Your small business needs to move beyond using individual smartphones and a basic landline for your customer and sales calls, and luckily you have many choices when deciding which type of phone system to use for your business. Many small businesses shy away from traditional PBX systems due to the cost, complexity, and overhead involves, but you aren’t forced into this in order to provide the support your customers require and facilitate interoffice communication. According to Mikogo, more than 50 percent of small businesses are considering VoIP implementation.These systems provide lower upfront costs, have limited onsite hardware requirements and offer a wide range of features and integration. The main problem you run into when considering VoIP is what vendor, or vendors, to choose for your telecommunication needs.
Do You Want Onsite or Cloud-Based? (Or a Little Bit of Both?)
Your first VoIP choice is whether you’re sticking with an on-premise solution or if you want your VoIP in the cloud. An on-premise solution introduces additional infrastructure and hardware demands, which can increase your upfront costs.However, you limit your dependency on the vendor for support, which can be attractive if you already have IT resources in place to handle VoIP deployment and maintenance. If you don’t have the resources, be it for ongoing support or simply the space for an onsite system, cloud-based VoIP solutions remove these concerns from the equation. If you choose a cloud-based VoIP, research the company’s reliability and downtime statistics to determine whether they’re the right choice for a critical business function like phone systems.
Keep an Eye on Scaling
How scalable is the VoIP solution? Small business growth is not always predictable, especially if you’re aggressively marketing using online channels. All it takes is a bit of viral momentum and you’re looking at exponential growth. If youdon’t want to be caught unawares with a phone system that can’t handle the load, look into how easy it is to scale the system. On-demand scaling gives you the best flexibility, especially if you can adjust your capacity for what you need instead of a maximum-capacity tier.
Voice Quality Is Key
Poor voice quality leads to customer dissatisfaction, miscommunication between employees and other kinds of frustrations. While many VoIP vendors have long laundry lists of features, start with the most basic and important aspect of the service: voice quality. Without good voice quality, you could add every VoIP feature in existence and still be unhappy with thevendor. If you run into quality issues with every VoIP solution, confirm that your infrastructure can properly handle VoIP and you aren’t being held back by legacy hardware or other infrastructure problems.
Small Business Support
VoIP solutions are popular across all business sizes, which is important to keep in mind when you explore your vendor options. A VoIP vendor specializing in enterprise businesses may not pay much attention to its “small-fry” business accounts. You don’t want to be left high and dry with a company who doesn’t pay enough attention to its small businessclients, especially if you use a cloud-based system and you’re dependent on the vendor for support inquires. Look for vendors with client lists that encompass small businesses, or who have a healthy mix without complaints of customer support issues.
Your communications system forms the backbone of your entire business, both internally and externally, so carefully consider your VoIP vendor selections before committing to a solution. You want a solution with sufficient support, scalability and voice quality so your business gets the system it needs.