Lots of companies are embracing agility and working to facilitate a more flexible work environment. To that end, a new VoIP solution makes a lot of sense. If you’re looking to replace your legacy phone system with a shiny new VoIP system, here are nine questions you should ask your potential service provider.
When you get a VoIP system, your business can either buy and operate your own phone equipment, or you can tap into your provider’s VoIP PBX with cloud-based hosted solutions.
There are good reasons for either, but the basic differences is that owning your own equipment gives you more control but are more of a challenge to upgrade. By contrast, a cloud-based hosted solution gives you somewhat less control, as it is managed by the VoIP provider, but they’re able to upgrade more quickly and scale effortlessly. Also, keep in mind that a hosted solution isn’t tied to your location, so you can move offices easily, grow faster, and handle circumstances where your office is damaged or in some way imperilled.
Tech Tip: A PBX is the call routing equipment that handles calls inside your office. Hosted PBXs are the cloud version of that device. An IP PBX enables you to use SIP Trunking.
Start by looking at the terms of your contract with your current provider. What are the cancellation fees, contract lengths, and termination policies? Will you be allowed to port out numbers? You’ll have to do some math and a little pro/con thinking. But keep this in mind: lots of businesses end up feeling stuck with an insufficient provider because they don’t feel confident enough to walk away.
If there is a service disruption, how will you be notified? Where can you find current information about scope and scale of such disruptions? Are there multiple ways of sharing up to date information? Is there a clear escalation path or some kind of ticketing system for resolutions to technical problems?
You can always expect technical problems. That’s why it’s important to look into how these will be solved. Ideally, your potential provider will have case studies you can look at, or even put you in touch with current customers.
Scale and agility are major advantages to VoIP solutions. How fast can your potential provider roll out changes, updates, or just add more seats?
Affordable line pricing and channel bursting options with SIP Trunking technology can reduce your phone bills by up to 60% depending on your legacy phone system. SIP trunks provide flexibility when planning for seasonal peaks and lows for phone line usage.
Basically, a potential provider can look at your current set up and use it as a model. Combine that with your anticipated growth, and you can project a safe number of lines that can be used to draw up a quote.
Work from home policies are something all businesses must consider. Whether you’re one hundred per cent remote, you have a highly mobile sales force, or you have a hybrid system where employees can work from either the office or home but must keep their numbers no matter where they work, a Hosted PBX can offer power solutions. Ask about features like advanced call routing, find me follow me, hunting groups, and more. Many VoIP providers will offer seamless unified communications, which will help teams keep in contact with voice calls, voice notes, instant messaging, and more.
Make a list of what you need for your business to be productive. It may include things like video conferences, call forwarding, a system dashboard, reporting, CRM integration, management, monitoring . . . well, you get the idea. Figure out what you need and find out if your potential providers offer these. Make sure you take advantage of all that VoIP has to offer by choosing a solution with features capable of fully supporting your business. And don’t forget to ask providers which features are included in each package and whether any services come à la carte.
Moving to a new phone system can seem overwhelming. Maybe that’s why so many businesses seem resigned to sub-par systems. But a good provider has done thousands of deployments and knows how to handle them. Find out how they do their deployments, what they recommend, and how much they’ll work with you to plan installations. Do they perform network analysis? Do they offer real time media assessments, which can find out if your current network can do a good job of supporting an increase in video conferencing, voice calls, and remote boardrooms? Do they organise adoption workshops? What about administrator training? You know that a big component of rolling out a new system is employee training and morale, so find a partner who will help your employees get comfortable with a new system.
The right provider will ask you about your business goals and productivity objectives. The best ones will understand the pain points of your industry. By talking about the future of your business, you can find out how they can support your growth. Maybe there’s a cloud based contact centre on your horizon. Or maybe you have data centre needs. Ideally, you want a VoIP provider who will grow with you, not just another provider or plan you’ll outgrow.
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