A quick buyer's guide to help get the best deal when purchasing, or upgrading, your business phone system.
Identify you business needs. To help get a firm quote first assess:
- How many staff need a telephone and internet connection on their desk?
- How many external lines are needed? (General ratio is one external to five internal lines).
- Will a central receptionist receive all incoming calls? If you want DDI will ISDN lines be needed?
- What staff growth is expected in the next three years. Will that change the telecom needs?
- The level of staff qualified to take care of routine changes to the telecom systems in-house.
- If none is done in-house how quickly can your maintenance contractor react?
Talk to three potential suppliers, minimum. Cheaper isn't always best. Look carefully at what is included in the pricing. Trying to save money by choosing separate providers for equipment, installation, and maintenance may look good on paper. Nevertheless, it is a lot easier to deal with on supplier when problems arise. Most network services providers do not supply equipment, with the exception of BT.
Ask potential suppliers:
- How long have they been in the business of supplying and maintaining this type of equipment?
- Check their engineers training in the equipment.
- Check their success in meeting customer satisfaction and the contracted commitments in this area.
- Do they deal with post-sale issues and to what level?
- Is there any training provided to the user post-installation?
- What are the company quality standards to which they adhere?
- How reliable is the equipment?
- How do you report a problem and what is their response time?
- Do they offer additional services?