Purchasing office phones is an important part of the overall telecommunications and information technology investment for your company. As such, you should make it a coordinated effort and use the best available resources for comparing office phones.
One question you may want to answer up front is which technology to use: Voice over IP (VoIP) or traditional phone system - PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). VoIP is becoming very popular for its comparatively low overall cost and wide range of capabilities. VoIP systems are also easy to expand and upgrade.
One advantage of traditional phone systems is their access to power from the actual phone line. In case of a power outage, these phones will remain powered, while VoIP phone systems will have to rely on backup power to stay available. This may be an important advantage for disaster recovery situations.
You also have the option of hybrid systems that support a network of VOIP phones and a small number of traditional phones.
No two businesses are the same in terms of feature requirements. Make a list of the must-have features for your company. For example: voicemail, voice to email, toll-free service, etc. Be sure to compare phone systems based on your required feature list.
For each feature on your list, make sure that pricing includes any configuration or programming costs. These services may be included, depending on the system or vendor, but make sure they are part of your pricing comparison. Keep these fully-loaded feature requirements in mind when making any price comparison between systems.
It makes sense to use a vendor to help make your purchase decision, because vendors have access to the most current product information and can give you the benefit of their experience. Make a short list of vendors, meet with them to get quotes and information, and ask for references before you make your final decision.
Make sure that your vendor is available to answer questions and support your installation. It may make sense to spend a little more on a local vendor with on-site support available, as opposed to a no-frills lower-cost vendor.
You can also do your own research on vendors, systems, and features. Office phone comparisons are available online for all of the major manufacturers. This research will help you make the final choice between the options presented by your vendors.