Business-Phone Buyer’s Checklist

    So you want to buy a new business phone system—congratulations. But before you dive head first into cold-calling vendors and scheduling consults, do your homework. This checklist will walk you through the six steps you’ll need to make a smart buying decision and invest in a system that will truly pay dividends in the form of efficiency and productivity to your company for years to come.

    1. Determine your needs. Take stock of your current system—what needs to change? Solicit feedback from employees and customers about how it’s working. Consider the costs—an outdated system can be costly to repair. And think critically about what your business might need down the road, such as the ability to route calls to mobile phones or video conferencing.

    2. Choose an infrastructure. Consider the ups and downs of the three kinds of infrastructure systems—traditional, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and hybrid. Do your research and decide which is right for you.

    3. Select a deployment model. Decide if you want to host your system on your premises or deploy it in a cloud model—and don’t discount what you don’t understand. Cloud models are more affordable, reliable and secure than most people realize.

    4. Consider what features you want/need. Thoroughly investigate innovative new features like hot desking, do not disturb and follow me, among others and consider how they could benefit your business.

    5. Choose a vendor and device. Make sure you ask vendors the right questions, from set up and long-term support cost and availability to total cost of ownership and customer reviews. Then select a hardware system that reflects your investment—and reflects well on you.

    6. Get your staff up to speed. Give your staff a heads up, then provide plenty of training and support.