Have you been considering the switch from a traditional phone provider to a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service? You couldn’t have picked a better time to upgrade your systems and enable your teams to excel in their responsibilities.
The there are almost too many benefits of using a virtual PBX system to count, and you get them all at a much lower cost than you do with your current traditional landline provider.
Keep reading to learn how you can set up a VoIP phone service for small business. We cover the top 6 questions you should ask as you start considering a new VoIP service.
First Things First: How Many Users?
Before you can start thinking about budgets, prices or equipment, you need to figure out how many users will be on the new VoIP system. Most VoIP companies base their feature sets and price points off the number of users you have, so it’s best to make the calculations early in the process.
This should be a fairly easy process, but it’s better to plan for the higher number if you aren’t sure on specifics. That way you get what you need and you won’t have to go through all these steps again if you counted too low.
Riding the Lines: Is Your Internet Fast Enough?
By now, you probably already know what VoIP is and how it runs. If you don’t, let’s do a quick review.
Essentially, VoIP is phone service over the internet instead of through physical landlines. And since it operates on the internet, it can provide you with a myriad of additional features that you’d never get with traditional phone services.
Since VoIP relies on the internet to work, the first thing you need to do is figure out if your office’s internet is even fast enough to handle the volume of users you’ll be placing on the new system. You won’t want to get everything installed just to find that all of your reps are getting sub-par call quality because your connection can’t handle more than browsing the web.
To answer this question, you’ll first need to know how fast your upload speeds are. If you aren’t sure what kind of speeds you pay for, simply visit any number of free online speed tests from a computer connected to your office’s internet. Pay close attention to the upload speed (or bandwidth).
For 500 users, you’ll need at least 30 Mbps of upload speed. For 100, you’ll need at least 10 Mbps. Of course, as you add users, the amount of bandwidth you need will also increase. Keep that in mind as you make changes to you plan.
It’s All About the Money: What’s Your Budget?
You knew it was coming! It’s time to talk about your VoIP budget. If there’s one thing VoIP providers are good at (other than providing internet-powered telephone service), it’s giving you a ton of different options, including premium features, add ons and a la carte options. If you don’t have a set budget before going into pricing discussions, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed from the get-go.
Keep in mind that the best-selling VoIP plans often cost around $30-$40 per user, with premium plans ranging up to $70-$80 per user. This price fluctuates greatly depending on what features you need, which brings us to our next point.
All the Options: What Features Do You Need?
Choosing all the specific features of a new VoIP can be intimidating to say the least, especially if you’ve never done it before. So, instead of cherry-picking specific features, spend time writing down a list of what you want to get out of your new virtual PBX. What do you want your team to be able to do? What’s the end goal? Since VoIP services offer so many different features with just as many applications, the purpose behind the switch is just as important as anything else.
Once you’ve got this list solidified, it’s time to hit Google and start researching. If you’re looking for a system that can be used on the go, start researching what kind of mobile apps and functionalities are available. If you want conference calling and video calls for your remote teams, find features that fit those needs.
Ready To Buy: Which Company is the Best?
It’s essentially impossible to define the “best” VoIP company, especially when you consider the sheer number of applications a VoIP phone system can provide. There are two questions that you should consider above all else when picking a company:
- Do their plans meet your budget?
- Do their features meet your needs?
You can also consider their customer service and support options and customer reviews. Finding a good VoIP provider can take a lot of time researching different options and making a lot of calls. At times, this can seem really tedious, but don’t let it force you into settling! This is a big purchase, and you’ll want to do it right.
After the Contract: What’s Next?
After you sign your contract with your new VoIP provider, you’ll need to go through the installation and setup process. You’ll also need to purchase equipment or find out if your existing equipment works with the provider you’ve selected. Don’t worry! These steps are fairly easy to go through since your VoIP provider will be there with you every step of the way.
Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as you need to understand the new system and ensure everything is set up correctly. And remember, if you encounter any problems after setup, you can always reach out to your provider’s technical support lines.
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