Communication plays a fundamental role in the daily operations of companies across all industries, both internally and externally. And telephones are still one of the most common methods of communication for many businesses today.
But in the last few years, business telephones have undergone major changes. Today, many businesses use Voice over Internet Protocol-based phone systems. Such systems allow companies to make phone calls and send messages via smartphones, tablets, computers, and other internet-connected devices.
Purchasing a VoIP system for your business will offer many benefits in comparison to traditional telephone solutions. They provide greater scalability, cost savings, multi-device support, excellent call quality, increased security, impressive user experiences, and many other benefits.
What’s also great about VoIP systems is that they have lots of different features, such as auto-attendants, call forwarding, call recording, call transferring, call holding, call parking, call queues, business hours, analytics, conferencing, music on hold, SMS messaging, and more.
If you’re currently looking for a business-grade VoIP system, you’ll have seen that there’s plenty of choice available. But how do you actually choose the right one for your business? One of the best ways to ensure a VoIP system is a good fit for your business is by avoiding common mistakes, whether that's doing little research before buying a system, being unclear on your requirements, or something else.
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Choosing the first provider you see
There are many different VoIP systems available on the market today, and if you’re looking to purchase one for your business and are extremely busy, it’s easy to choose the first provider you come across after a quick Google search.
But if you select a VoIP provider without doing some research beforehand and considering other options out there, you could end up choosing a service that is unsuitable for your business and team.
When it comes to finding the best VoIP system, it’s essential to compare different providers. Although this will take more time, you won’t be rushing your decision and will end up with the best VoIP solution for your entire business. By shopping around, you could save money on premium subscriptions and get access to even more features.
Failing to understand your user needs and business requirements
Comparing different providers isn’t the only factor to consider when selecting a business-grade VoIP system. If you fail to understand what your business and staff need from a VoIP provider, you risk wasting cash and time on implementing an ineffective system.
As you scan the market for the perfect business VoIP solution, you should write down a list of business, technical and user requirements. This will help you make sure that a potential provider will fit nicely into your business. For example, you could note down necessary VoIP features and check if these are offered by potential VoIP providers.
Reading in-depth reviews, case studies, and customer testimonials will also help you work out which system will best suit your business. What you don’t want to do is select a VoIP solution and discover that it’s not suitable for your business in the future.
Not considering costs
Failing to consider the costs of a VoIP system is something else to refrain from doing as you search for the best provider. Many VoIP services offer a range of paid subscriptions and optional extras that suit different businesses. If you're not clear on these, you could sign up to the wrong plan or incur additional charges further down the line.
If you’re thinking about buying a VoIP system for your business, we’d strongly recommend setting a clear budget from the start and considering the financial factors of various services. As is the case with any other type of product, there are both cheap and expensive VoIP solutions on the market. By being clear about how much you’re willing to spend on a VoIP system, you’ll be able to find a service that matches your budget.
Most providers have a clear rundown of pricing on their websites, which is definitely worth reading. But you should also be able to discuss your budget and the costs of a VoIP system by speaking to customer service teams.
Ignoring security implications
Because VoIP phone solutions run on the internet, there’s always a risk that cybercriminals could hack your system to eavesdrop on phone calls and steal valuable business information. As a result, it’s paramount that you consider the security risks of VoIP systems and ensure your chosen provider mitigates these threats.
For example, you should choose a VoIP system that provides strong encryption, multi-factor authentication, a strict user policy, a range of secure protocols, and other security features. If you’re unsure about how a provider handles user security and privacy, it’s worth speaking to their customer service team.
Purchasing a non-scalable system
Should you be looking to implement a VoIP system in a fast-growth business, the last thing you want to do is choose a non-scalable solution that won’t suit the needs of your company in the distant future.
As your business continues to grow, you’ll no doubt need to create new lines worldwide, add new employees to your phone system, access new features and add-ons, and more. The best business VoIP systems make it simple and quick to do these things over time.
Choosing a non-reputable or free provider
Another thing to avoid when choosing a VoIP system is going for non-reputable or free providers. While selecting a free provider sounds like a great way to save money on a VoIP system, you could experience security vulnerabilities, poor performance, no customer support, hard-to-use software, and other problems.
The best way to ensure you get the most out of a VoIP system is by choosing one of the top systems on the market. Our favorite VoIP services of 2021 are RingCentral Office, Ooma Office, GoToConnect, Dialpad, AT&T Business, 8x8 X Series, Microsoft 365 Business Voice, Grasshopper, 1-VOIP, and Phone.com.
Opting for a non-user-friendly VoIP system
Without doing any research into the best VoIP systems for businesses, you could potentially end up with a system that is hard to set up and use. This will cause many issues for your business, such as having to train staff on how to use a complicated VoIP system, employees opting to use other communication methods if a system isn't user-friendly, and ultimately switching providers further down the line.
A great way to check that a system offers good usability is by reading reviews and customer testimonials. But with the vast majority of VoIP systems providing free trials and demos, you can even try out a system before committing to a paid subscription. So, you'll know if it's easy to use or not.
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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!