There comes a time when every business needs to invest in a phone system: they’re buying a new phone system for their new location or they’re upgrading from an older system. Regardless of the reason, they’re ready to make the commitment.
Your phone connects you to your customers, so you need it to be reliable. You want it to have a specific set of features (such as voicemail, call waiting, call forwarding, conferencing, recording, etc.) and you want your investment to be supported for years to come. The question you have is, “Where do I begin?”
First and foremost, finding the right phone system can be a pain.
Doing research online leaves you sifting through site after site as you look for answers only to find way too much information – and most of it isn’t worth your time.
As a business, you’re about to drop serious money on a new phone system, so you want to know you’re getting what you pay for. Unfortunately, the phone system business is a competitive one, which means it’s hard to find websites, reviews and data that isn’t biased or skewed in some way. There are countless websites featuring deals that aren’t really deals, or websites hosting reviews sponsored by a phone service provider. This isn’t helpful.
So, what is helpful? Here’s what you need to know.
Most phone systems are essentially the same.
There may be a few features that vary from system to system, but most VoIP systems will all have the most important features demanded by businesses. Your best bet is to define your phone needs before you start searching for a system. Chances are it won’t take long to find what you’re looking for – if you ignore the clutter.
What you really want to find is a stellar service provider.
You might get caught up in trying to find the best phone with the best features, but none of that matters if you don’t get good service to go along with it. You need someone who will be with you every step of the way, from setup and installation to configuration and the all-important support.
You need someone you can rely on.
That way, if anything goes wrong or you have questions, you have someone you can call. The fact of the matter is that most people aren’t and never will be VoIP or phone system experts. Business owners have too much on their plates to learn – from scratch – about a new phone system.
This leads to the questions you should be asking before you commit and buy a new system:
As you vet potential vendors, get exact and direct answers. If they beat around the bush, that’s a red flag. They should be able to answer all of your questions in a language you understand. If they don’t answer your questions, or you aren’t happy with the answers, find a different vendor.
There are many vendors who will send you a system and leave the rest up to you. If you know what you’re doing and have the time to set it up, it’s no big deal. But that isn’t most of us. And forget about support. If anything goes wrong, you’re on your own.
The best thing you can do when searching for a new VoIP phone system is to find an honest, reputable, local phone system reseller that you can verify will do the following:
In most cases, the answer lies with a dedicated and experienced IT services firm that knows technology. This is the kind of company that not only checks the boxes but can also ensure that your system works with your network without any hiccups.
The bottom is this: Do your research. Ask questions, get answers and be confident in your decision before handing over the credit card and signing on the dotted line. You’ll be much happier that you did!
Greg Durnan is the Owner/President of AcaciaIT and very active in the business community of Southern Arizona. One of the founding members of the Greater Vail Area Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce he is very concerned about the needs of businesses in Arizona. He also strives to educate clients on Computer and Network Security through Lunch and Learns, articles, and webinars.
On the weekends he enjoys spending time with his wife and son at their ranch in Vail and working with horses.