13 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Cloud-Based Phone System

Questions for Cloud Phone Vendor

A blessing and curse of modern office technology is the level of integration available between various systems. It’s fantastic when everything works, but it can be real headache when trying to mix and match, or replace technology.

For those who are considering switching from analog to the world of a digital cloud-based phone system, it’s critical to ask each vendor under consideration how their solution will integrate with your existing office environment—beyond just replacing the phones on employees’ desks.

Here are thirteen questions to ask each vendor on your shortlist before making a purchasing decision.

Cost Considerations

Cost is often the number one consideration when businesses are considering migrating to a cloud-based phone system. Because of this, it’s important to dig deeper than a vendor’s sticker price and look at things like:

  1. What is the lifetime cost of renting each phone?
  2. How many different plans are offered, and what’s the difference among them?
  3. Do less expensive plans have limitations that will impact us?

Some vendors are more transparent than others about their pricing, service tiers, and limitations. It’s important to get specific details about each of those items upfront before accurate comparisons can be made on price.

Service Integration

How the new service will mesh with your existing workflow is another important consideration. The less disruption migrating to a new phone system causes, the faster it will be adopted and begin increasing productivity.

When looking at cloud-based phone system service, it’s a good idea to ask:

  1. How many concurrent calls can be made from our office?
  2. Can we see if someone is on a call just by looking at a phone’s display?
  3. Will we need to use our computers to see who’s available?

There are many different ways to implement VoIP service in a business environment. You should have a clear picture of how each vendor’s solution will look in practice before implementation to confirm it will integrate into your existing workflow easily.

Systems Compatibility

It’s rare for a business to upgrade all of it’s office technology at one time. This means there is often a mix of older and newer systems that have been cobbled into coexistence. Devices and systems such as alarms, fax machines, credit card processors, stamp machines, and other shared resources may be running on either digital or POTS lines.

To ensure a critical component doesn’t stop working, ask each vendor:

  1. What is the solution for our fax, credit card, and/or stamp machines?
  2. What is the solution for our office alarm system?
  3. Will your system require additional network cabling to make it available to all users?
  4. What about our paging and/or intercom systems? Will they be affected?

A vendor that is offering a lot of great features at a low price may only be able to do so because there are limitations regarding compatibility with your existing systems.

Technical Support

Just as important as great phone service is great technical support. There will inevitably be a few kinks to work out in any new cloud-based phone system. Knowing that technical support is not only available, but exceptional, will make your transition much smoother.

Here’s what to ask vendors about their support offerings:

  1. What support options are available (phone, email, chat, etc.)?
  2. Are live support staff available? Where are they located?
  3. Do we get concierge service as part of the deal, or do we have to learn how to administer the system by ourselves?

Technical support is one of areas most likely to be subpar when a vendor is offering lower prices than their competitors. If that’s something your business is willing to gamble on, you should at least be aware of the fact before making a commitment.

Next Steps

Upgrading your business phone system has complexities, but it doesn’t need to be difficult.

Knowing which questions to ask is an important part the vendor evaluation process. We welcome the opportunity to provide additional guidance and education to those who need it.

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