How to Select Your Perfect Phone Vendor

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: August 22, 2011

The phone system is one of the most important pieces of technology at a business. You use them to speak with clients, make sales, and perform technical support. It can be somewhat tricky to choose the perfect one, however.

You should start by asking the following questions:

Do you have a receptionist who can direct phone calls?
How many employees will need phone extensions?
Will you primarily be making outbound calls or receiving inbound calls?
Do you want mobile service for the phone?
Do you intend to add new employees in the coming years?

You should then look at vendors and compare the following factors:

Cost – The cost of the phone system is generally an important part of the decision. You’ll need to find a business phone that’s within your budget, unless you can convince the appropriate people that a more expensive system is worth the investment. Keep in mind that a classic business phone system will generally cost more than one that makes phone calls over the internet.

Features – Modern phone systems provide access to many different features. Popular choices include conference calls, voicemail transcription, caller identification, and the ability to record phone calls. If you believe that your business could benefit from any of these, you should take note of the vendors that offer them.

Scalability – Some phones will require you to add a new level of infrastructure whenever your company increases in size. Others can scale up or down seamlessly and on a moment’s notice. If you expect to hire new employees in the coming years, this may be an important factor to consider. If you’re a small company that provides service to a specific niche, you might be able to overlook it altogether.

Maintenance – A phone system can quickly break down if it is not properly maintained. This can directly result in lost sales should it happen during a particular busy time period. You should therefore see whether the vendor offers any sort of maintenance for the system. A phone technician that comes out to your company and makes sure everything is in working order can help keep your mind at ease.

You should also look up reviews of the different vendors before making your choice. Professional reviews will show how the phone system matched up to specific criteria (sound quality, value of features, etc.), while customer reviews will provide a look at how the system functions over time. Together, they should help you to decide which vendor is the best choice for your company.

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