Things to Consider Before You Buy Your Small Business Phone System

Before you choose your small business phone system, there are some key things to consider before making your final choice. Although the new technology is sure to provide your business with a professional image and a streamlined way of communicating, having the best system possible for your particular business is going to be key to a successful implementation. You need to choose a phone system that takes many factors into consideration including cost of ownership as well as future growth of the company and what that could mean for the system that you are considering purchasing.

Ease of use is an important factor for any small business phone system. For the average office worker or employee, having to figure out complex technology only takes time from their normal duties and can often create frustration. This is why the phones and any software associated with the phone system should be reviewed in a lab type environment provided by the vendor. This way you can interact with a hands on approach to identify any issues before purchase.

You’ll also want to look at the reliability of the system. New technology doesn’t do you any good if it isn’t up and operational. Communication is the cornerstone for any business and without it you are potentially losing revenue as well as customer confidence. Do some research on the manufacturer to insure that they produce a solid product that you can rely upon. There are well known names in the industry that are synonymous with quality and taking a little time in the beginning could potentially save you a lot of money later.

Future growth is often left out of business phone system decisions which can end up costing you a lot more money in the future. You will often get the best price on the initial purchase and you should take advantage of this whenever possible. If you only have 20 users now but anticipate having 50 in two years, it might be in your best interest to purchase the capacity for those 50 future users now. At the very least, you need to make sure that the phone system can at some point be upgraded to allow for the largest number of users you expect to have over the next 5 to 7 years. If you find that the number of users doubles in 3 years and your phone system can’t handle this increase in volume, you’ll need to make another large investment 3 years later.

Whenever possible, insure that the phone system is designed in its entirety by the same manufacturer. Often when technologies from different manufacturers are merged together, factors are introduced that make the solution more complex and difficult to maintain. The one vendor might offer 24/7 support, but a manufacturer that is responsible for one of the smaller components may not, thus you’re not really getting round the clock support on the entire solution. When a manufacturer such as Nortel or Avaya designs the complete solution, their equipment is designed to work well together and has been tested for performance and reliability. Using components from different manufacturers is supposed to work in theory but often falls short of the reliability and supportability that you might expect from a system that is designed to work together out of the box.

Once you’ve purchased your new small business phone system, how much is it going to cost you to operate on a daily basis? The initial purchase price may be nothing compared to the long term cost of owning the system over the long term. Support and maintenance should be discussed and purchased if possible to minimize additional costs for hardware failure and needed changes to the system. This is particularly important if you lack an internal IT department. You need your employees focused on your business not on IT support.

The vendor you purchase your small business phone system from should have a solid reputation. Buying a phone system is not an inexpensive proposition and you need the assurance that they are familiar and proficient with the technology in question. You should ask a lot of questions and make sure you feel comfortable with their answers before you sign on the dotted line. You also want to make sure that the vendor has been around for awhile and will be there in the future. This is particularly important in the case of purchased maintenance and support. It won’t do you much good to have maintenance from a company that no longer exists or closes up shop.

A small business phone system is a good decision for your business and can boost your company’s image while making your company competitive with bigger organizations. By evaluating your company’s current and future telecommunications needs, you’ll be prepared to make the best possible decision on a reliable and technologically advanced business phone system.