Phone system maintenance is one of the most misunderstood components of buying a new office phone system.  Fundamentally, it protects you when something goes wrong.  But isn’t that what a warranty is for?  Actually no.  Most manufacturer phone system warranties cover you for parts, not the technical labour to come out, diagnose, replace the part etc.  In fact, most warranties involve you having to send the faulty part back to the manufacturer and then have them diagnose it (to see if it actually is faulty) then to send you a replacement part under warranty.

Very rarely does the manufacturer care that the phone system is the life blood of your communications.  So that’s where phone system maintenance comes in.  Maintenance in this sense is not like a tune up for a car which is preventative.  Phone system maintenance is for when something actually goes wrong.

It is a service offered by the company that sells you the phone system.  This ensures that the company will come and out diagnose and fix your problem in a pre-established time frame which is set out in a phone system maintenance agreement.  The more you pay the faster the company agrees to see you in the future when something goes wrong.   At the top end of the phone maintenance schedule is typically a 24/7 3 hour guarantee.  This is for larger companies where the phone is absolutely mission critical.

How much do phone system maintenance agreements cost?

Typically you will pay anywhere from 10-20% per annum of whatever the original cost of the phone system was.  This is a basic rule of thumb and often companies will have set minimums.  This means if you buy a cheap 2 handset solution you may actually pay even more.

Do you really need a phone system maintenance agreement?

In the old days when everything had to be done on site you could argue that there was real value in this.  Better phone systems now actually have diagnostic programs built in that can be remotely accessed.  It tells you exactly what is wrong with the phone system when you dial in to it before you even set foot on your premises.

If you calculate how much you will spend over the life of the phone system you could argue that you don’t need a telephone system maintenance agreement at all.  But the key question is how responsive the company that services your system actually is.  With a maintenance contract they are bound by response times.  Without one they can basically attend site whenever suits them.  Now I now from experience that Infiniti doesn’t treat our customers any differently – if you have a problem we want to get it fixed for you.  However if we had to choose between a customer with a contract that has potential recourse and one that doesn’t….well I think you know the answer to that.

The bottom line with phone system maintenance agreements should be is it in your nature?  If you are the person that always gets the extended warranty etc then it’s probably the same thing and you should.  If you’re not risk adverse then you most likely wouldn’t.

The great news is that modern phone systems are very reliable anyway and as long as you choose a phone service company like Infiniti that is genuinely responsive and fast to act then you could sleep easy at night knowing that you have the warranty but not an enforceable phone system maintenance contract in place.