what you are looking for, you can easily cross off providers that don’t fit your needs.
- Reliability. The network that supports your phone system needs to be reliable. Your providers will be happy to supply you with information regarding their network reliability.
- Pricing. Another key factor to consider is pricing of the phone system. While a cloud-based phone system is generally less expensive than a traditional phone system, it is still important to compare prices amongst providers.
Features to Look for in School Phone Systems
There are several features of modern phone systems that can streamline the workday.
- Enhanced Voicemail Features. During peak hours, your office fields several incoming calls at once. It’s undeniable that some of these calls will be sent to voicemail. The great news is that the voicemail-to-email feature will turn these voicemails into…you guessed it.. Emails! Office workers can quickly read through emails to determine which of the messages need priority. Not only that, but users are also able to retrieve and manage their voicemails from any Internet connection with the web portal!
- Call Transfer. Most calls into a school will come through the main office. In “the olden days,” staff would need to take a message and give a call back if the intended recipient was not standing in the office waiting for the call. Modern phone systems have a call transfer feature. This allows the person who answers the phone to direct the call to the correct extension quickly. The great news is Call Transfer features with a new phone system provide ease-of-use with more efficiency for reception and staff.
- Automated Attendant. It may be hard to believe but auto attendants are now standard with many cloud-based phone systems. When a stakeholder is calling in to the school, the auto attendant can filter the caller to the correct extension without disrupting the workflow of your office staff. Auto attendants can also be programmed to supply quick answers to frequently asked questions. The auto attendant feature has easily programmable key functions, day/night/holiday greetings, dial by name directory, and is multi-tier capable to name a few.
Please work with your provider to learn what features they provide that can benefit your educational institution beyond these few features. Many providers, like Crocker Communications, offer an extensive list of features that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your school staff.
Not Just A Provider, A Partner
Your school phone system is a critical tool for effective communication and collaboration among staff, parents, and students.
By assessing your current system, identifying your school’s needs, and choosing the right phone system provider with the right features, you can maximize the potential of your phone system.
Crocker’s cloud-based phone system can streamline your office workflows, improve call quality and reliability, and save you money on maintenance costs.
Don’t hesitate to explore the many benefits of upgrading your school phone system today! Give us a call today to learn more or get started.