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How to choose a small business VoIP phone service

These are things you need to consider when picking out a VoIP service for your small business

VoIP Phone
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Choosing the best VoIP service provider is your first step in unifying business telecommunications. But what should you look for in a VoIP provider and how do you go about it? This all depends on your company's needs.  

There are many steps you can and should take, such as considering the features you need, comparing different providers, signing up for free trials, reading reviews and customer testimonials, only choosing a reputable service, and more. 

Below, we’ve detailed several steps that’ll help you select the best VoIP phone service for your small business in 2021.  

Man from small business using VoIP services

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What are the benefits of VoIP for a small business?

Investing in a VoIP phone service for your small business will offer a range of long-term benefits, whether it’s robust internal and external communications, improved productivity across the organization, increased scalability, more flexibility, advanced reporting capabilities, money savings, business-grade security, and more. 

What’s great about VoIP phone services is that they offer a wide variety of advanced features for improving business communications, which you won’t get on traditional landlines or mobile phones. 

These include telephone extensions, call forwarding, call routing, call recording, call holding, call transferring, call queues, auto attendants, conferencing, call screening, call monitoring, call parking, caller ID, business hours, voicemails, analytics, music on hold, and many others. 

If you’re looking for a small business VoIP phone service and have already done some research into the best VoIP providers, you’ll know that there are plenty of options available on the market today. 

But while being spoilt for choice is often a good thing, this can make it difficult to choose the right service for your business.

1. Consider the features you need

When it comes to choosing a VoIP phone service for your small business, one of the most important things to consider are the features you need. Start by making a quick list.

This can include different VoIP features integral to your day-to-day business communications. Perhaps you need a digital voicemail service or, audio transcriptions for hands-free workers or a virtual receptionist. Maybe you need a a VoIP provider that can scale up with you as your business grows. 

Whatever your VoIP needs, be sure to make a note of them. Also consider your budget against provider's prices, and specific employee VoIP needs. The great thing about using wireless VoIP phones is the flexibility they afford your business. 

Unlike traditional landlines, VoIP phones open up a whole new way to communicate in business. It's critical to ask your colleagues exactly what they need from a VoIP phone to understand the degree of flexibility you're looking for in the business VoIP provider.

If choosing a new business VoIP provider and VoIP phone service is part of a larger business communication transformation strategy, think about why you set out this strategy in the first place. Doing so will help you build a criteria for what you need from a business VoIP provider. 

For example, if the strategy is about company growth and scalability you'll need a VoIP provider who: 

✓ Has national or global network infrastructure that can support connectivity in all your offices

✓ Comes with training support or materials such as a document or video library you can refer new starters to when onboarding

✓ Uses a fixed pricing structure. This is important for financial planning and avoiding any surprise costs outside of business budget

✓ Supports international audio calls and video conferencing 

✓ Can easily integrate with any vital third-party software

By creating a list of requirements, you’ll find it a lot easier to compare different services and choose the right one for your business.

It'd be pretty annoying to sign up for a VoIP provider and find out that it’s missing the features your business requires. While certain features may come as standard on every subscription, others may be add-ons. 

2. Compare different providers

Comparing providers is vital to make sure you don’t want rush your decision and end up choosing the wrong phone service for your business. Plus, you could end up saving money by shopping around.

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3. Check the VoIP provider’s security and privacy

Given that VoIP phone services run on the internet, there are important security and privacy considerations to take into account when choosing a provider. 

If you select a VoIP phone service that has a poor security and privacy track record, your business communications data could potentially be breached by cybercriminals. 

The best VoIP phone systems for businesses take the security and privacy of their users very seriously. 

When searching for an internet-based business phone system, you should ensure it offers features such as end-to-end encryption, strict privacy policies, multi-factor authentication, secure protocols, and more.

4. Sign up for a free trial of the VoIP service

If you’ve never used a VoIP phone service before, you might find choosing one for your small business pretty daunting. Unfortunately, it’s really easy to sign up for a service and learn that it’s unsuitable for your business later down the line. 

But a great way to ensure a system suits the needs of your entire business is by signing up for a free trial. That way, you can see how a system actually works, try out all its features, and make sure if it’s the right fit for your business without parting with your cash.

Hopefully, you’ll like the service and won’t need to go back to the drawing board. But if things don’t go well, you’ll be able to cancel the free trial and won’t waste any money in the process. Of course, not every VoIP provider will offer a free trial. 

#However, they might provide other options that make it possible to try before you buy, such as a free demo or a money-back guarantee. Either way, we’d highly recommend checking if a service offers a free trial. 

5. See what other VoIP users are saying

Another way to ensure you select the most suitable VoIP phone service for your small business is by seeing what other people have to say about different providers available on the market. 

You can do this by reading online reviews, customer testimonials, and other online content. This will give you a better understanding of the pros and cons of different VoIP providers.

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6. Check the VoIP provider's customer support options

If you sign up for a VoIP provider that offers lots of amazing features but has poor customer support, you’ll soon grow frustrated and question the whole point of choosing this provider in the first place. 

Whether you have a query about billing, want to flag an issue affecting your business phone system, or need help training staff on a new system, you’ll struggle to find the right answers if your VoIP provider fails in the customer service department. 

So, how can you work out if a provider has high-quality customer support? Well, you should be able to learn whether or not a provider offers great customer support by reading customer testimonials. 

Customers who have experienced poor support from companies will often take to the internet to rant.  But it’s also worth heading to the provider’s website to see if they offer a dedicated help page, live chat, a customer phone line, an email address, and other customer support facilities. 

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Hey! We’ve already ranked the best business VoIP services, available which include RingCentral Office, Ooma Office, GoToConnect, DialPad, AT&T Business, and many other highly trusted providers. 

7. Select a reputable VoIP business service

When you've just started looking for a VoIP provider for a small business, the options seem almost overwhelming. There are many small business VoIP services available nowadays, but sadly, not every provider is what it seems. Select your business VoIP provider carefully. 

Some providers charge sky-high prices in return for very little functionality, are difficult to use, or put user privacy at risk. To get the most out of a business-grade VoIP service, we’d recommend choosing a reputable and top-rated provider. We can also help you get a quote for a business phone system today

Nicholas Fearn is a freelance technology journalist and copywriter from the Welsh valleys. His work has appeared in publications such as the FT, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, The Next Web, T3, Android Central, Computer Weekly, and many others. He also happens to be a diehard Mariah Carey fan!