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Ten Tips For Buying A Telephone System

  1. Obtain phone system quotes from multiple vendors.  But make sure you are comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

  2. Make sure you get a phone system with automated attendant for automatic answering and call routing.  Even if you want your phones answered by a real person, what happens if that person is out sick?  Or after hours and on weekends?

  3. Choose a phone system that can be programmed remotely.  There is no need to wait for a technician to come to your place of business to reprogram your auto attendant.

  4. For ease of use, make sure your phone system has a self-help feature built right into the phone.  The problem with phone system instruction books is sometimes you can't find them when you really need them.  When the instructions are built in to the phone, you will never have to hunt them down or answer co-worker pleas for help ("How do you conference people in again?")

  5. Pick a phone system that allows you to easily add more lines when you need them.  As you grow, so should your phone system.  Some experts recommend that you allow for at least 50% growth over the next five years.

  6. Build the phone system that is just right for your business.  Decide if music or advertising on hold messages are important to you.  Some businesses like to set a mood with music, others like to communicate important marketing messages to callers while they are on hold.

  7. Decide if you want caller identification.  This feature allows your callers names and telephone numbers to be shown on your telephones display panel before you answer the call.  This is helpful if you want to search your database for the callers account information.

  8. Consider analog connections too if abuse or theft is a concern.  Find a phone system with extra analog connections for connecting inexpensive analog phones in locations where abuse or theft is possible (receiving docks, outdoor call boxes, etc.) or where you want to use a wireless phone.

  9. Combine the power of your phone system with Microsoft Outlook.  Capture and log details about every call for better call management by linking your phone system to the PC.  But find an option that doesn't require you to upgrade your local area network (LAN) or install Microsoft Exchange, thus avoiding a costly and impractical approach for a small business.

  10. Protect your investment.  Growth is good, but what happens if you outgrow your phone system?  Make sure the phone system you buy today can work with a new phone system tomorrow.  That way, you won't have to throw away your existing phones when that great day comes.

Purchasing Tips [PDF]   Comparison Matrix [PDF]

Last updated: 03/01/05 05:08 PM


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