Growing digitization has caused a paradigm shift in the way we communicate. Old telephone infrastructure is becoming obsolete and with an increase in remote working, more companies are switching to VoIP [Voice over Internet Protocol]†
Where previously companies could only communicate with customers through a traditional telephone system that is expensive and provides poor quality phone calls, they can now connect with people in the most efficient way, regardless of their location.
If your business has yet to make the jump from landline to VoIP, here are some important things to know before starting the transition process.
What is VoIP?
Simply put, VoIP is a system that helps you make phone calls over the Internet rather than over your regular landline or mobile network. This relatively new technology works by converting analog voice signals into digital signals – when a phone call is made over VoIP, it is the VoIP adapter that converts the signals.
The digital data is then sent over your internet to the business phone provider before the message is finally transferred to your customer’s phone.
Unlike a traditional phone line, VoIP can carry multiple calls and data types over a single line, making it an efficient way to carry calls, information and data between multiple locations.
Choosing the right VoIP provider
Once you’ve made the decision to switch your business to a VoIP phone system, you’ll need to choose a provider for your new service. Finding a provider that can help you achieve your business goals is essential, so start by deciding what you value most in a communications system.
Thoroughly research all the providers out there, read reviews and consider the level of customer service each one offers, because you want to make sure you can get enough help and support when you need it.
Hosted vs on-site VoIP
An important factor to consider before moving to VoIP is whether you want to host your telephone system online or whether the equipment in your company needs to be installed and maintained.
There are pros and cons to each, and it will largely depend on your preference and which setup best suits your business needs.
For example, onsite VoIP provides greater control over service and quality issues, especially when it comes to internet speed and reliability, but it requires you to buy, install, and maintain all the equipment, and you need a dedicated space to house the hardware.
If you opt for a cloud-based, hosted solution, your service provider will manage and maintain all the technology and keep it running so you don’t have to buy or maintain any equipment other than your phones.
Quality and reliability
A critical point to look at with a business VoIP service is call quality.
Today’s best VoIP service providers deliver HD quality audio comparable to, if not better, traditional landline calls, meaning few people can differentiate between VoIP and analog calls.
Reliability is also key. While VoIP phone services for small businesses are generally more reliable than they used to be, it’s worth checking specifically with each vendor to find out if they have an emergency plan in place where your phone line stops working.
Also ask the supplier about their data center and infrastructure. For example, do they have multiple options for backup and what tools do they have to keep your phones working?
Before choosing a provider, you should know about their migration process. Ideally, the switch should be seamless with little to no downtime.
There are several steps involved in the migration, so make sure your carrier is organized and attentive to your needs at every stage, from installing software and purchasing phones to transferring your phone number to the new system and transferring your phone number to the new phones.
A quality provider should also provide adequate training before switching. If you start the workday with a new phone system that no one knows how to use, the results can be chaotic. It’s your provider’s job to make sure you’re prepared and informed about the new system before it goes live.
Ideally, your team should be equipped with instruction manuals and how-to videos. Live training is also helpful as it gives employees the chance to ask questions and get help in real time.
As with any modern technology, a VoIP system is vulnerable to certain risks, and many companies ignore security incidents before it’s too late.
While it’s important to ask your supplier about the security measures they implement for their infrastructure, they can only do so much to protect your phone system, and the responsibility lies with you and your employees.
If employees leave their passwords on their desks for everyone to see, or if they can’t change the default password, anyone can break into the system. That’s why it’s a good idea to deliver a security awareness program that outlines best practices and ways your team can ensure your information is never compromised.
VoIP solutions offer a wealth of powerful features, many not available with older telephone services, so it’s no surprise that VoIP is fast becoming the superior, modern choice for businesses of all sizes. However, as with any business decision, it is critical to consider how a VoIP system could affect your business before making the switch.
By being knowledgeable about all the benefits VoIP has to offer and what to look for with a quality, reliable provider, you can ensure that you get the most out of your VoIP system and reap maximum benefits for your business.