Industry surveys consistently indicate the importance of solution cost as the most important factor influencing the choice of a phone system. That said, vendor support policies and ease of implementation follow close behind. Whether you’re concerned about getting your team up to speed or the long-term support of your new phone system, don’t overlook this vital part of your investment.
Support comes in different forms so you’ll need to make sure you understand the terms offered by a potential dealer. If ever there was a place for transparency, openness and clear statement of what is and what isn’t included, this is it.
A faulty telephone system can easily cripple your business and cost you thousands of pounds. Choosing an unsuitable support agreement could prove expensive and inconvenient over the years ahead; and if you are planning to upgrade in the future, make sure that you aren’t locked into a restrictive agreement.
- What does your maintenance package cover?
- What service level agreement (SLA) is right for your business?
For many SMEs, a 4–6 hour lead time for a maintenance call out will be reasonable.
- Who is responsible for support of third-party applications?
- Are handsets and cabling covered?
- Does your supplier hold spares (or can they get them quickly)?
Be aware that some services (such as account management and software upgrades) may be extra value-added services. There’s nothing wrong with this, but make sure you understand exactly what your support package does (and does not) include. Insist on the supplier being specific and, as for the proposed system hardware and software) documenting everything clearly for you.