There is much talk on the internet about VoIP (Voice over IP) and how it can save you money. Using a hosted VoIP phone servicehowever has many more benefits to your business.
Rather than use traditional telephone lines, VoIP uses an internet connection to make and receive phone calls. The number of concurrent users or calls you can have depends on the speed and quality of your internet connection. You can still make and receive phone calls to and from traditional phone numbers using this service. Calls between VoIP users on your service are generally free.
Lower Setup Costs
Unlike traditional telephone systems (PBX), hosted VoIP systems have very minimal setup costs which can typically cost £2,000-£3,000 for a modest system. Unless you require any cabling to be done on-site it is quite common for you to be able to plug in your new pre-configured phone. The setup cost of the service itself can be a fraction of a traditional system.
Handsets themselves typically cost in the region of £85 for a standard desk phone to around £100-£150 for a Dect based portable handset.
Starting from a single user you can add more users as you need them – allowing you to create a virtual telephone system in the cloud where all users can make and receive calls just like you would expect to.
These users don’t have to be tied to one location. As long as you have a reasonable internet connection you can connect a VoIP phone. So your users can work in different locations, from home or at a customer’s site. With the added option of smart phone apps you can also be part of your phone system whilst you are out on the road.
Twinning options, where your desk phone and your mobile ring simultaneously are also widely available.
Ease of Use
Most hosted VoIP systems give you access to a web-based portal where non-technical users can change the way their extension works. You can forward your calls to a colleague based on certain conditions, change your voicemail handling such as forwarding messages via email, manage groups (e.g. hunt groups) and much more. There is no need to call in the “phone guy” when you need anything changed. Of course the best VoIP providers give you access to a helpdesk should you need help.
What Other Features are Available?
Many of the features you would expect are available such as call logging, auto attendant, voicemail, call forwarding, divert, time based routing are available
Choosing a VoIP Provider
Like choosing any service you need to look at all the facts – don’t just buy on price. There are a lot of providers offering cheap systems. If your business is going to rely on the telephone make sure that you make your choice based on reputation. If you are going to invest in a number of extensions on your hosted VoIP system, ask the supplier if they are willing to show you the system before you sign up.
Focus on the main features you will really need – nice clear, reliable phone calls right? Some providers are rich on features but don’t necessarily get the basics right.