In the 21st century, communication is the key to success in business. Whatever the nature, size and scope of your enterprise you need to be able to make the outbound calls that secure new business and facilitate healthy operations while ensuring that when your clients need you, you’re never more than a phone call away. And in the digital age, more and more businesses are choosing to eschew traditional telecoms networks for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services to facilitate their business communications.
If you’re considering changing over to VoIP for the first time, you risk walking into a potential minefield. With so many providers to choose from, how do you know which is right for you? These 6 useful tips will help you to make better choices on behalf of your business and enjoy all the benefits of VoIP at a fraction of the risk.
Research the benefits of VoIP
When all is said and done, changing your phone service to VoIP is a business decision like any other. You need to weigh the overhead costs against the prospective benefits which will result in a healthy return on your investment.
While some benefits will be of more value to certain businesses than others, there’s almost certainly a reason why your business would benefit from a switch. Key benefits include;
- The ability to use the same phone number regardless of where you are physically.
- The ability to receive calls not just through VoIP phone sets but computers and even cell phones.
- One number can be shared between several employees.
- Useful call management services such as call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting, call routing, etc.
- A dedicated business phone number can make smaller businesses look bigger (let’s face it, a cell number doesn’t scream professionalism).
- Cheaper local and international calls than equivalent networks.
- Effective and accurate reporting to help you track call duration, hold times, wait times, and overall usage so you’re always delivering value to the customer.
Make sure your Internet Provider is up to the challenge
Broadly speaking, the quality of internet has greatly improved over the last 10-15 years, offering the generous bandwidth that businesses need at affordable rates. However, if you regularly experience connection issues like periodic loss of service, you risk building on an unstable foundation and your VoIP solutions could be less effective.
As well as considering your bandwidth allocations pay close attention to your business network (LAN). If your business requires you to run lots of bandwidth intensive applications this can have a knock-on effect on voice traffic and voice quality issues may arise as a result.
You may need to replace your existing router with a newer one that has built in QoS (Quality of Service) settings as well as software that is able to detect and correct issues and make your network stable enough to be able to apply an effective VoIP network.
Know your needs and choose accordingly
This is something that nobody can tell you as every business has subtly different needs and priorities. Work out what yours are beyond affordability (more on that later). Do you want something that is scalable and flexible that can grow with your business? Something with robust technical support for your peace of mind? Something that will give you great rates on international calls? So you need specific functions like voicemail to email or video conferencing? Write a shortlist of essential requirements and measure it against what providers can offer you.
Know what to look for in a VoIP provider
As well as ensuring that they meet your needs as detailed above, a VoIP provider should;
- Be well established with lots of reviews from happy customers online
- Have experience with businesses similar to yours
- Offer local installation and support
- Have a suite of features to help you get the most out of your VoIP
Insist on a pre-sales consult
A pre-sales consultation is always advisable. This enables a VoIP provider to assess your needs and establish a framework for how a VoIP infrastructure can be established and managed quickly and efficiently with minimal downtime.
Remember that the cheapest option may not be the best option for you
Finally, we get that you’re running a business.
And it makes complete sense that overhead expenses need to be carefully managed. However, when you make decisions for your business based solely on cost, this can prove a false economy. There are lots of low-cost VoIP providers out there, but do they offer the robust infrastructure you need to manage your business communications and make a great impression on customers? Do they give you fast and effective tech support when you need it?
Poor quality calls can make a bad impression on customers and when something goes wrong slow and ineffective tech support can result in profit-sapping downtime. Neither is a great look for your business.
About Carolina Digital Phone
Carolina Digital Phone is a North Carolina based pioneer of hosted phone services, and provides products that improve the capabilities of business, education and government telephony, while reducing their overall cost. The company’s offerings stand out for their excellent value, including very competitive pricing, the industry’s deepest feature set, ease of deployment, and many user-friendly packages – from a full turnkey setup including dial tone and VoIP phones to automated call answering and routing solutions that work with existing landlines, cell phones or VoIP phones. Learn more at CarolinaDigitalPhone.com