VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, has been helping businesses communicate more effectively for a few years now.
Let’s be real. VoIP is hardly the new kid in the block anymore; in fact, it’s been around for over a decade now. I mean, you probably have used it in your personal life, with applications like Skype. However, your company just might be able to take advantage of this technology as well.
Perhaps you’ve considered it for your business in the past, but ultimately decided against it. Well, let me tell you something – NOW is a good time to revisit that decision of yours!
The world is evolving, technology is evolving, everything is evolving. It’s time to keep up with the trends!
And if you are still wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP, then I am sad to say that you have missed my previous blog article.
Reduced call costs, lower maintenance and the ability to integrate your voice communication with data analytics to track and improve sales and other KPI’s are just a few examples of the benefits VoIP provides.
Sounds pretty good…but how will you know if your company is ready for VoIP? Well, let’s figure that out together one step at a time, shall we?
1. How Many Phones Do You Need Right Now?
Naturally, the first thing you’ll need to decide is how many phones your business actually needs. It’s a simple consideration of the number of employees you have, plus any temporary phone locations such as common rooms or reception desks.
One of the reasons why VoIP is so cost effective is because it uses the Internet to send and receive your phone calls. This means that your bandwidth is a key factor here. So, once you’ve added up the number of phones you’ll need, it’s time to think long-term.
If you have plans to grow your business over the next one to five years, it’s important to consider what that might look like when planning the transition to a VoIP phone system.
Your bandwidth capabilities should accommodate the number of phones you’ll need now, and those in the future.
2. What Are Your Growth Plans For The Next 1 to 5 Years?
While any good telecom company will help you calculate the bandwidth you need, it’s worth doing a quick calculation of your own.
Also, to ensure your VoIP solution is running at optimal levels, it’s important to calculate for a worst-case bandwidth usage scenario. That means if all your phones are in use at the same time, you’ll want to make sure you have enough bandwidth to support the load!
Once you’ve identified your required bandwidth, you’ll then know which type of broadband you should install to handle it.
3. Will Employees Access Your Phone System Remotely?
Next thing you need to think about are remote working considerations.
Do you have employees who work from home or have remote offices? Will you need to create hunt groups or need simultaneous ringing features?
I mean, when someone’s in the office, you can glance in the direction of their desk, ask someone if they’re around, or shout their name really loud and then double check to make sure you hit the mute button on your phone. But if your employee’s working at home, what can you do then?
This is where the “Find Me Follow Me” feature comes in. This feature will ring multiple phones sequentially. You can have the VoIP system call their desk phone, their mobile phone and then their home phone to ensure they don’t miss the call while they’re working remotely.
4. Do Your Employees Use Personal Devices At Work?
It is commonplace for employees to use a cell phone to take work calls when they aren’t in the office. However, unless you have issued cell phones to your staff, there probably isn’t a reason for them to use their personal devices to talk to clients while at the office.
But if this is happening, there are two things you need to consider:
Firstly, you need to think about the fact that you have no way to monitor your employees’ phone usage and behavior. Are they dealing with clients in a friendly and polite manner? Are they keeping with your company’s message when speaking on the phone? Are they even talking to customers at all?
The second issue is figuring out why employees aren’t using your phone system. Chances are it has to do with some usability or performance issues that ought to be addressed. There is no point in spending money on your current phone system if it isn’t being used by your staff anyway, right?
Switching to a VoIP telephony solution can thus take care of both issues. For starters, it will provide an easy-to-use phone system for your office with far more features than you currently have.
More importantly, for staff who still wish to use their own cell phones, calls can be forwarded from their work number to their personal device. This allows you to keep track of their usage without forcing them to give up their preferred method of communication. Since the call is still going through the VoIP phone system, you’ll also be able to monitor it should you wish to.
5. What Is The Type And Speed Of Your Current Internet Connection?
Because you’ve properly calculated the bandwidth that you need, you can now determine whether the speed of your current Internet is sufficient to handle the VoIP installation. If you can get a bandwidth upgrade to match the requirements then great, otherwise you may need to consider higher broadband options.
6. How Many Ports Will You Need?
Because VoIP uses the Internet, you must also consider how many CAT5 LAN drops are at each workstation. Broadly speaking, there are two options:
The phone shares a connection with the PC
Both the phone and the PC get plugged into the Internet with individual ports
Either way, it’s important to know how many ports you have versus how many ports you need prior to scheduling your installation.
So now that Your Company is ready for VoIP, here are some Features to look for when Choosing a Provider:
Charge by seat — This is the most common pricing option, where the company pays a fee for each user. The alternative is paying per call, which typically only makes sense for companies with few outgoing calls but a lot of incoming calls.
Ability to migrate your current phone numbers — Some providers will allow businesses to keep existing phone numbers and extensions free of charge, but others require a fee.
Fast response time and guaranteed tech support — Contracts should specify when support is available, as well as time guarantees, with real repercussions for the vendor if they’re not met.
Security — One disadvantage of business VoIP is that putting voice service on the company’s computer network makes it subject to the same security threats as other IT resources. Find out what security controls vendors have in place to prevent the system from being hacked.
Availability of 999 support — Because digital numbers in a VoIP system aren’t tied to a single location or phone wire, enhanced software is required to cover this issue. The software may be standard, optional or not available, depending on the vendor.
Combination Internet/VoIP solution — Some companies save money by buying Internet and business VoIP services from the same vendor. However, that increases the risk that both services will be down at the same time.
Vendor reliability — Phone service is essential to most businesses’ success, so check vendor references to determine if a business VoIP service is reliable, how the vendor prevents serious outages, and how they respond when incidents occur.
Ready to set up VoIP for your business now? Click the green button below to contact us today!
eVantage Technology is a professional and trusted IT solutions provider, dedicated to providing exceptional service to companies in Singapore and across Asia.