Cheaper is not always the best way forward for businesses, and here’s why…

cheaper is not always better in the long run

Cheaper is not always the best way forward for businesses, and here’s why…

I manage a few large local businesses, in Melbourne. I have at any time many staff to account for. We recently decided to replace an existing phone system in one of my businesses I manage, as the old system was no longer meeting our needs. I and my co-workers were under the impression that they were going to update the system, to “make an improvement”, and that we would have late model phones with technological advancements galore.

A few weeks ago we all came into the office to find new phones on our desks, but these were not the state-of-the-art communication devices we had in mind. Instead of the sleek, sophisticated, caller IDing, multi-line handling, LCD displaying makes of the modern world we all dreamed of, there was a simple phone with a keypad on the receiver…not unlike what you might have had at home 15 years ago.

Now we have to enter a digit to put someone on hold, enter a three digit code to transfer someone (one digit, dial tone, two digits) and enter a ridiculously long series of numbers to access our voicemail.

Needless to say, we were not happy. I knew it wouldn’t be long and the staff would complain, and sure enough, by lunchtime our office keeper came in to tell everyone that we were simply going to “try it out for a while” and that the company had saved thousands by choosing this option. I and others were fairly certain that we had already lost thousands in reduced productivity that morning alone.

For the next few days, we all tried to get used to saying “hold, please, while I transfer you”, removing the receiver from our faces and trying not to curse as we made an attempt at pressing the right keys, listening and pressing more keys. It was a nightmare and the staff were really peeved. We got pretty fed up pretty fast, but we just assumed that this was what we would have to deal with. Then, out of the blue, we came in one day to find real phones with real features at our desks. No more looking at the receiver while we frantically tried to key in numbers fast enough not to drop the call. Ahhhh, we thought relief at last.

Apparently the business owner returned from holidays to find this new phone on his desk and immediately said “get rid of them all!” All it took were those words from the owner and things got set up right again.

But why were they there in the first place, to save money.

So the office keeper regretted their decision pretty fast, and I’m glad to say we are all back to normal.

So when you are thinking about saving money in your business, think through the other people who will be affected by those decisions, and is it really worth the trouble?


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