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Business Phone Systems: Questions to Ask a Provider before Installation

Updated on May 14, 2013

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?

Pose questions to the vendor of the system to get the features your business needs.
Pose questions to the vendor of the system to get the features your business needs. | Source

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.

Get the features your company requires to operate efficiently.
Get the features your company requires to operate efficiently. | Source

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.

Video: What is the Best System for a Small Business?

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.

The Considerations

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.

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    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Business Phone Systems: Questions to Ask a Provider before Installation, informative, useful and well shard on this topic.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very useful information about Business Phone system provider, its installation and the constant upgrading, which it requires.

      Well researched and informative hub!

      Thanks for sharing! Voted up!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      5 years ago from Dubai

      An interesting and informative hub. Great tips on what to consider before selecting the right phone system.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Interesting and very useful for all businesses and its something we don't really think about, but of course its really important, voted up!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting topic and something that all businesses do need to consider seriously. Useful and excellent pointers to check with the business phone system provider.

      Voted up.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      This is an excellent Hub topic, and I'm thankful you covered it, Christy. A great phone system can often be taken for granted by both management and personnel, so I'm glad this excellent business tutorial addressed the entire range of key aspects and components as well as the very significant bottom line. Thank you for sharing, Christy! Aloha!

      Joe

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