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5 Questions You Want To Ask Yourself (And Your Vendor) Before Purchasing A Professional Phone System For Your Business

professional telephone system

There are many options available to you when purchasing a professional telephone system.

And there are many companies out there that want you to purchase your professional phone solutions from them.

So – how do you make sure you are getting the best phone system for your business AND make sure that you are working with a company that puts your interests first?

We’ve put together a list of 5 of the top questions you should ask yourself when it comes to a professional telephone system and the telephone service providers that install them for your business.

5 Questions You Want To Ask Yourself  Before Purchasing A Professional Telephone System

1. What are your 5 year total costs for the system?

This is an important question that is often overlooked when purchasing a professional telephone system. There are many factors that impact total cost but typically there are two different types of systems that you are taking into consideration.

Within those two options there are different options and models but the key difference is where the majority of the hardware exists.

In a hosted or cloud based phone system, you don’t have equipment in the office. Instead it is ‘hosted’ in the cloud. You simply have phones that you plug into the network.

With an on premises solution, your professional telephone system and equipment exist in your office. Most of the time this is in a ‘box’ mounted in your IT closet.

The reason the distinction between these two is important is because they have different costs associated with them.

With hosted VoIP you are essentially paying every month for service to the phones and the software that allows inbound and outbound calls to your network.

With an on premises system, you buy the hardware up front and you pay for telephone lines (POTS lines) to give you connectivity.

To look at costs for each type of system you’ll want to consider recurring monthly service charges, hardware costs and service/maintenance costs.

NOTE: when considering a hosted VoIP phone system, make sure that you find out what your taxes will be each month. Many times, these rates are not included in quotes and can add on hundreds of dollars to your monthly costs.

2. Who owns the equipment?

When it comes to any hardware you are using at the office, it is important to figure out who actually owns the equipment.

With an on premises option, you buy the hardware up front and install it. You own it. Simple as that.

If you choose to go with a hosted solution, you want to look into who actually owns the equipment. Many times, you are renting the phones you use from your service provider. Even if you are only paying $25.00 per phone per month, multiply that out over a year and look at how much you’ve paid to rent out phones you don’t own.

On top of that, if you ever want to switch providers or decide you want to purchase an on premises system, you have to give the phones back and start from scratch. All that money spent on renting equipment is out the door with nothing to show for it.

3. Who is going to help you service your telephone equipment?

Things break – unfortunate but true. So when you are having issues with your phone system, who will you call to come out and service it? How long will it take for technicians to get to your issues? Do you have a dedicated team or is it just whoever is available? Do they offer emergency service?

These are all questions you’ll want to ask anyone proposing their phone solution to you. All too often, business owners are sold on phone solutions that have no local service providers for technical issues.

Different technology vendors work with specific types of systems and you want to make sure you are buying a system that you can get serviced professionally and promptly.

4. Will the telephone solution grow with your business?

Each telephone system has its own list of features and compatibilities. But each one also has specific capabilities when it comes to scaling.

There are specific hardware components in phone systems that limit the number of telephones, calls or mailboxes you can set up at any one time.

If you are purchasing a system today but plan to add a call center next year, you want to make sure that you talk to your vendor about that before you purchase. That way, you can make sure that your solution is capable of that type of growth.

Not only that, depending on your business model and needs, you’ll also want to make sure that you choose a telephone system that best suits your day to day practices which brings us to our fifth question.

5. Does this phone system offer all of the features and functions you need?

Every business has its own needs when it comes to phones. Some are very simple and others are more complex. If you use your phones the way many small to midsized business do, all you’re looking for is a connection, some basic functionality (receptionist phone, easily transfer calls, put people on hold, maybe a conference phone for conference calls etc.).

At the same time, you may have a sales team that is constantly on the road which means you’d like the ability to transfer calls to your cell phone, voicemail-email set up, voicemail to text set up. You may want direct extensions or maybe when an inbound sales call comes in you want every sales person’s phone to ring until someone picks up.

The list of features goes on and on. And that doesn’t even include third party applications that integrate security, presence management and more.

Make sure you are working with a vendor that can help guide you and manage the different functions and features on the market.

Request a Consultation

A Professional Telephone System can be complex but it definitely doesn’t have to be.

If you’re in the right hands with a vendor who makes it a priority to get to know your business and your needs, most of these questions can be answered without an issue.

If you’re thinking about adding to your phone system, switching to a different type of system or you know you need something new but don’t know where to start, our account managers are ready and more than willing to help guide you through the process.

Take the first step and give us a call at the office (815) 836-0030 or fill out the form below and request a phone call with our team.