Unfortunately, a lot of companies get suckered into buying an overpriced, complicated phone system simply because they didn’t know all of the options available to them, or simply because they didn’t know how to ask the right questions when interviewing phone vendors.
With so many choices, it can be very difficult to make an educated decision without spending days or weeks researching all of the vendors and options you have. Here are a few tips to help you make the absolute best decision when buying a new phone system.
- Before you buy a system, make sure you have answers to the following questions to plan ahead for future needs:
- How many new employees do you think you will hire over the next 5 years?
- Will you have remote offices or employees working from home?
- Do you think you will open other branches in the future?
- Do you need the ability to do call reporting or call accounting?
- Look for a system that will allow you to add new features and expand your system later on at virtually no additional cost. A good question to ask your vendor is, “If we decide to add these features later on, what will it cost us in total hardware, software, and services?”
- Consider buying an “open” phone system. A truly open system is one that will work with the equipment you already own or plan to purchase later on including phone headsets, toll fraud equipment, or tabletop conferencing equipment. Otherwise, you’ll be locked into buying that vendor’s equipment only, forcing you to pay top-dollar. How do you know if the system you are buying is truly an open system? Make sure it:
- Works with off-the-shelf, standard telephones.
- Runs on an industry standard operating system (such as Microsoft Windows).
- Can easily be maintained in-house (change extensions, add or delete users, change features) by end-users with a graphical user interface software.
- Can interface seamlessly with off-the-shelf software applications such as customer management and sales force automation without the need for complex programming.
- Will work with any other phone equipment you purchase.