6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Business VoIP System
Is your small business thinking about moving to a business Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system? We understand that with all the choices, it can be hard to know which service to choose. Ea...
Is your small business thinking about moving to a business Voice Over Internet Protocol () phone system? We understand that with all the choices, it can be hard to know which service to choose. Each one offers different features and pricing structures, meaning small businesses need to do the research before settling on a VoIP plan. Let us lessen your research load with six considerations to keep in mind, before choosing a VoIP service.
VoIP services cost more than the advertised monthly subscription rate. Each service comes with different overhead costs, like installation, maintenance, and system upgrades. Businesses should first create a budget and then look into the total cost of ownership for each service they are considering. Costs vary depending on the type of system (Hosted vs. In-House VoIP), features included, and annual maintenance required. VoIP can cost as much as 20 percent annually over the purchase cost for technical support and upgrades alone. So, read overall contract pricing carefully and choose a provider within your budget.
Hosted vs. on-premise VoIP
Hosted and on-premise VoIP systems each offer distinct benefits. With Hosted VoIP, companies see lower upfront costs and maintenance fees are typically bundled into the cost of the service. This option is perfect for small businesses who can’t purchase PBX hardware but still want the advantages of a VoIP service. Hosted is also easy to set-up and doesn’t require businesses to employ an in-house IT specialist. In-house VoIP comes with higher initial costs and on-going maintenance but offers companies more flexibility with networks. It may be a good option for a tech-based company or those with in-house IT departments.
If your business employs a mobile workforce or has employees often traveling for work, smartphone integration is a must. Not all VoIP service providers offer a mobile app option and if they do, it may not include all the features your desktop VoIP does. Make sure a mobile app is included in your service, allowing your employees access to contact databases, video conference attendance, and receive calls transferred to a work phone or mobile device.
Inevitably something will go wrong. When that happens you need solid customer support from your VoIP service. Things to look for include 24/7 phone support, live chat, and ticket support. While all these features are not necessary, they are handy. If your company operates during off business hours or offers 24-hour service, find a provider who can promise, if not immediate, then timely answers to all support queries.
It is imperative to your support and sales teams, a seamless navigation between all essential software programs while taking calls. Integrating your sales and support software with the VoIP system can accomplish this. Look for a service provider with software extensions like, Zendesk, Google Docs or Salesforce. A VoIP provider that integrates with your other software will allow your team to be most productive, especially during high volume call times.
If your business is planning to grow, you want a communication system that will grow with you. Ask all potential VoIP providers how easy it is to expand future services. Also, check if the PBX is compatible with SIP Trunking, as this allows for phone line consolidation and expansion at any time.
These six considerations will help you choose the right VoIP provider for your business. Think through the options before you make a final decision. Select the one most closely meeting your needs. Your phone system is one of most vital components of your business, so choose wisely.