The process of evaluating, choosing, and deploying the right phone system for your company can be extremely time consuming and overwhelming. Your company’s communication system is a major factor in the success of your organization, and a good purchase decision can give you a competitive advantage. With these high stakes riding on a quality decision, many individuals and groups need to be involved, and dozens of options need to be considered- which can complicate the process. Implementing a new phone system requires proper planning, which includes thoughtful feedback and careful consideration of all options.
To help ensure that your current or upcoming new phone system project avoids any potential problems, here are 5 tips to keep your phone system project on track:
Tip #1: Evaluate Your Network and Make Improvements Before New System Deployment
One of the major differences between deploying older phone systems and today’s VoIP phone systems is that VoIP relies heavily on the quality of your internal network. It’s very possible that your existing legacy system has absolutely nothing to do with your network, as the cabling and connections were all dedicated. Today, your network is the key to high call quality and consistent call connection- it’s what links your users to each other and the outside world. That being said, have your IT department or a 3rd party network professional thoroughly test your network and bandwidth to ensure you’re ready for VoIP. If you want a quick snapshot of the quality of your network connectivity, check out our VoIP Readiness Test.
Tip #2: Interview At Least One Representative from Every Work Group in Your Company
If your company is like most, your phone system is one of the most utilized and relied upon pieces of technology in your organization. Users get very comfortable with using the system and change can be unwelcome. Even though a new phone system is an improvement in every way possible, if it doesn’t do something the same way as it did before, and people don’t know the change is coming, it can cause problems. It’s extremely important that you not only ask for user’s feedback, but take it very seriously during the decision making process. It’s not a comfortable situation to have a system installed and ready to go only to find out Accounting can no longer fax, or your Executive Assistant can no longer answer the CEO’s calls the same way they did before. Avoid putting yourself in that position and find out exactly what your users need in their new phone system.
Tip #3: Read the Fine Print and Understand How Much Things Cost
Unfortunately for phone system buyers, not every product has the same pricing structure, and not all vendors are transparent with their pricing. While some vendors pricing is simple and all-inclusive, others are riddled with complex feature licenses and excessive hardware costs. Some vendors have costs buried in the fine print, or charge for things that you would never consider to be add-ons. Thoroughly study each quote or proposal and make sure to specifically ask that everything your company needs is included so that you avoid having to going back to the CFO looking for more money a few months down the road.
Tip #4: See a Demo of the Product
There can be a big difference between a salesperson saying, “yeah, our system has that feature”, and you thinking “yeah, the feature they have solves our problem.” Don’t take the sales brochure and website’s word on features and functionality. See a thorough demo of the systems you are evaluating and make sure that A) the feature exists, and B) it works in the way that solves your company’s problem. For example, many systems claim to have advanced call reporting, but may not be able to deliver the specific report you need. Or, they may claim to have mobility features, but they are far too complex for your users to ever utilize. Inspect the system for yourself to make sure you understand what you are getting- even better, sign up for a free trial and experience it for yourself.
Tip #5: Find a Quality Local Reseller
As important as your company’s communications is to the success of your business, you should entrust the installation and support of that system to a professional. Though your IT staff may be more than capable of installing a phone system, it’s likely not their specialty- their time is more valuable spent elsewhere. Take advantage of the years of experience that a local reseller will provide. They’ve installed tens, dozens, or hundreds of phone systems and they know how to make the process easy and avoid all of the potential pitfalls. If you’re worried about the cost, don’t be! Local resellers often charge less than buying direct from the vendor, which can justify their expense.
For more help on getting started with a new phone system project, download our free SMB Toolkit