If you’ve been experiencing issues with your phone system, it’s most likely time to upgrade. VoIP phones deliver the flexibility and features many companies are looking for and need to best serve their customers. Businesses can choose between hosted and on-premises systems, but deciding which is right for you can be a bit more complicated. It’s important to ask the right questions and consider the correct factors to get down to the answer. Keep reading to see what should be a part of your decision when it comes to VoIP phones.
What Should SMBs Consider with VoIP Phones?
There are a few different aspects small to medium businesses should look for and consider in their VoIP phones that you might not have already thought of, including:
You have a business to run – you need to know the cost of things and also understand your budget. When it comes to VoIP phone plans, on-premises and hosted PBXs have slightly different cost expectations.
With on-premises VoIP, it may be a larger expense upfront, but in the long term, it’s going to be the most cost-effective option as your phone bill will be less each month. With hosted options, you’ll avoid that initial high cost, but pay more over time as your vendor will be handling all your hardware and maintenance for you.
2. Where Your Employees are Working
Are all of your team members in-house? At home? Around the globe? Or is it a mix? This could very well dictate the best direction for your VoIP phone choice. On-premises is fantastic for employees who are all in-house, but it can also be limited on how many remote handsets can be behind the same firewall without a VPN tunnel. A hosted option, though, can be the better choice for remote and hybrid workspaces when employees need to be able to work anywhere at any time.
3. Mobile Capability
Most of us don’t like to give out our personal phone number, but often feel we have to to get any work done. VoIP phones allow you to take advantage of apps that can mean you can make calls, receive calls and text without having to give up your personal phone number (or any of your employees’ numbers).
Some firewalls can ruin the VoIP experience for both employees and customers. They can do weird things like causing calls to disconnect at a 15 minute interval or occassional one way audio. So, making sure you have the right one for the job is essential. Paying attention to this will allow you to have top-notch security, better call quality and segregated VoIP traffic.
5. Network Switches
You’ll also have to give some thought to your network switches. Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches can provide power and data at the same time; non-PoE switches can only transfer data. While you can use a PoE switch, you want to consider exactly how data and power will move through your building and how that will affect your VoIP. Without a PoE switch will require a “brick” or a cord from the phone to a power outlet. It is much simpler with a PoE switch as power is delivered on the same cable as the data and voice.
Let’s discuss how firewalls and network switches impact your business.
Of course, if you don’t have a reliable phone system, your customers are going to get frustrated and probably head for the competition! Not to mention your employees! Reliability is an absolute must when it comes to your VoIP as it will impact just about every area of your business.
7. Existing Cable Infrastructure
What does your cabling infrastructure look like? Where do you want your phones? All of this comes into play because your existing infrastructure may very well impact the type of VoIP you go with and how your provider installs your new system.
8. Other Capabilities, Needs and Wants
Businesses should also give thought to their needs and wants in a VoIP phone system, beyond just the basics. For instance, some companies could benefit from:
Automated calls, texts and emails to on-call employees
On-premises systems are capable of texts and emails, while hybrid systems can automate calls. Some hosted PBX options have the capacity to continue to call the on-call employee every 15 minutes until the voicemail is cleared.
This works well with existing systems but is a lot more difficult to use with hosted compared to on-premises. If you have a line out from your existing phone system that plugs into an amplifier and then to speakers, hosted systems struggle with this while an on-premise typically comes with a similar line out option.
Interactive voice response (IVR)
IVR is excellent if you need call trees, have to route calls to certain areas of your business or want to easily transfer customers to other departments. This is the Press 1 for support option.
Which VoIP Phone System is Right for You?
All the different factors above should be considered to make an informed decision about your VoIP, but even still, you might not be quite sure what system to go with. Working with a managed IT services company in Nashville that understands your phone needs and the different VoIP phone options out there can be beneficial to your productivity, efficiency, customer service and bottom line. Tech Squared can help you do just that – we work with businesses like yours to direct them to the best resources out there for VoIP phones.