It is an undeniable fact that our society has experienced a shift from the physical world to the online one. This can be seen in the rise of ecommerce and the multitudes of online shops that have popped up in the last few decades. This shift has resulted in certain elements of business becoming more important than ever before, such as good UI design, for instance, or the provision of excellent online customer service.
Parallel to this, remote working is a trend that has steadily increased in popularity, and with that, business needs have changed. Many are now operating on a hybrid or remote basis, and as such, are no longer using traditional phone systems.
Instead, they are using hosted telephone systems. VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) is now a very popular communications technology that allows businesses to step away from physical offices, and enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with remote working.
What is VoIP?
The VoIP system essentially takes analogue voice signals and turns them into digital signals that are then sent through the internet. This means that you can make calls from your laptop and mobile with an internet connection. No more need for a landline!
Having a VoIP system is incredibly useful for businesses looking to connect with their customers, as well as improve internal communication and optimise communications within remote development teams. You might come across VoIP under a different name, such as IP telephony, internet telephony, or internet calling.
Some benefits of using VoIP over traditional phone systems
Using VoIP obviously comes with certain benefits, or it would not have gained as much traction as it has. We’ve put together a non-exhaustive list of some of these to help you decide whether a switch over to a VoIP system could be beneficial to your business.
- A VoIP system eliminates the need for a physical phone. You can make calls as long as you have an internet connection. This is particularly helpful in relation to the increase in remote working.
- A VoIP makes it easy to streamline business communications.
- Most VoIP providers give you a toll-free number which can then be used by multiple people.
- It’s cost-effective, since calling rates are often cheaper when using a VoIP system compared to the traditional telephone.
- Its flexibility means that it’s great for both small-scale operations and bigger businesses. There’s something for everyone!
- There are many VoIP services that are available to choose from; this means that with the help of some research. So you can find the one that suits you and your business needs the most.
On that note, we will be exploring nine things that you need to keep in mind when choosing the best VoIP provider for your business.
9 things to consider when choosing the best VoIP provider
1. What features are offered?
Make sure to look into the service thoroughly and determine exactly what features you’ll be getting. Question whether they are well-suited to your needs? If you see that many of the features offered are not particularly useful to you, it would be better to go for a service that meets your needs in a more direct way.
There is no point paying for a load of features that you won’t use. For instance, does your business mainly need a service which offers online audio conference, or would video conferencing be better? These are the sorts of questions you need to ask yourself to make sure you end up with a VoIP system that works for you.
Don’t be afraid to contact the service provider and have a detailed discussion about exactly what you need from a VoIP service and whether they can meet those requirements in a way that suits your business.
2. Make sure you’re in the know when it comes to costs
No one likes to be blindsided by costs or fees that they were unaware of. To avoid this, make sure to thoroughly research exactly what costs are involved in setting up a VoIP and any extra features you might want or need from the service. This way, you can budget and ensure you know what you can and can’t consider as an option.
3. Are you thinking about business expansion?
Switching to VoIP can be very beneficial when looking to scale up your business. Make sure to choose a VoIP that allows you to do this in the most effective way. For instance, it would be useful for you to opt for a service which is able to grow along with you. This might be by catering to additional users when necessary, or the addition of phone lines.
If expansion is not on the cards for you right now, then not to worry, there are many options out there for smaller businesses, such as the small business VoIP by Dialpad.
4. The VoIP’s compatibility with third-party applications
A VoIP service’s usefulness can be amped up when integrated with other applications that you either are already using or that you need for your business. This integration contributes to a seamless experience for your employees as well as customers. It can also save time and increase efficiency.
Using a VoIP along with other elements, such as an email hosting multiple domains to look professional, and Dropbox to store customer data easily, for instance, can truly strengthen the overall efficiency of your employees, their workflow, and the quality of the customer service you provide.
In conjunction with VoIP, you can also use tools such as a CRM software, which can help your company develop a truly comprehensive way of delivering excellent customer service.
The issue with a rigid service is that you can’t tailor it to suit your needs, and therefore cannot use it to its optimal level. For some, this may not be a problem, but if you have a particular idea of the kind of VoIP service you want, it would be better for you to opt for something that is customisable. This will allow you to provide your products or service with improved quality and efficiency, exactly in the way that you want to and that is best for your business and consumers.
6. What is the customer service like?
No matter how user-friendly a service is, there is always a learning curve. Make sure the VoIP service you go for comes with good customer service that will support you not just through the switch from a traditional phone system, but also throughout your use of the service. This ensures you can get the most out of it and the features it offers, and that you won’t be left stranded without help or on hold for eternity.
7. Security is paramount
Make sure the VoIP you opt for has robust security. The great thing about using services such as VoIP is that you don’t have to worry about aspects such as maintenance costs and security; those are for the providers to deal with. However, it is imperative that the security of the service is irreproachable. This is not just in the interest of the customers’ wellbeing, but also your business’. If a breach occurs, the blame will fall heavily on your business and hurt your reputation.
8. Location, location, location
When it comes to selecting the best service for you, be aware of where your customer base is located. It’s much more financially beneficial for you to select a VoIP service whose rates are good for that area. You don’t want to rack up fees related to international calls unnecessarily when they can be easily avoided.
9. It’s not all about quantity; quality matters too
This may be one of the most obvious things to consider when looking for the best VoIP for you. The service may come with all sorts of bells and whistles, but this is not worth much if the quality of the calls is left to be desired.
The importance of providing excellent customer experience and service is now being recognised more and more in the world of business and ecommerce. This is why you don’t want to end up with a sketchy connection that affects the quality of the customer service you offer. There’s no point putting effort into improving the customer experience you provide, such as implementing strategies to make your website more mobile friendly, if you’re not able to provide basic customer service.
Whether you are a small-scale business or a big one, you no longer have to deal with the stress of managing landlines. It’s time to get with the times, especially considering the increasing popularity of remote working, and find a VoIP service provider that meets all your business’ demands! We hope our tips have given you a good idea of what to look out for when choosing a VoIP.