Once you get your business phone system solid and running just the way you want it to for the company, you probably aren’t going to have too much go wrong with it, but things do happen from time to time, so it’s good to know what you’re getting into when that occurs. We’re going to address most of the issues that you will run into in this post and provide some real solutions that you can employ to resolve it.
With this knowledge, you may not ever have to call your service provider or carrier because it’s possible to solve it yourself. Keep in mind that this applies to a virtual phone system, although much of this can also be applied to conventional systems, as well.
Forwarding Phones Not Ringing
This can have a variety of different causes, and like many similar problems, it can either be the fault of your service provider, or the carrier of an individual phone. If none of your forwarding phones are ringing, then the problem likely lies with your own system, such as a setting error in your system that you can remedy by logging into your online dashboard and checking your settings.
It’s also possible, though uncommon, that a forwarding phone number has been input incorrectly which obviously wouldn’t let any calls go through to that phone. There is also something that many users don’t consider, and that is that you’re simply not getting any calls but assume that you are and something is blocking them from getting through.
Users frequently call their service providers and claim that something is wrong because they understandably want to preemptively address a potential problem, but they are actually just not getting as many calls to the business as they expected during that time.
If you have a single phone that is not ringing, then the most likely cause is with that phone’s carrier, as well as possible user error by the owner of the forwarding phone that isn’t getting calls. That phone’s carrier may be experiencing an outage, or the phone (if a cell phone) temporarily has no signal at the time of the call.
Your best bet is to first check all of your settings in your online control panel, and if the issue persists, contact the phone’s carrier. Then if they can’t resolve it, call your virtual service provider to see what they can do to resolve it.
Callers Are Unable to Leave a Voicemail
When callers complain of being unable to leave you a voicemail, it’s usually not a serious problem and pretty easily solvable. An important question that you will want to ask yourself when this happens is if it is an isolated incident, or if multiple callers are complaining of the problem.
The first thing you want to do is try and replicate the problem. Place a few test calls to your system from a phone not associated with your system (non-forwarding phone) and attempt to leave a voicemail, to verify that there really is a problem.
Chances are, if only one person made the complaint, it’s probably due to user error on the caller’s end. For example, that caller may have hung up prematurely, before they got to your voicemail prompt, or possibly selected the wrong option from your call menu. They may have also lost signal on their phone before they reached voicemail.
If you confirm that there is a legitimate problem by doing test calls, then you can do some quick troubleshooting. Is the voice mailbox full? If so, be sure to delete at least some messages and test it again to see if that was it. There is also commonly a configuration error in your control panel that you can verify by logging into your dashboard and, again, checking all of your settings. Many of these issues can be fixed directly from your own dashboard.
Silence on the Line While On Hold
It’s obviously not good when the caller hears silence on the line at any point when they call your business because they’ll either think there’s a problem, or that they’ve been disconnected. First, check your online dashboard to make sure on-hold music or audio messages are set to play at the correct times, and also check your audio files to be sure they aren’t just a recording full of silence.
This can also be an issue with the caller’s phone carrier, which is especially probable if the silence occurs immediately when they call in. There could be a different problem if the silence happens during a transfer. That is, when a caller complains of silence on the line during the time when you transfer their live call to another department or employee, it could be an error by the employee transferring the call, which can happen when transferring calls to certain destinations.
This particular issue is probably not something you can do much for on your own, and it’s good to contact your service provider as soon as you become aware of it. They will be able to pinpoint the cause and get rid of the silence on the line.
Excessive Spam Callers
Receiving solicitation or unwanted calls in any form is possibly the most common complaint of businesses regarding their phone system. This can be robo-calls, telemarketers, wrong numbers, and other types, all of which can be relentless and seriously disruptive for a business.
There are a few things you can do to take action against this to at least greatly reduce the number of unwanted calls. The first thing you’ll probably want to do is to add all of the numbers to your “blocked” list with your virtual provider.
With a Talkroute system, for example, you can do this yourself just by logging into your dashboard and going to the “blocked numbers” section. The next thing is a measure you should always take, even if you’re not getting any solicitation calls, is to place your business number(s) on the national Do Not Call Registry. That move, alone, will significantly reduce the number of telemarketing calls that you’ll get.
If you like, you can also add an automated call menu to your system to screen all calls that come in. As a robo-caller cannot select an option from your menu, it will definitely help with those. Finally, you can make a list of all the phone numbers from which the calls are coming, and then contact them directly to tell them to put you on their own do-not-call list.
Poor Sound Quality During Calls
This problem can be tough to diagnose at first, but there are certainly measures you can take to improve it. Not only can bad sound quality be annoying, it can also cause you to lose sales.
One thing to note is that anytime a VoIP connection is involved, there is always potential for poor quality, either on the caller’s end, or withe the forwarding phone on your end. As VoIP works over an Internet connection, the fluctuation of the connection strength and variable available bandwidth can easily affect sound quality during calls.
If one of your forwarding phones is a landline, then any interference or bad wiring within the line can result in poor quality. If the caller, or your forwarding phone has weak signal strength during the time the call is taking place, then that can also cause it.
This is simultaneously one of the most frustrating and ubiquitous problems experienced by individuals and businesses, alike. In our world today, as telecom is driven by mostly cellular technology, there’s currently no 100% effective solution to dropped calls, unfortunately. It just happens from time to time.
The “handoff” between cell towers is usually the most likely suspect when someone on the call happens to be driving at the time. If the customer calling you, for example, is driving as they speak to you on their cell phone, the call has to be traded between cell towers as they go out of range with one tower, and enter the range of the next tower. Though it usually works just fine, this commonly results in a dropped call during the handoff.
If the caller or receiver using a cell phone is in a dead zone or weak signal area, that will cause calls to drop, too, and sometimes the cellular network just becomes overloaded. You also shouldn’t overlook the fact that the actual device being used can cause calls to drop, such as a broken antenna or other hardware component in the device.
So, as you can see, there are a lot of things you can do on your own to troubleshoot and solve common problems with your business phone system. If you find it to be frustrating or see that you won’t be able to resolve it yourself, then you can always contact your provider and have them bring you to a solution.
Not everybody is good with technology, but you can at least use this as a guide, a first line of defense against phone system issues.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.