Technology and VoIP can sometimes feel like trouble. Things move so fast that it’s hard to keep up. You struggle to understand the technologies that are on offer and how they can help your business.
When you decide what you need, things don’t get any easier. Something like VoIP comes in a huge number of forms – from basic packages designed for consumers to all-encompassing enterprise solutions that bring all your communications together.
It can be hard to know what’s best for your business and, if you sign up for the wrong VoIP solution, it’ll be out of data before you even deploy it. To help you find the best VoIP solution for your business, here are a few key things to consider as you compare the different VoIP options available.
1. Begin with the basic VoIP standards you expect
VoIP makes telephony more flexible, but that’s little use if calls don’t stay connected, or quality suffers. The very first thing you should do when considering a VoIP solution is establish its core service levels. Does the service provider guarantee a specific amount of uptime and service standard?
With VoIP the upload speed is important and there must be no fluctuation. Especially if you are using an ADSL for voice & data. You must make sure the VoIP service is providing QoS (quality of service) on a network level otherwise data will take priority over voice. Always check the data quality to run voice.
In most cases, you’ll find that you are balancing the costs of a service with the experience and expertise of the service provider. If a VoIP package seems too affordable to be true, it probably is. So before you consider all the complex nuances of a VoIP platform, check the simple things. After all, they’ll form the foundation of your entire service.
2. Security of the VoIP service
There are many companies who are now are offering VoIP without investing in the security of the service. Today, Toll Fraud is more prevalent and costing the UK more than Credit Card Fraud. Any good VoIP platform should be able to offer you Toll Fraud, which means you can set a cap on call spend. As soon as spend hits that cap, no one will be able to make any calls. Most companies only alert you about the Fraud, which is too late, and you are liable for any excess call charges. Make sure the VoIP service provider you use has security measures in place to prevent Toll Fraud.
3. How will your VoIP service fit with your existing infrastructure?
You may need to replace your existing handsets. We highly recommend HD IP handsets which can be connected on your dedicated CAT5 or 6 or on your existing data network cable that you are using for your computer. Remember that IP handsets require either a local power (adaptor) or a PoE switch. There are numerous ways to implement VoIP in a business environment. You can run telecoms traffic on the same line you use for other data, providing your call bandwidth is low. You may need a dedicated line that does nothing but telephony traffic.
Your provider should be able to guide you through these steps and give you a complete, comprehensive overview of how VoIP can become part of your infrastructure.
4. During periods of service downtime, what happens to your calls?
Service resilience is critical with with Hosted telephony or SIP connectivity. This can be offered by the VoIP service provider and during any periods of downtime, calls can be automatically diverted to an alternative number. Then, as soon as your connection comes back , you should be receiving calls as normal without programming the system.
5. Who will support your VoIP implementation?
While VoIP makes telephony more flexible and easier to adapt to changes in business, there are bound to be occasions where you require expert support. This could be anything from making the most of product features to resolving an unexpected issue that’s preventing you from using your phones.
Since your support requirements could vary from mundane to critical, make sure you have the expertise you need on-hand at all times. At Loop Voice and Data, we provide local support that’s just a phone call away, so you can resolve your issues quickly and get on with what’s really important.
6. Look at your business, not what’s on offer
As well as core calling capabilities, many VoIP service providers add various features and functions that business could find useful. But they aren’t useful to everyone. If you’re comparing different solutions, you’ll see features like:
- Call waiting
- Auto attendant
- Call Routing
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration
- Integration with Outlook
- Hot desking
- Mobile app
- Computer app
- Live call report
- Account code
- Call park
- Sequential ring
- Call conference
- Extensive reporting
- Call recording
- Unified Communications
- And many more
These features look good on paper. But what impact will they have on your business? The best approach is to start from your organisation, not from your service provider. Brainstorm a list of features you are looking for, and check for a provider that’s able to deliver. This puts you in control of your implementation and, crucially, your costs.
If you need any more help choosing the right VoIP solution for you, contact us now. We are only a call away.