What Do I Need to do to Migrate my Small Business to VoIP?
What is VoIP?
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology allows users to make and receive calls using an internet connection. These analog or cloud-based phone systems also provide video and chat communication tools to improve business collaborations by centralizing communication tools in one easy-to-use, affordable platform.
Cloud-based VoIP providers are becoming the most embraced business communication option for companies of all sizes. Landline and traditional on-site PBX systems are being phased out increasingly every year due to the vast benefits of VoIP such as robust feature sets, cost savings, and impressive productivity hikes.
Whether you have a small business or an international enterprise, there is a VoIP solution provider on the market to fulfill your needs and improve your business communications with new features and efficiencies.
All of the features offered by VoIP phone service providers are the tools that will help enhance your company’s communications. While your business needs, users, and budget will all work together to help you choose the best VoIP phone services for your business.
How do you transition to VoIP?
Follow the steps below to implement your VoIP phone system without a hitch:
1. Plan the move: do extensive research and collaboration with your team to plan out how to execute the migration to VoIP
2. Test your internet connection strength: your VoIP phone system is only as good as your internet connection. Ensure that you have enough broadband to handle the data load of call center software.
3. Prepare the network infrastructure: you may need to invest in a specific router to handle your VoIP system’s call load. Consult with your ISP about how to upgrade your network infrastructure to handle the impending load increase.
4. Find the right VoIP provider: we can help you narrow down the top VoIP service provider that will suit your company’s needs.
5. Take advantage of business phone features such as an auto-attendant, IVR (interactive voice response), automatic call forwarding, call queues, voicemail forwarding, etc.
6. Choose the correct hardware: your new VoIP system may require you to upgrade your existing communication hardware. Mind the business expense that comes with such an undertaking and go with a solution that will allow your business to scale up when required.
7. Staff training: your staff will need extensive training on how to operate the VoIP phone system. Most VoIP phone service providers will help your company with employee training.
8. Install the VoIP system: with all the preparation out of the way, now it is time to implement your VoIP phone system. This could be as easy as plugging in a few devices or downloading the relevant apps if you’re using a cloud-based system.
How do I set up VoIP for my business?
First, you need to decide whether you will use a hosted or an equipment-based solution. Hosted solutions are becoming extremely popular as you do not need to purchase new equipment, but many IT managers enjoy the control they retain with an in-house equipment-based solution.
If your small business decides on an equipment-based solution you may need to purchase business VoIP phones and a router or switch. Medium-sized companies may need to implement a server for voicemail and another for call management.
If you currently have PSTN business-grade phones in place it may be possible to integrate them into your solution.
We have listed below 5 steps to setting up a VoIP phone system:
- Chose a phone number
This could be your company’s existing number or a new number specially dedicated to your VoIP phone system.
- Add users to your phone system
you will have to add all of the users that will be using your VoIP phone system solution and set up permissions based on the level of authority for extra security measures.
- Route incoming calls using a call flow
Call flow is a visual map of features that dictate how your VoIP phone system handles incoming calls. These are customizable solutions that can be tweaked depending on your company’s call system priorities. Some such features are:
- Auto-attendant that allows callers to route themselves to the relevant parties.
- Call queues allow callers to stay on hold until the next agent is available. This is a great feature if you’re anticipating a high call volume. You can add a caller waiting for music, record calls, and inform the caller about their position in line.
- Hunt groups allow callers to reach a specific person via an extension or redirect that call to different relevant personnel.
- Schedule-based call routing allows your business to route calls to the call center during normal business hours and routes calls to an answering service or voicemail during off-business hours.
- Set up the equipment
A VoIP phone system can be deployed via traditional analog phones using a VoIP adapter or be completely virtual on a cloud-based VoIP service. Businesses and users have increased flexibility using a virtual VoIP phone with the ability for a business to reach any customer base and provide adequate customer service. It also can be a unique feature that can help your company operate a remote call center or completely outsource the task.
Most companies use a hybrid model of both physical and virtual phone systems to reliably serve their customers.
- Integrate with other apps
VoIP phone systems allow a suite of business features to make doing business easier.
Such features include:
- Group chat with your preferred chat service (ex: Slack)
- Storage integration options (Ex: Google drive/Dropbox integration)
- Payment processor integration can allow you to collect payments over the phone.
- Google sheet integration can be useful to evaluate call center performance.
Such integrations might seem like a tedious task that can be best handled by your IT team. All of these features can be accessed using a convenient dashboard to make your business communication more seamless than ever.
If you believe that a VoIP phone system is the right option for your company’s communication strategy, you can consult with our phone system buyer’s guide to help you select the right options. You may also compare the top VoIP phone system vendors to compare the features of each service and ensure that you decide on the right vendor.