Four Things Businesses Should Look for When Choosing a VoIP Service
by Stephanie Faris on Monday, November 16 6:00
Businesses rely on phone services to support daily operations. With VoIP expected to grow by 9.7 percent between 2014 and 2020, professionals are increasingly realizing the many benefits of IP-based telephony over traditional landlines. Utilizing a business s Internet connection, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions can save a business money and add a wider selection of features while also saving on cost. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a VoIP solution. Cloud Hosting vs. Internally Hosted
The first question solutions providers will often have is whether a business wants to host its VoIP system in the cloud or on premise. With a cloud-hosted option, businesses will pay a monthly fee to a service that handles all of the behind-the-scenes functionality. With an internally hosted system, a provider will install the necessary hardware and software.
While cloud hosting may generally be a less expensive option, businesses may find features are sometimes limited with cloud solutions. An on-premise solution can include more extensive features. However, an on-premise solution will require the purchase of hardware, as well as pay for technical support personnel to manage and troubleshoot any issues with the phone system. With an on-premise system, the business is in complete control of its phone system, including security and call quality.
Businesses often must operate on a strict monthly budget, with utilities a necessary expense. By being able to reduce those monthly costs even by a small per-user amount, companies can maximize earnings each month.
As a business compares services, it s important to calculate start-up fees and monthly costs, as well as the cost of any addition features a business might need. If an accounting team has a preference on whether billing is monthly or annually, this should be a consideration, as well.
VoIP providers often advertise reporting capabilities among their features. For the average business, this insight can come in handy. For businesses that bill by the hour, the information can be a true productivity saver. Call logs can be a great way to track how each professional's time is spent on a daily basis.
Another feature that is especially beneficial to businesses is the ability to route calls from a traditional handset to a cell phone seamlessly. Some VoIP providers take this a step further, offering the ability to set up rules that can allow employees to complete complex actions, such as forwarding certain calls to a cell phone. With a VoIP phone system, a worker can also switch a call from a desk phone to a cell phone without the client realizing a change has happened. With today s always-mobile workforce, this feature can provide a daily productivity boost.
Businesses use both specialized and standard software to complete daily activities. When considering the move to VoIP, they should do a quick inventory of existing software and search for a solution that integrates with that software.
Many businesses rely heavily on Office 365 for documents and email. Some VoIP solutions also integrate with fax software, customer support solutions, and accounting packages. These integrations can reduce duplicate work and keep errors at a minimum.
Transitioning to a VoIP system can save a business significant money each year. Whether a business is considering moving from landlines to VoIP or setting up a brand new system, it s important to learn as much as possible about the features you need and set up a system that meets those needs.