Most Common Phone System Buying Mistakes

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: February 15, 2011

Buying a new phone system can be a daunting task with all the choices you have in the marketplace. Many individuals decide on a certain system on impulse or because of an aggressive salesperson, ending up with a system that is not right for them. Don’t be one of those people – below are some common mistakes you should know about:

Mistake #1 -- Underestimate future needs

Individuals looking for a new phone system are usually interested in their needs on a short-term basis only and are not that concerned about investing for future requirements. Technology is moving at an amazing speed, and if you’re going to invest in a phone service, you want to make sure that the system will be able to handle increasing traffic and not be obsolete in a few years, requiring you to make the same investment again. For example, in the future you may require sharing of videos or data – is your system scalable so that it can meet this need in the future?

Mistake #2 -- Select the cheapest system

Buyers often purchase systems that are cheap and disregard other aspects of the situation, such as customer service availability. If the low cost is the main motivator for the purchase, that may turn out to be a problem. Minding your budget is a good idea, but shouldn’t be the only item of relevance in a purchase. You want to buy a system from a well-established business that will be around if you have a problem or if you need technical service. Buying from a firm with a good reputation may be worth a few dollars more in costs. The old saying of “penny-wise, pound foolish” applies in this situation.

Mistake #3 – Have the wrong person make decisions

Many small business owners have their receptionists or office managers responsible for decisions about phone systems. More likely than not, these individuals are not knowledgeable about phones and technology to be able to make an informed decision about short-term and long-term needs of firms. A better strategy is to have someone who is informed about phone services and technology options to talk to providers about business needs. Some large businesses actually hire consultants to help them out with their communication requirements because of the significant investment involved in this process.

Mistake #4 – Pay too much for unused functionalities

As you look for phone systems, you will be inundated with bells and whistles that may seem great on the surface, but you may never use them. Is it really worth paying for functions that you don’t use? Ask for discounts if you don’t want certain functionalities and review a list of what you’re paying for to make sure it is useful to you. If you don't use a function, you may be able to substitute it for something else at no extra cost.

You can become a much smarter buyer in the marketplace by avoiding these common mistakes when purchasing a phone system.  Avoid impulse buying and focus on the functions you need. Go with a well-established phone provider and consider all your options before making a decision. A mistake in this area can be costly.

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