Reviewing Business Phone Systems

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: April 18, 2011

The number of business phone systems on the market has greatly increased over the last few years. This can make choosing a new phone system a difficult task, since almost all of them claim to be the best. You can simplify this process by taking a strategic approach to looking at different phones.

Determine the Basic Needs of the Company

You should ask yourself:

  • How many phone extensions do you require?
  • Do you need voice mail for your employees?
  • Are you going to want a mobile option?
  • Will there be a live operator to direct calls?
  • How much phone traffic do you expect?

The next step of the phone system review is to seek out different manufacturers and see what they have available. You can accomplish this through a standard internet search with basic terms like ‘business phones’ and ‘business phone vendors’. The information that you’re looking for can generally be found on the product feature page of the company’s website.

Comparing Phone System Vendors

The cost of the business phone system is obviously important. You will see competing prices for different products, along with potential upgrades. The lowest price isn’t necessarily the best deal here – it can sometimes be worth it to spend a little extra and get a higher quality phone. If a phone is outside your price range, though, you should probably move on to the next.

You may also want to see if their phone systems have any special features that can benefit your company. This can include conference calls, call recording, virtual phone numbers, call forwarding, and route-to-fax capabilities. Many modern phone systems can also provide videoconferencing between remote locations and automated outbound dialing for sales and marketing campaigns.

Another factor is whether the phone system allows the opportunity for growth. You might only need a small number of phone lines now, but that can quickly change if your business expands. Many companies will therefore want to be able to add new users to the system and switch phone numbers around as people leave or move to different departments.

Dependability of Phone Systems

Your phone system review should also take a good look at the dependability of the manufacturer. If the company has been around for at least three years, it’s generally a good sign. If they require a mandatory service contract in order to use their product, it’s generally not. You should also see if they are willing to provide references and point you to past or current customers.

Once you’ve narrowed down the phone systems to a few choices, you should call up the vendors and ask for a product demonstration. This may take some time, but it will also provide some of the most objective data of the phone system review since you will be able to compare how the different models work and decide which one of them is right for your business.

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