Here you are sitting at your desk with a few office phone system proposals staring back at you. You have done all the leg work that brought you to this stage: Decision Making Time. When you are facing a purchasing decision (one that you will need to live with for at least 5 years and that will take a sizeable chunk of your capital budget) if you are like me the first thing you do is start a list. Now you have a nice blank piece of paper with a tidy heading of New Office Phone Systems. Feeling better already I bet!
The Top 4 areas to use to compare your office phone system proposals are:
The office phone system is manufactured by a high tech firm that could as likely be international as USA based. You should do a little bit of homework to determine their history in this segment of the telecom industry, their R&D budget that allows them to stay current in the marketplace and their basic philosophy of customer service. Some questions to review on your list are:
- Where is their product manufactured and are they prepared to deal with geographical crisis?
- Are their distributors happy and long term or do they seem to churn on a frequent basis?
- Depending upon the size of your office phone systems perhaps you even had the opportunity to meet with a manufacturer representative. If so, were they knowledgeable and committed to your market area?
- What types of ongoing support or service level agreements are they offering for purchase via the distributor?
- What is their ongoing sales and technical certification processes?
You met with all these vendors and described your business, your challenges, the features you want in your office phone systems, and hopefully your budget. It is time for a side by side comparison of how well they listened and were able to respond to your needs in their phone system design. Some questions to compare proposals include:
- Did they meet my budget?
- Did they build in both the current and long term growth my firm will need?
- Is the system flexible enough for my future unforeseen changes?
- Was it designed for ease of use?
ROI and TCO
As with every larger purchase you are always seeking a Return on Investment. With office phone systems you will also be looking at your TCO or Total Cost of Ownership. As you compare your proposals be certain you understand the TCO of this technology. A qualified vendor will have addressed the entire scope of your telecom needs, not just the office phone systems. Your current dial tone circuits, rates and plans, and your infrastructure need to be addressed prior to signing on the dotted line. They are all part of your TCO and possibly an area you can realize significant savings.
At Gaynor Telesystems we recently were able to provide a business with new office phone systems at a monthly lease payment that was completely covered by the cost savings of our redesign on their telephone circuits. If you are utilizing such features as mobility and unified communications for the first time there are some wonderful tools to help you obtain figures to represent the time savings of your team.
You are down to the final decision piece: WHO do you want to work with? This may sound like an easy choice and maybe it’s clear cut in your decision process, but for some it can be rather difficult. All office phone system vendors have worked hard to prepare your proposal, given you product demonstrations, provided references and possibly have worked with you in the past. How do you decide which vendor is the best fit for your business? Primarily our advice is to choose the office phone systems vendor you trust. Make sure you understand the team that will be working on your project and their experience both in the industry and also with this vendor. It is important to ensure the phone systems vendor can meet your needs today and also for your long term service and growth needs.