There are many things to consider before investing in a new telephone system. While the equipment is extremely important, there are other factors that must be a part of the process; dial tone, system features and the vendor.
Your vendor is truly the most important part of this process. They will guide you through the process and you will rely on them to make this a smooth transition. After all, if your system does not work, you have no connection to your clients.
Most phone systems are the same with a few exceptions in features offered; the biggest decision is whether to use a hosted solution or invest in an on premise system. The more important decision is the vendor you choose to implement your communication platform. You should align your business with a vendor, like Comtex, who has the ability, experience and product knowledge to get the best out of your investment, through effective programming, repair and ongoing support.
Comtex has evidenced its business longevity in the telecom field with over 56 years of customer support and satisfaction.
Questions to ask your on premise vendor:
- How long have you been in business? (evidences experience)
- How many years have you been a certified dealer for the systems you sell? (evidences experience with programming and service)
- When did the system come to market?
- How many technicians do you employ?
- How many programmers do you employ?
- Do you offer 24/7 emergency service?
- Is there a live person during working hours to take my calls?
- Do you hire subcontractors?
- Did you offer references?
- What is your warranty?
Our industry has “trunkers’. A one man shop, with a professional website, with pictures of “employees”. In reality they have no office (they use the home address), no warehouse to stock replacement equipment, hire subcontractors to assist them when they need more manpower and send all incoming calls to a cell phone. This may impact your future service needs.
You want a vendor who has a reputation in the industry; one who will be there for you before, during and after the installation. The true test if after the installation when you need changes, upgrades or support.
DIAL TONE AND INTERNET
You should compile a list of your dial tone carrier(s) and internet provider and a copy of your most recent bills.
The first piece of information you should know is when the carrier contracts expire. You may want or need to switch carriers. Please call your dial tone and internet carriers to confirm the date your contract expires and have them put it in writing. Mark your calendar 2 months prior to that date to investigate other carriers. Also find out when you must give notice in writing to the carrier. (usually 30 days prior to contract expiration).
Your dial tone may impact the features you want to use in your new system. For example, you need a PRI or SIP trunks for DIDs (direct inward dialing), an out of state phone number to ring into your office or to send calls to a cell phone. You should contact your current dial tone carrier(s) if you are under any contract term. You do not want to buy a system and not be able to connect to the type of dial tone that you will need for certain features.
Your will need to contact your internet provider to find out if you have a static IP address and confirm your current bandwidth at your office. The new phone systems require a static IP address to allow the phone vendor to remotely access your phone system for programming and diagnostics. You will also need sufficient bandwidth if you are using IP phone and SIP trunks. Your phone vendor will help you with these things.
The configuration and features of a system and the cabling in your office, will help your vendor determine which type of system, hosted or on premise, would work best for your company.
- What type of cabling do you currently have going to your phones? CAT3 voice or CAT5 data?
- How many telephones do you want in the office?
- Do you need any analog phones/devices in the system (cordless phone, fax or conference phone)?
- Do you have more than one office location? If so, do you want the locations connected?
- Are there any remote (off site) workers that you want connected to the system?
- Do you want any enterprise features? ACD, voice mail to email, calls to a cell phone, contact center solutions, etc.