Business Phone Systems: Questions to Ask a Provider before Installation
When your company decides to get a new phone system, the questions you ask potential providers can help you decide which vendor to use. You likely want a knowledgeable, efficient, and reliable organization to install the phone system. The questions you ask the organization also help you decide what phone system features to purchase. Ask system providers questions about cost, business line rental, support, and installation to ensure your organization gets the best product available.
What are Questions to ask a Provider?
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Cost Details for Your Business Phone System
Ask a potential system provider about the cost of operating the business phone system. The costs will usually increase in proportion to the number of employees. With more people in a company, there are likely more telephones; a larger system demands more equipment and usually more complex installation procedures than smaller enterprises.
If you choose to use a phone line rental, price is usually on a per month basis. Some organizations do offer an annual fee instead, which your company may prefer. The base cost of the line rental covers the calls received and made from your office. For a larger fee, your business can add features as additions to the line. The additional features are in the next section.
Collect information on line rental fees by phoning vendors directly, looking at figures listed on company websites, and by speaking with colleagues and friends. Ask people you know which company operates the phone system they use; an endorsement from someone you respect is an excellent way to find a quality organization.
If the cost of phone installation and line rental fees are beyond the price point your business can afford, switching to a cheaper competitor may be a wise consideration. You may be able to negotiate the price by quoting other affordable providers, as well.
Types of Business Packages
Another category for your questions is what business packages are available from each provider. Providers often offer different packages for businesses of different sizes. For example, Cisco offers a phone bundle for small businesses that include caller ID, speakerphone, and conferencing features.
The packages have features the vendor considers essential for companies of different sizes. The technique makes sense as the needs of businesses often vary by size. For a large-scale business, unlimited phone usage is likely a higher priority than for a smaller company.
Given that packages change over time, your business should be in touch regularly with your provider to stay up to date on available options. Another tip is to make sure the business package contains an appropriate number of local and international minutes for your office's normal call traffic.
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Installation and Support Questions
Once you select a service provider, the next step is the installation of the telephone system. Determine when the implementation of the hardware, line, and testing of features will happen. You do not want to interrupt office work-flow, so the installation process needs to be seamless. If your business is switching providers or requesting business line rental, make sure the company guarantees that there will not be any downtime within your phone system during configuration.
Support is another area to address. If your business needs a working phone system 24 hours a day, your provider's hours of support are vital. Inquire about the hours and expertise of online phone support. Additionally, how fast can a technician come to your office when needed? This gives you an idea of how long responses will take if any issues occur after your business phone system is in place.
There are many factors to consider in choosing a business phone system. The tips above provide a guideline for your company, regardless of the size. As your company expands, the features you require of your system are likely to change and may require an upgrade. Have regular contact with the vendor of choice after installation is complete, should your company require phone changes or encounter any issues with the system.