Simplify Your Phone System Buying Process
Even though getting a phone system sounds so simple in theory, it turns out to be a nightmare when you finally get around to doing it. With so many suppliers, models, features and technology available, it’s easier for some to just close their eyes, pick one and hope for the best. If you are having trouble upgrading or getting a new system, the rule is to keep it simple. Remove all the information overload from your brain and focus on the simple things.
Number of outside lines
How many people are going to need outside lines? After figuring that out, count the number of extensions that you need for modems, fax machines, credit card terminals and other devices. If you have less than 10 people in your office, lucky you. You can just get an off-the-shelf system. These are very affordable and easy to install. If you have 40 or more, it’s time to consider getting a PBX. Because technology is so advanced now, you can get a PBX for the price of a small business system. There are many suppliers that have special PBX packages that are designed for small businesses.
You should also take into consideration the equipment that you already have. They should be compatible with the system you are looking to buy. To be sure whether they are compatible or not, ask your supplier to audit your current equipment. They will be the best ones to decide about this matter.
If you see growth in your future, better prepare for that by getting an expandable system. You also need to be aware of the changes that may come in your company and how they will affect your requirements for a phone system. Remember that planning for the future is always a good strategy in any company, whether big or small. Consider getting a flexible expandable system if you plan to add staff or add another office.
Home workers, multi-sites and mobile workers
If you have home workers, a VoIP is a good choice. It is easy to install and manage. A good broadband connection is all you need. You also don’t need expensive equipment to send and receive calls. You can just use your computer and a soft phone to get started.
VoIP will also give you free calls between your sites. This is a great cost-savings for companies that have several branches.
If you have mobile workers, consider hooking up their smartphones or tablets to your network. This way, they will still have a business number and keep their personal numbers separate from work.
On a budget?
Why not rent a system or buy a second hand one? Check out companies that sell refurbished phone systems. This is a good way to save money and check if a system is right for you. This is great for start up companies that need to save money on every aspect of their business.
You have to be careful about refurbished systems though as you will never be sure how long they will last. This is just a temporary solution. Try to save up for a brand new phone system that will last for many years. Buy from an accredited supplier so that you can at least get a warranty.
If you are really looking to save money, consider getting a VoIP system. Your calls are made over the Internet. Local calls are usually free while international calls are super affordable. VoIP systems nowadays are already loaded with features that any type of business can use. This system is great for multi-office companies and businesses that need to transact with other businesses all over the world.
It comes with all the features of a PBX system without the huge price tag. Even small businesses can project a professional image with the right VoIP system.
Time your purchase right
Look out for sales and promotions. Usually at the end of the quarter, there are so many bargains around as companies are trying to hit their quotas. Most suppliers give out for free upgrades when their customers request them. They can also customize an affordable system for your company during this time.
As the phone system is the heart of your business, you need to find a good company that has a reliable customer support system. Before signing a contract, make sure that you understand their policies on maintenance and support. Some companies charge extra for this service while others have this already included in the package. Some suppliers will also deliver your system for free while others have a separate charge.
Simplify the process even further
If you really don’t want the hard work associated with finding the right business telephone system, you can look for comparison websites on the Internet. You can easily spot them because they will have a form (usually on top of the page) that you need to fill up with your requirements. They will then review your answers and find the suppliers in your area that can best provide you with what you are looking for. Each supplier will send you a quotation. Remember that this is not the final price. You will probably need to discuss your requirements more thoroughly with them so that they can give you an accurate pricing.
These comparison websites are free of charge. You are also not obliged to do anything with the quotations that you receive. You can talk to the suppliers on your own time. You can ask for a product demo or setup a meeting.
The advantage of these websites is that they find a local supplier for you. Getting a local supplier means faster installation and customer support. You want to be able to keep your business running even when you encounter a problem with your phone system. A local supplier will be able to deploy their engineers quickly compared to a supplier from another city.
Armed with these tips, you can now easily find a phone system that you and your staff can best utilize to grow your business.