The Do’s And Don’ts of Adopting Hosted VoIP
By: Reuben Yonatan –
VoIP systems are a great way to save your company money on phone service, but just like any other utility, they also can encounter a wide range of security issues, call quality concerns, and other pitfalls. Getting around these problems isn’t difficult, but you can’t approach your new phone system the same way you would a landline one. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to consider when switching to VoIP telephony:
Do: Consider Your Hosting Options
Cloud hosted and on-premise are the two most common options for VoIP services, and each has its advantages. Cloud based involves buying phone service from a VoIP provider. This option has almost no upfront costs; there’s no need to buy software or phone equipment, and you’ll only pay for the calls you make. On-premise solutions, on the other hand, involve installing voice servers and delivery lines in your office. Cloud based phone services are great for most small businesses with little money for upfront investments, whereas on-premise is better for big businesses, particularly those who handle confidential customer information.
Don’t: Take VoIP Prices At Face Value
Businesses that opt for VoIP usually do so because they believe it will lower their operational costs, and while this is generally true, it’s not the full story. As in any industry, you have to read the fine print and fully understand the terms and conditions. One common pitfall is to assume that a flat fee for toll free calls applies to all phone services. If you plan to send faxes, for example, make sure there isn’t an extra fee for that. Be sure to ask about any setup fees, number porting fees, and cancelation fees.
Do: Look Into Auto-Attendants
One of the downsides of integrating all of your office’s communication endpoints into a VoIP system is that wrong numbers and confused extensions affect everyone. To avoid wasting workers time, consider how you would configure an auto-attendant system along with your VoIP network. An advanced auto-attendant can handle many customer concerns on its own while directing other customers to the right numbers. This will decrease call times and volume and thus reduce pressure on your business’s bandwidth.
Do: Identify All Your Endpoints
Though many people associate VoIP with video conferencing, the technology is compatible with most communication forms and endpoints. If your business uses a fax machine, for example, you can convert the machine’s analog connection into a digital link and send faxes over a VoIP network. You also integrate traditional handset telephones, headsets, computers, smartphones, and most other communication devices into the system. Consider all of the endpoints your employees use or would like to use for company purposes, and adopt a VoIP system compatible with all of them.
Don’t: Ignore Outdated Infrastructure
If you haven’t already gone through your network infrastructure, updated obsolete software and hardware, and eliminated any other inefficiency, now is the time to do so. A VoIP system will increase your business’s bandwidth use by several orders of magnitude, especially if multiple employees will have to use the phone simultaneously on a regular basis. If your network can’t handle this increase in demand, you’ll suffer from dropped calls, poor call quality, and reduced productivity in all areas of your business.
Don’t: Ignore Simple Call Quality Solutions
Before you buy compression software and jitter buffers, look into simpler solutions to preserve call quality. You can eliminate many call quality problems simply by buying better ethernet cords and headsets, lowering speaker volume, and making calls when bandwidth use is low. Adopt these measures when you install your VoIP system, and then keep track of call quality for a month. If you’re satisfied with the quality, elaborate software may be unnecessary.
About the author:
Reuben is the founder and CEO of GetVoIP, the online resource to businesses trying to find the right cloud communication solution. With an extensive background in cloud communication technologies and building industry leading internet companies, Reuben’s writings blend commentary, research, and perspective on cloud computing, digital media, business/leadership strategies, and enterprise solutions. Follow Reuben on Twitter @reubenyonatan