What is the process of changing to a cloud hosted telephone provider?
So, you’ve looked around and a Cloud Hosted Telephone System is a fit for your business, but what happens next, how do you make the change from one provider to another and what are the time scales involved? Here we take you through each step of the process for a typical system.
Before you place the order
Make sure you are certain that you have defined everything you need, typically this would involve;
- Checking you have all the numbers you need to transfer
- Check your internet connection is good enough for the size of system you need
- Make sure you have all the features you need
- Check your contract terms with the current provider
When you place the order
When placing the order your new provider will need to know all the numbers you need to transfer and will start working on planning the new system.
The main area that can cause problems at this stage is in the number porting from the old provider to the new one. Typically, this takes between 14 – 25 working days depending on the types of lines you are transferring and also the number of lines.
The new provider will come back with a port date from the loosing provider, and at this stage a new future date can be requested if not suitable for you.
You will need to provide the current billing address exactly as it is shown on your bills – even if the bill is wrong or the port will fail and need to be resubmitted. You may also need to provide copies of bills to prove they are yours.
When porting numbers you will need to include all the numbers that are linked together on the same service, for example if 3 numbers are linked by a BT Featureline system, all 3 need to be ported, or if there are 50 DDI’s on an ISDN30 service, all 50 have to be ported.
Planning the new system
When the new provider is waiting for the port, the new system will be commissioned and handsets ordered.
You need to ensure that you are happy the new provider understands how your current system works, if you are simply copying its setup, or working with them to design the new system, things to think about are:
- Providing them with a list of names
- Can they use your current extension numbers to make it easier?
- What are the office hours?
- What happens to calls when the office is closed?
- What are the departments / groups you require?
- What is the call flow when your number is called?
- What happens when a direct number is dialled and it’s busy / unanswered?
- Do you want voicemails on the phone / emailed to you, or both?
- How many rings before a call goes to voicemail?
Before the Port Date
Before the number port date, you’ll want to check with your new provider that:
- The port date has not changed
- The handsets are ordered
- Is an engineer coming to site to install the system?
- If installing the handsets yourself, will they arrive before the port date.
On the Port Date
On the day of the port the provider will typically have a 4-hour window in which the number port will take place.
Will you lose calls during this period? Think of the process as the same as switching mobile provider, there is a relatively short period between the service being turned off at one provider and being turned on at the new one. If porting a larger range of numbers, you may have some numbers ported before others, but there is no control over this.
Because of this port time being flexible most providers will put out all or some of the new desk phones alongside the old system. Calls will be able to be made from the new system immediately.
You can get this porting service to happen out of hours sometimes (depending on provider) but we don’t recommend it as if there are problems you’ll most likely need to wait for office hours before it can be resolved.
When your system is fully ported you’ll want to:
- Call all numbers you’ve ported to check they’re working and ring the expected phones/connect to the expected auto attendants or hunt groups.
- Call out of office hours to see that if you have a different call flow set up then you this is working
- Call quality is good and there is no echo or delay on the lines
We hope that gives you an overview of the process of transferring to a new cloud hosted phone provider, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask us.