3 Stories of Phone-Related Business Disasters (and How VoIP Could Have Helped)

Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]

3 Stories of Phone-Related Business Disasters (and How VoIP Could Have Helped)Most of the time phones work fine, and we tend to take them for granted until there is a problem. Then a tree falls across phone lines, taking them down, or perhaps an exploding transformer renders landlines unusable.

If you use traditional landline phones in your business and the phone system fails, you could lose a lot of money and customer goodwill as well. In many cases, a VoIP phone system can reroute calls and keep your business from being cut off from the rest of the world.

Here are three real-world cases of phone failures and how they may have been averted had VoIP systems been used instead.

1. Morganton, NC: Burke County Department of Social Services Phones Fail

In January 2012, a server controlling the Burke County Department of Social Services’ phone system failed, resulting in all calls to the DSS being unable to get through. The phone system normally handles up to 1,000 calls per day, so the phone system failure affected many county residents as well as DSS workers.

Burke County commissioners looked at the incident as an opportunity to replace the phone system used by the county government and appropriated over $200,000 to cover equipment costs and installation of the new VoIP system. The old phone system was “outdated and reaching the end of its life,” according to the county’s IT director, so the system failure should ultimately result in better phone service throughout the county government operations.

2. Climatemakers, Ltd. Of Virginia: Landlines Immobilized by a Power Failure

In 2007, a Virginia Beach heating and cooling company, Climatemakers, suffered  from a power failure that took down their phone system. During the phone failure, the company’s internet service continued to function properly, so customers were able to email their service requests.

Technicians were dispatched based on email communications, and the cell phones used by service technicians remained functional. Technicians were able to contact customers who had emailed service requests to the company, and business was able to continue to the greatest extent possible.

In situations such as this one, a VoIP system would have remained functional, even while service was out for regular landline phones.

3. Jackson Township, NJ: An Aging System with Increasing Problems

A creaky, outdated phone system used by Jackson Township, New Jersey finally got the boot in September 2012, after callers experienced increasing problems when calling city officials at the town hall. The township’s Information Technology Committee Chairman, Robert Hudak, told Tri-Town News that the system was antiquated and was “one breath away from catastrophic failure.”

The decision was made to upgrade to a VoIP system, which is expected to fix the longstanding communications problems and save Jackson around $700 per month on its phone bill. The system will connect the police department as well as town offices, and will have a host of new features that were unavailable with the old phone system.

VoIP systems allow easy rerouting of calls when there is a problem, as public safety officials in St. Louis Park, Minnesota found out in 2011. The city’s public safety answering points, or PSAPs were rerouted through the neighboring city of Minnetonka after a construction crew accidentally cut the fiber optic cables connected to St. Louis Park’s municipal phone system. There was only a 30 minute lapse in service, which was “fantastic for an unplanned event,” according to St. Louis Park’s PSAP Manager.

Businesses and government entities everywhere are switching to VoIP as current legacy phone systems near the end of their useful lifecycles, and this switchover increases options for working around phone outages and saving money in almost every case.

Photo Credit: Leonid Mamchenkov

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