You already know that VoIP allows you to make all your business telephone calls using your internet connection, meaning you can make and take calls from almost anywhere. The biggest strengths of VoIP phone systems are the flexibility they offer you in these key areas
- scaling up or down
- integrations (and unified communications)
This flexibility is great for your business, however the many options you’re faced with can make choosing the right VoIP phone system a little daunting.
We’re always happy to use our expertise to help our customers get the right system for their business, so we’ve put together a simple guide. Read on for straightforward advice on making the best decision based on your business needs.
VoIP for sole traders and start-ups
In terms of telephony needs, many sole traders and start-ups are quite similar. Both are looking for a solution that is cost-effective for small numbers of people and, as neither group tends to invest heavily in premises, it’s important for both to be able to make business calls on the go.
A cloud-hosted VoIP system will work well for most sole traders and start-ups. The service provider is responsible for all equipment and maintenance, taking this completely off your hands. Also it is quick to set up as it requires no physical infrastructure and means you’re not landed with the up-front infrastructure costs of an on-site VoIP system.
In terms of the features that come with a VoIP system, sole traders and start ups will want to take advantage of the ability to use the same business telephone number, regardless of where you’re calling from, rather than relying on a personal mobile phone number. This will give your business extra credibility and professionalism.
Other features like call forwarding, voicemail and video conferencing will also help you to smoothly manage your customer communications. On the other hand, if you need your budget to go a long way as you get your business established, you can stick to the essentials and not add in unnecessary features.
VoIP for Small to medium sized businesses (SMEs)
For SMEs, your first choice is between a cloud-hosted VoIP system or an on-site system with your own private branch exchange at your business premises. If you have established offices on one site and need a lot of control over your telephony equipment, or have especially stringent security requirements, then an on-site VoIP system may be a good choice. The biggest downside is that you will be responsible for maintaining your telephony infrastructure and for all disaster recovery planning.
With a cloud-hosted VoIP system, your service provider is responsible for maintenance and fixing any issues, freeing you from these potential stresses. Because you don’t need to purchase or install physical equipment, it is also cheaper and faster to add new users to a cloud-hosted system.
Either type of VoIP system is very flexible in supporting hybrid working arrangements, making it easy for you to support employees to work remotely without a big outlay. VoIP software allows your people to make and take business calls from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection. With security provided by native encryption, all your standard business communications will be protected.
The most valuable VoIP features for SMEs are options like call forwarding, time of day call routing, automated attendants which all reduce the amount of time spent getting your callers to the right person. They also provide an extra level of professionalism in your customer interactions, therefore enhancing your reputation and customer service.
Going one step further, by choosing a VoIP system that integrates with other software solutions, you can easily create a unified communications system that saves your people time and increases their productivity. The best part is, there are some very cost-effective options available for smaller business. ITS, for example, have developed a system that’s designed with SMEs in mind.
VoIP for large organisations
The two key considerations for bringing in a new VoIP system to a larger organisation are
- cost-efficiency: can you find ways to make savings?
- productivity: what features will remove mundane admin and repetitive tasks for your people?
A VoIP system that fits your organisation’s needs can save you money, not only on the contract itself but also by offering valuable analytics: reviewing user-level usage metrics across your message, video and phone platform can help you identify where to scale up and where to scale down.
You can also save costs and/or increase productivity by making the most of the features a VoIP system offers. As a company grows, so do its requirements for call routing. The time spent (and therefore cost) of transferring callers to the right person or department can be significantly reduced with features like
- time of day routing – automatically send incoming calls to different destinations
- automated call attendant – which can free up your reception team for other tasks
- call park and pick-up – employees can transfer calls to another device themselves
You will also want to consider integrations between your telephone system and other business services, like your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database, providing a powerful unified communications system that integrates with most other well-known business systems.
Other considerations: the right VoIP set-up for …
We all know that even within the category of SME, let along large organisations, each business can have very different needs. Here are some other business requirements to consider.
Employees who travel a lot
If you have a large sales team or a delivery team who spend a lot of time visiting clients, your priority for them will be allowing them to stay connected when out on the road.
This is the case for a client of ours, Brentwood Communications. With 40 staff employed across three sites, they needed desk telephone for office and administration staff as well as mobile applications for their technician teams.
Large numbers of remote workers
Hybrid and remote work are here to stay and many businesses find their employees are more productive when they have reasonable flexibility to work how and where they want.
Your ideal VoIP system will:
- be part of an effective unified communications system
- ideally offer browser based access to all your communications systems, so your employees have the same user experience wherever they are
- allow your people to use their business number for calls wherever they have internet
- support a professional point of contact no matter where your people are working
Communication between satellite offices
If your organisation is based at multiple sites, you want to consider how to use VoIP in the most efficient way to manage communications between sites.
Choosing a cloud-based VoIP platform (rather than an on-site private branch exchange) removes the need to consider your different premises as separate sites. From a telephony point of view, your head quarters and all your satellite offices are all on one single company telephone system, accessed using the internet.
Security for highly sensitive data
If you transfer a lot of highly sensitive data, for example financial or health data, you will have particularly stringent security requirements. In this case, hosting your VoIP system on-site may be the best option.
This gives you more control over how your communications network can be accessed, the devices that can be connected and the level of security you apply to your system.
Get professional advice
If you’d like some help navigating the options, contact our friendly team. At ITS we have all the expertise needed to make the right choice for your business.