Is a VoIP Phone System Right for You in 2018?

You might be considering a VoIP business phone system if your current system is nearing the end of its life, if your bills have risen sky high, or if you’re unhappy with the provider.

In a nutshell, here’s how landlines and hosted VoIP compare.

Landline or ISDN over PSTN Hosted VoIP
Pros:

  • Stable, reliable old technology
  • Few outages
  • Easy 911 service
  • Works when the power’s out
Pros:

  • Much less expensive than landlines
  • Limited physical infrastructure
  • Mobile capability
  • Can improve efficiency
  • Integrates with your workflow
  • Auto attendants for caller self-service
  • Upgrades, maintenance done by host
  • Unifies communication among enterprise social networking, texting, messaging, web video conferencing
Cons:

  • Tied to physical office
  • Pay for service, plus calls
  • Pay for add-on services
  • Need hardware onsite
  • Upgrades, maintenance required onsite
  • Limited features and no development.
  • Doesn’t support Unified Communications
Cons:

  • Competes for bandwidth with other business activities such as email
  • Potential for voice quality issues if not resourced properly.
  • Need a reliable internet connection
  • Need a provider that’s enabled E911

 

Things to Consider Before Moving to VoIP Business Phones

Before you make the leap, though, there are some things you need to consider.

If all you do is make and receive a few calls a day, the phone system you already use probably suits you just fine. However, if you make or receive many calls, see your business needs expanding, or are spreading your communication services among multiple solutions you could get an efficiency boost by moving to a VoIP business phone system because of the features you can find.

Integration with Apps / Unified Communications

We use loads of tools to communicate — voice calls, instant messaging, conferencing, social media, email, and more. When all these apps are integrated into a VoIP phone system, it’s called unified communications, or UC, and it makes life easier. With UC, we have access to all the tools we need, regardless of the device we’re using.

Some VoIP providers offer UC, some don’t. Which you choose depends on what’s important to your workflows. If you answer yes to any of the following, a provider that offers UC with its VoIP business phone system is your best bet.

  • Is having customer information at your fingertips as soon as the phone rings important?
  • Could you benefit from time savings that come with click-to-talk, click-to-call, click-to-conference?
  • Would you save time knowing who was available or busy before trying to call them?
  • Could you reduce travel costs by using video and voice conferencing with your remote workers and clients?
  • Would your sales team benefit if calls to their office phone when they’re on the road were automatically transferred to their cell phone?

The real benefit of app integration into a VoIP system comes from the integration itself. Usually we use an email client, a chat application, a social media platform, a conferencing solution and a telephone as standalone processes. This creates “a lot of inefficiency, duplicated effort and wasted time. Not only does this lower workplace productivity, it also reduces the return on investment for the underlying technologies,”  says Jon Arnold, principal of Canada-based J Arnold & Associates, an independent telecom analyst and strategy consultancy.

Call Routing/Call Management

Call control is the heart of a VoIP phone system. It determines how and where to route calls and maintains the connections. It’s what lets you specify actions such as call forwarding, restarting a call, or enabling video conferencing.

With call control, you:

  • Centralize the management of internal and external communication
  • Ensure customers have a consistent experience every time they contact your company
  • Have access to multiple apps on a single, centralized platform
  • Simplify maintenance and provisioning
  • Make call routing easy and automatic

Support

A VoIP business phone system isn’t nearly as complex as a public switched telephone network, or PSTN, but sometimes issues can arise related to voice call quality or dropped calls — certainly not something you want to experience. So, you need to consider the support a provider will offer. Will your provider:

  • Be familiar with your system and your business?
  • Be able to fix an internet issue or just refer you to your ISP?
  • Refer you to their online customer forum for answers to your questions instead of talking with you?
  • Provide onboarding and training?
  • Be available for questions 24/7/365?

Expansion Potential

With a PSTN system, once you’ve used all your extensions, you’ll need to buy a new system if you want to expand. These don’t come cheap. With a VoIP business system, all you need is another VoIP phone and seat charge. Voila! You’re good to go.

This means it’s also easy to expand to an additional location. Rather than needing a whole new, expensive phone system installed — that your current provider may or may not be able to do. And, if you need a second provider, that adds additional stress. It could also mean you’ll need to dial entire phone numbers to call between locations rather than just extensions.

Some VoIP providers make it very easy to call between offices, using just an extension, which can save seconds per call. If one makes many internal calls a week, those few seconds add up.

Total Cost of Ownership

When you’re deciding whether you want to purchase outright and manage your VoIP service on your own or have a hosting provider do the heavy lifting, you need to look at the total cost of ownership, or TCO. To do this, consider the:

  • Ongoing monthly fee for the host, who does maintenance, upgrades, patches, etc.
  • Extensive outlay to purchase own equipment
  • Costs of installation, system design, maintenance, upgrades, customizations
  • Ease with which network application developers can “develop and deploy emerging applications for data communication”,  resulting in reduced development costs

Choosing the Right Provider

There are good VoIP business phone providers, there are bad ones, and there are a few great ones. You want a great one and to get the one best suited to your needs, you’ll want a provider that:

  • Takes time to understand how and why your employees use their phone
  • Can add features and integrations as you need them
  • Has a proven track record and multiple points of presence

Take a look at 6 Important Considerations When Choosing a Business VoIP Provider for a detailed explanation of choosing the right provider for you.

When You’ve Decided to Go With VoIP

Give Voxter a call at 866-381-8647. We’ll answer your questions, explain how we work, and we’ll offer suggestions. No hard sell, just lots of good information and custom-designed, quality, VoIP business phone systems.