Prior to contacting telephone system vendors and dealers, sit down and think about what features and benefits your business needs. This will help guide you when seeking quotes from potential phone systems dealers and offer a base for discussion.
Phone system vendors and dealers will certainly be able to assist you with the specific features and needs for your business, but nobody knows your business’ needs better than you do, at least for the time being.
A few questions you should ask yourself before discussing your needs with a phone system vendor include:
How many lines and extensions do you need right now?
Add up the number of employees you currently have considering growth in the near future. Be sure to include extension totals for fax machines, modems, and credit card terminals if applicable for your needs.
What are your future expansion goals?
Whether you plan to grow proactively, or wish to remain relatively small over a period of many years, take note of this as it is important in your decision. If you think you will add more employees to your payroll and additional work stations over the next couple of years, consider this in your decision. It is always better to overestimate and have more lines than needed than to underestimate and customers receive a busy signal.
Choose how many lines you need with the next two to three years in mind. To restate the above, while you may only have four or five employees today, it would likely be a large hassle, not to mention an exorbitant expense, to switch from a KSU-less system to a PBX telephone system. Failing to plan for future growth today can prove to be a costly mistake tomorrow.
What accessories and options do you need?
Features such as call forwarding, caller-id, one-touch dialing, on-hold music, conferencing, and speakerphone options are all available and can be a valuable asset for your business. Voicemail should be a necessity for any office telephone system. When discussing your needs with phone system vendors, consider that these features such as voicemail may not be included and come with an additional price tag.
With the rise of mobile technology, you can also request your phone system to alert your mobile device when you receive a message which allows a quick real-time response any time of the week or day.
Note that not all office phone systems are capable of handling these features and you’ll need to discuss what is important to your business with vendors.