THE RIGHT QUESTIONS: WHEN CHOOSING THE RIGHT BUSINESS PHONE SYSTEM A company telephone system is often considered a long-term investment and is certainly essential for a business's life force. Deciding whether to change service or purchase a system for the first time is an excellent decision that requires asking the right questions to the right people. Often, the quality of the responses from stakeholders, consultants and internal suppliers stems from the quality of the questions asked at the survey level. How do you avoid the buyer's remorse when buying the phone system? Asking many questions, the right questions for the right people is the first step to investing solidly in any technological solution. Below is a long list of questions for you and your telephone system providers, as well as a list of questions you can expect to ask back when you search for a new business phone system: Questions you need to ask yourself: • What vendors and solutions do we currently have? • Do we need to change systems or can we just update? • What resources are essential for our business? • What are our current costs and what is our budget? • How far do we expect our business to grow? • What fluctuation exists in our communication needs? • Do we have specific compliance measures that we must follow? • What are our goals for our new phone system? • How will we train our IT staff and end-users on the system? Questions for sellers: • On which type of platform is the phone system working? • What features are needed to maintain and update? • Is it easy to add a new user or location? • What happens if there is an interruption? • How does your phone system compare to other competitors? • Are all features included or are some more expensive? • Does this phone system support mobility? • Can this phone system evolve as my business grows? • What services and support will I have for installation and on an ongoing basis? • How can this phone system be integrated into my disaster recovery plan? • Do you offer systems training? • How can I view the system? • How much will it cost me? Questions that providers can ask: • Do you have one site or multiple sites? • Where are located? • What type of incoming connectivity do you have or do you have: SIP, T1 / PRI, Analog? • What type of telephone equipment do you currently have? • Do you have remote workers? • Do you have resource needs? What characteristics are more important? • What is your budget? • Do you prefer a hosted PBX (cloud-based phone system) or a location-based solution? • Do you plan to install the telephone system yourself or do you need help? • Do you currently have an IT resource that manages your company's network and/or firewall? Who is it • Do you have a contract with a telephone service provider? Do you use another hosted provider or cloud? If so, why do you leave them? • Do you have local or toll-free numbers that you want to transfer to our network for use with other services? In this case, provide these numbers. • Do you have fax requirements? To get the best price for your company's new phone system, submit your requirements to multiple vendors and allow them to bid on the project. Make sure that you and your team have submitted your systems and asked for customer references. You also want to receive a detailed proposal covering all areas that you consider important and to ensure that all your questions have been answered. To determine the cause of price differences between providers, request that the cost of resources be shown separately (or detailed if included in a set of resources). When you have the next proposals, choose the one that meets your needs, your budget, and build a system that makes you feel most comfortable with commercial communications. Do some research and be patient with the buying process. You will find a telephone system that will save you money, exceed your communication needs and facilitate business.