Which is the best VoIP solution and what to look for?
Every UK phone line will be migrating to VoIP by 2025, so what should you look for in a new system?
We suggest looking at what you specifically need from your VoIP solution. You will surely need the ability to make and receive calls. However, other things, like being able to record calls may not be necessary for your business.
Making and Receiving calls reliably.
Don’t take this for granted!
Historically the provision of phone services has been restricted to a small number of large national companies. With slight variations in reliability and support.
VoIP has opened the market up to a much larger network of companies. It is perfectly feasible for a teenager in their bedroom to set up a VoIP server. It is important that you look at who it is you are dealing with, and the infrastructure behind the service.
You shouldn’t always opt for large VoIP providers.
We’ve all been stuck in an endless queue being told how important our call is. When you do get through, it is to an anonymous script monkey who can’t answer a simple question. Insisting on running through their script without deviation.
There is a happy middle ground. You could try looking a smaller independent company with a proven track record over a period of time and the infrastructure to cope with growth and changes in technology.
Basic VoIP System Functionality
Your requirements will likely differ from other users, you may want a physical phone, if you are always working at a computer you may prefer a desktop app, while those out and about may want to be able to make and receive calls on their mobile. In some cases you might want a combination of all of the above.
Looking at a VoIP system that doesn’t offer all of these? Be aware that you may find yourself restricted down the line. Therefore, you might want to consider options that will offer you more flexibility in the future.
Moving from Analogue Phone to VoIP for the first time?
Some things such as hunt groups and virtual switchboards may be a novelty – but can be a great addition to your business communication toolkit. When used effectively they will improve communication with your customers, ensuring that no call goes unanswered. In the unlikely event your customers can’t reach you, You or anyone with the notification email address can listen to the voicemails.
Most VoIP systems provide this functionality, but some will charge extra so check the details.
Call recording, Call queueing, Call stats
You can now access tools such as call queueing, call stats and call recording at a minimal cost. While they may not be relevant to every business, if you need these tools, just make sure that your VoIP system includes them.
We’ve talked about the business and infrastructure behind the service and also the functionality of the system, what about price?
As mentioned, there many smaller companies jumping into the VoIP market, which means greater competition for customers – and so the potential for lower prices, which is great right?
Not so fast! As with most things in life you get what you pay for – to a an extent anyway.
A big company with deep pockets offering a cheap service could be an interesting option, as they might do it to gain market share but should have resources to supply a good service – just consider whether or not cheap will remain cheap in this situation.
A small company offering a cheap service should be a warning sign – if they don’t make enough, will they survive, and what will be the impact on your business? How are they offering it so cheaply? There are two possibilities, neither of them good:
1: by not investing in the infrastructure of the service and the business itself
2: by cutting back on expensive support staff.
Both are likely to impact the service you receive.
On the flip-side, large companies could be milking their dominant position as a ‘trusted brand’ by charging a premium.
The middle ground
Smaller independent companies can offer more competitive pricing whilst also a great service. The key is to check out the company you are looking to work with. You should be looking at a long term partnership to avoid disruptions of switching suppliers every 12 or 24 months to save a few pounds.
Finally, the devil is in the detail. You should check the small print for any hidden costs, is it an introductory rate which is bound to increase?
In summary, we recommend you look at the bigger picture. Make sure the VoIP system provides what you need for your business. Also, that the company providing it has a good reputation and is a company you want to work with going forwards.
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