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Phone System Buyers Guide

Posted by Gregg Haughton on Jan 31, 2012 3:31:00 PM

VoIP Phone 


Phone System Buyers Guide


Whether you have to buy a new phone system because yours is failing or you are evaluating investing in new technology, your purchase decision should be framed by the following objectives:


  1. Improve Employee Productivity
  2. Enhance Customer Service
  3. Lower Costs


If your phone system investment does not address at least one of these objectives, you are simply putting a new piece of plastic on your desk and likely missing an opportunity to improve your business.


The following are conversations you should be having with a prospective vendor. If the salesperson is not asking you these types of questions, you are working with the wrong person.




  • Do you have employees who work out of the office? Would it make sense for your customers to be able to reach them any time, any place?
  • Does your staff carry smart phones or tablets? If they could manage their messages (voice, fax, e-mail) from their devices, would it help them do their jobs?
  • Have you invested in a CRM or Sales Automation package? How important are metrics to your business?
  • Do you keep business contacts in either a CRM system or in an Outlook Contacts or similar address book?
  • Do you frequently have conference calls with multiple outside parties?
  • Are you using cloud applications such as Google docs? Is your e-mail on an in-house server or hosted? Are technology initiatives moving to the cloud?
  • Do you have IT staff that can handle changes to the system or will you need outside support?
  • Does staff move within the office frequently?
  • Do you have multiple locations? Can you transfer calls from location to location?

Enhance Customer Service


  • Do you have either a formal or informal call center? Are your customers frequently looking for the same person or groups of people?
  • Do your clients spend time waiting on hold for help?
  • Would it be a benefit if your customers could call your staff directly?
  • What is your customer’s biggest frustration when they call your company?


  • Do you have to ask the same questions of many callers (i.e. what is your account number)?
  • Is your turnaround time getting back to customers too long?
  • Would call volume metrics make it easier to schedule staffing for key phone positions more effectively?
  • Would it be useful to be able to record conversations? Is there a legal need to record calls? Do you bill your clients for time on the phone?
  • Do you provide the same information repetitively? Are your clients calling to ask questions where the answer resides in a database?
  • Do you need to confirm appointments or manage a schedule? Is there a need for mass notification?


Lower Costs


  • When was the last time you reviewed your network services? Have you looked at what several carriers can provide for voice and internet access?
  • Are you currently under contract with your carrier?
  • Do you have dedicated to answering calls, if so, does the call volume vary?
  • Are you expanding into new markets or geographic areas? How are you supporting the remote operations?
  • Do you make international calls?
  • Do you provide your staff with cell phones or reimburse staff for their personal cell plans?
  • Do you track phone usage and assign costs to departments?
  • If you have a call center, do you track agent productivity and follow trends?
  • How much do you spend with your current vendor on service calls? How many times do you pay to have program changes or moves on your phone system?
  • Do you have a budget for the technology investment? What ROI is acceptable?


A good first meeting with a prospective vendor will likely last about an hour.

 Gregg Haughton

Gregg Haughton



Topics: Business Phone System, VoIP Phone System, Phone System Buyers Guide

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