Phone Systems Buyer's Guide
Choosing office phone dealers
Table of Contents
- Introduction to small business phone systems
- Types of commercial phone systems
- Sizing office phone systems
- Features of office telephone systems
- Advanced corporate phone systems features
- Choosing office phone dealers
- Office phone systems pricing
- Phone system buying tips
- Find a Business Phone Systems supplier
Virtually all office phone systems are bought through dealers who handle not only the sale but installation and programming, as well. As a result, finding a reliable office phone dealer can be the most important part of your purchase: any phone system you choose needs to be properly installed for optimal performance.
When choosing your dealer, consider first the number of installations that dealer has completed with your chosen system. A dealer who has installed many of the same systems will be much more familiar with the problems that can occur. Ideally, the brand you choose will be your dealer's best seller. When a dealer is that committed to the product line, you can be assured of a long-term availability of service.
Getting a demonstration of different office phone systems can often clarify which solution is best for you. Some dealers will ask you to come to their office for these demos, while others will visit you. Either is fine, but by visiting your site a dealer can get a better sense of your existing infrastructure and communication needs.
Inquire about the dealer's specific installation experience. Ask about the size of the companies they've served and what options or features they've installed. Obtain a list of references--including several completed within the past year--and ask these customers about their specific experiences. Then, when it comes time for your installation, make sure the dealer sends experienced technicians to conduct the implementation.
Ongoing support of your office phone system can range from being important to absolutely critical, depending on your business. Vendors will provide a combination of warranties: the manufacturer's guarantees of their hardware (typically three to five years) and dealer-provided service level agreements (SLAs.)
An SLA specifies how quickly the dealer will respond to a problem with your officephone system - 4 hours is fairly typical for major outages during business hours. If your business needs 24 x 7 coverage or shorter response times, expect to pay extra for these premium service levels.
Some other questions you may want to ask:
- Who will install the system - the dealer or a subcontractor?
- Who will provide training? What will training include?
- What are the costs associated with service and maintenance?
- Does the dealer provide backup during a power failure?
- Does the dealer have remote maintenance capabilities?
- What changes can we make ourselves to avoid service calls?