What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a type of technology that allows phone calls to be placed over the internet rather than analog phone lines. This removes the need for arranging a local phone plan with a traditional phone company. Though you’ll still need a VoIP provider, the cost of this is significantly less than a traditional phone service provider.
Advantages of Implementing VoIP
There are many advantages of implementing VoIP into your business routine. As mentioned, it is a low-cost option for businesses and generally costs half or less of a traditional phone plan. For a small business trying to increase savings and boost cash flow, VoIP is a great option. If you make international calls frequently, VoIP also makes financial sense, as international call rates are significantly lower.
With such obvious savings, you may be thinking you have to compromise on quality. This is not the case, as VoIP generally has better, more clear sound quality than a phone call placed using phone lines. It also comes with advanced technology such as calling queues and call recording, which may be useful depending on your industry.
Despite these benefits, one drawback lies in the fact that you need a strong and fast internet connection to reap the benefits of VoIP. If your business is located rurally and a good internet connection is a challenge, VoIP may not be the best option for you.
Steps to Implementing VoIP Into Your Business Routine
You think VoIP is the right option for you, and you’re ready to start integrating it into your business routine. Here’s where you should start:
1 – Know Your VoIP Needs
Depending on your business, existing infrastructure, and budget, you may require one of the following VoIP approaches:
- SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Trunking
- Integrated Services
- PBX (Private Branch Exchange)
Figuring out which one you need can be confusing. The easiest way to identify your needs is to contact either in-house or an external IT services agency. These professionals can assess your current IT structure and business needs and make recommendations accordingly.
2 – Search for Providers
When searching for VoIP providers, there are a few services that you should ensure are included, such as:
- QoS (Quality of Service). This service ensures that call quality is not compromised during moments of weak internet connection.
- Redundancy. In the case of a lost internet connection, call continuity will be ensured by connecting employee mobile phones to a VoIP line so that instantaneous call forwarding may occur.
3 – Obtain References
Once you’ve found a provider you’re interested in, ask them to provide you with references. Ideally, you’ll want to speak to other businesses in your industry to ensure that they’re satisfied with the service they’re receiving from the provider.
4 – Verify SLAs and Support Availability
SLAs (service level agreements) between you and the provider should outline the services they are providing you. Make sure the SLA includes information on the amount of bandwidth, QoS, and the amount of uptime the provider is guaranteeing. You should also ask about the customer support they provide to ensure that you are able to get any potential problems solved as quickly as possible.