With the advances in technology in the past few years, you may be a small, medium or large sized business that has employees who are working remotely. Mobile devices and the internet allow business team members to communicate using text, voice, video or email. Your workforce also has the ability to utilize business applications, access large amounts of data and contact customers by simply using a smartphone. If your company is shopping for a business phone plan, you'll need to compare different types of cell phone plans and carriers so that you can find a combination that suits the requirements of your business.
1 - Determine How Your Business Team Uses Smartphones
The type of plan that your business will need is unique to your location, staff and communication habits. Do the people in your business who use smartphones prefer to communicate via text messages, email or by talking?
You may be a business that only requires flip phones and a basic wireless plan. If the members of your business team are usually working in your local area, a service that has more bells and whistles may not be needed.
You will need to decide if each employee should even have a smartphone. If they'll need access to data, it will probably be best if they carry a smartphone with them. A 4G LTE service can be quite useful for sales personnel who need to access customer data, product information or their itinerary while they are traveling.
One important factor to consider when choosing a mobile plan for your business is knowing how far coverage is for your area. If your team members start roaming into areas outside of access points for your wireless plan, it may cost more due to minute by minute charges.
2 - Is Security An Issue?
If your business handles any type of sensitive data, will team members need to access that data when they are out in the field? Security can be a major issue. It must be considered when your business is choosing a provider.
It's important that you have the ability to protect all of your data. You should have the authority to totally wipe the information off of a business cell phone when the device is lost. In addition, it is important to have control of your equipment so that when an employee leaves your company, their phone can be wiped clean as well.
3 - Seeking Out Carriers For Business Customers
If you have a small business with just a few employees, it may be better to focus on getting a consumer-based service, but typically, most businesses will find that these type of plans are not suitable for their needs.
As a business, you may require just one or most of the options listed below:
- Unlimited options for data, text and voice
- Multiple devices and lines at zero additional cost
- Specific or widespread coverage for employees who work internationally
- A reduction in the cost for this service when a higher number of devices or lines are used
The carriers who cater to businesses will have sales personnel who understand the requirements that are needed for non consumer plans.
4 - Utilizing A National Or Local Carrier
You have a couple of choices if you decide to use a national carrier. While many businesses go that route, you may decide to choose a regional or local service provider that is conducting business in your area.
Smaller local providers may have lower rates on their data and voice packages. In addition, a local carrier may have a service that can be personalized to your needs. If your team stays in one main location, you may find some incentive to use a carrier that is local.
Typically, you can check the coverage area maps for each carrier. If your employees will be spending time in cities that have sparse coverage, you will probably end up with spotty service and get stuck with roaming charges on the data that is used and calls that are made. This would probably have a negative effect on the budget for your cell phone use.
5 - Consider Bundling And Negotiate
Bundling can often provide a convenient way to reduce expenses when your business also requires other connectivity or landlines. Similar to a consumer plan, a carrier may offer internet services and TV to your business if you bundle it with your phone service.
Another important aspect to consider is the type of devices that are offered by a carrier. The phones that are chosen for conducting business should be sturdy and easy to use. You definitely don't want frustrated team members who are constantly trying to operate their devices with no success.
Whoever is in charge of making the decision for purchasing the devices should spend some time evaluating reviews of each model that are offered so that a device with poor quality doesn't slip through. It should never be assumed that a model of phone will last longer or be more reliable due to its higher cost when compared to another phone model.
When choosing a carrier, don't be afraid to negotiate. While it used to be useless to haggle, it's now worth pursuing. If you are a new business customer to a carrier, they may provide you with discounts, lower rates on additional lines or an upgrade to new smartphones that are introduced. Make a list of concessions and features that would be important for your business and be sure to ask for them.