More and more business are moving their telephone service over to the internet. Before you make the decision to switch your service, I wanted you to have a basic understanding on what information you should have to make the right decision.
Features – The best way to know what features you need is to understand how your business works. Having that understanding, you’ll be better able to choose a service that provides the features that you’ll actually use. If you don’t have a receptionist, an auto attendant feature can handle incoming calls. “Hot Desking” is the ability of logging into anyone’s phone and have it appear as your own. This feature works great for medical practices who have rotating staff working the front desk. Voicemails converted to email can speed up your call handling and create easily retrievable call records. If you have a mobile employee base, mobile twinning (sending calls to both a cell phone and desk phone at the same time) will allow for quicker response time. These are just a small sample of features available. More are coming everyday. By understanding how your office flows and what image you want to project to outside callers, you will be better able to choose the right feature set for your phone system.
Equipment – Many VoIP vendors also sell or lease phones with their service. It is best to do your research on the brands offered for quality and reliability. Weigh the benefits of proprietary equipment vs independent brands. Understand the budget impacts of purchasing the equipment versus leasing it. Analyze the phone needs of your employees: Does each user on the system need a fancy phone with lots of features or can they do their job with a just two or three features. A good provider should be able to offer multiple phone options as your business grows and expands.
Call Quality – This is where the rubber meets the road. You can have all the coolest and latest features available but if your callers experience poor VoIP call quality, your business will be negatively impacted. VoIP uses your internet connection to handle phone calls as well as all of your internet traffic. It is important to size your internet service appropriately. Some carriers provide an extra layer of call quality by using a managed router. Make sure you know the difference between managed and unmanaged services, there can be a big difference in call quality.
After the Sale – Before deciding on a vendor, research what other customers experience is with the vendors you are looking at. Make sure you know how long the provider has been in business, how many customers they support as well as the types of customers.
Pricing – Telecom providers can offer confusing pricing schedules and bundles. The best solution to getting the best price is to fully understand what you need. If you buy less or more than you need, you are wasting your money. The other factor in pricing is the length of contract. This is a balancing act between the lower pricing of a long term contract versus being locked into a solution. This is where knowing the reliability of the company after the sale, the quality of the service, and the ability of the contract to support your company’s growth and changes.
Summary – This is just an overview to show you that there are a lot of things to consider when start thinking about changing your phone service. Our advice is take the time to understand how your business communicates. You’ll be in a better position to make decisions though the sales process.
Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.
John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.