VoIP (Voice over IP Telephony) is growing in popularity on a daily basis - and when you consider the benefits it has to offer businesses, it's easy to see why. It's efficient, scalable, and cost-effective. Even so, it's important to put in the homework before you integrate a VoIP package into your business, to make sure that you're getting the right service for your needs. Not all VoIP packages are equal - VoIP is a highly customisable technology. This means that how it's implemented depends on your individual requirements.
Here's what you should consider, to ensure you're getting the right service for you.
Know your bandwidth requirements
It's important to accurately assess the bandwidth necessary to comfortably handle the volume of calls you expect your business to get on a daily basis. If you overestimate this, it could lead to you paying for a service for which you don't really have any need - no business wants to waste money. But, conversely, if you underestimate your bandwidth needs you could encounter poor voice quality on your calls, as well as unreliable and unresponsive connectivity from your internet connection.
Finding the right balance is essential - you don't want to pay for service that you have no need for. But, it's always wise to account for unexpected peaks in your communication, and for your business' expected growth. If you have any doubts, it's best to ask your VoIP provider what their minimum bandwidth requirement is, and what they suggest you need.
Ensure business continuity
VoIP is very reliable technology, but no system is infallible. There may be times where, for one reason or another, your system goes down. This could be planned, for example, maintenance or upgrade work being done on your phone lines. Or, it could be unexpected, such as an equipment malfunction. In either case, it's important that you're able to keep in contact with customers and continue to operate your business until the issue has been rectified. Failure to consider this could lead to drops in productivity and damage to your brand image.
Business continuity is arguably a cornerstone service of any VoIP provider, so make sure you understand exactly how your provider intends to keep you in contact with the world if your VoIP system goes down. A common example would be re-routing communication through employee mobile phones. Be sure you're totally familiar with the business continuity services your provider has in place as a part of your VoIP package.
Understand VoIP security
As with all forms of communication that use an internet connection, VoIP is liable to be targeted by data thieves and hackers if the connection is not secured. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, spamming, phishing, and call hacking are all serious issues faced by VoIP users who do not take proper security precautions. Things you can do to help keep your connection as secure as possible include improving your firewalls, upgrading to a fibre internet connection, and making sure you understand the signs of VoIP hack.
Your VoIP provider will also have an active role to play in ensuring your service is as secure as possible. It's always wise to make a point of asking what security protocols they have in place as standard. Some companies may have additional security services available as added extras to your VoIP package - considering the cost of all security breaches, it may prove to be a worthwhile investment.
Available package extras
There's no real such thing as a "standard" VoIP telephony package - all businesses have different communications requirements, and as such, no two VoIP systems will be configured in the same way. Ask your VoIP provider about the kind of services that are available for you - some providers may have tiered packages, or you may be able to build your own depending on the specific services you need. Make a note of the requirements that you have, so you can ensure your provider is able to satisfy them all.
Common examples of things that you might want to have as a part of your VoIP package might be voicemail to email transcription - or other data integration - as well as automatic call distribution, voice recognition, remote management, or video chat. Discuss this with your VoIP provider to see what services they offer, and what you can make the best use of as a part of your VoIP package.
Investment over cost
The way you think about VoIP has a lot to do with the quality of the service you're ultimately given. If you think of it as a cost, you're going to fall into the trap of shopping by price alone. While price always needs to be a consideration, it shouldn't be a deciding factor. If a business is offering you an unusually low price, it means they're having to make sacrifices somewhere in their service to achieve it. This may result in bad voice quality on calls, unreliable service, and unreachable support.
It's much better to consider VoIP as an investment because that's what it is. Investing in good quality VoIP services allows you an efficient and reliable alternative to standard telephony systems. If you spend the money to ensure you have quality service, that's properly secured, and you have access to proper levels of customer service - you'll find your business much easier to operate and grow.
Remember to seek advice
If you're unfamiliar with VoIP systems - whether it be what they are, how they're used, or how they can be best integrated into your business - it's always best to ask for help from a professional. You need to have a clear understanding of the facts before you're able to make an informed decision about what's best for you. So if you don't have a clear grasp of VoIP, reach out and ask a professional service provider for advice.
If you would like further advice on how you could best integrate VoIP communication into your business, or you'd like to learn more about the right VoIP package for you, get in touch today.