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Should I have a maintenance program on my business phone system?

Posted by Gregg Haughton on Sep 23, 2011 2:37:00 PM

Let me start by saying I never buy extended warranties. When I go to Best Buy and the sales person starts bringing up the extended warranty I tell them "Don't even start, I never buy extended warranties." I guess I am a  risk taking fool!
I have to give Chris Hoffman from Great America Leasing in Cedar Rapids, IA credit for helping me realize there is a difference between an extended warranty and a maintenance program. He came to Connecticut a few years ago to help us design our managed services program.
So why should you cover a business phone system with a managed service program? This post will explain why I believe it's a smart business move.
  1. Technology changes - Back when I started selling small business phone systems in 1986, they were stand alone systems. The software was burned on chips on the processor and the system did it's thing without interaction with your computers or data network. If you needed to interface with another system, you added a card that performed that task. Today, business phone systems are yet another application server on your information network. They interact with client PCs, software applications, and servers. So, when another system is upgraded, if you don't keep your phone system software up to date, you can lose that interaction. A managed services program provides a software upgrade subscription so your systems remains compatible.
  2. People forget - A business phone system can have  a transformative  effect on your business, but only if people know how to use it. A managed  services plan provides for ongoing training and as the system evolves will ensure that new capabilities are actually used.
  3. The way you use the system will change - If you get a bill every time you make a change, then you will hesitate to make changes even though it might make you more productive or provide better customer service. I hear it all the time..."I'll just wait until I have a few changes..." If there were no cost, then you'd make the changes that would benefit your business. A managed service plan allows you to have your vendor make changes with no service charges.
  4. Discounts - Typically, a managed service program entitles clients to reductions on additional business with the vendor. If you are a growing firm, or planning more investments in technology, the savings can be substantial.

Does this mean next time I go to Best Buy I'll say "yes" to the salesperson when she brings up an extended warranty? Probably not. But I believe that a well designed managed services program benefits most organizations.

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Topics: VoIP Phone System, Business Telephone Systems, small business phone system, managed services plans

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