The broadband phone, Internet Telephony, Voiceover Broadband, and IP Telephony—these are all the same thing: VoIP, short for Voice over Internet Protocol. Once the Internet was on and about, innovators and tech gurus began seeing its potential very clearly for furthering and simplifying communication. It started from the email, and for a moment, people were content with communicating that way. But someone at some point must have wondered: what if we could communicate in real time, just like regular phone calling, via the Internet?
Enter the instant messaging trend. Slowly, innovators realized that the conventional phones and landlines were something that could easily be gotten rid of, their hefty bills and payments easily bypassed—all by using one great hack in time: the VoIP.
Less than 20 years old, VoIP is a tool that has truly modernized and revolutionized the way communication works around the world. Initially a lifesaver that helped bypass great payments made on long-distance and international calls, VoIP soon became the face of local and business communication.
As businesses began switching to VoIP service providers as opposed to their regular phone companies, it became apparent that this was a tool greatly helping in reducing costs, boosting employee productivity, and ensuring customer satisfaction.
These days, VoIP—whether cloud-based or on-premise is a part of most offices. The basic decision of switching from conventional communication routes to VoIP being over, the next big hurdle that businesses usually have to overcome is getting through the many things they have to consider before they make the big switch to VoIP.
Can Your Internet Connection Take the Toll?
This is particularly important if you run a business. In the absence of a reliable, high-functioning internet connection, your VoIP system is about as good as nothing. Of course, this should be more obvious than it is, because VoIP runs on the internet.
While it’s true that there are far too many internet subscriptions and packages out there that can offer you “cheap” services, don’t give in to the bait. It’s not too difficult to get a high-quality connection, especially with all that fiber connectivity these days. Make sure your upload and download speed is high, that is generally an indicator that you’ve selected the right internet service.
Bandwidth and Call Volume
You need to work out, before you can make the switch, (a) how many phones you’ll be using at any given instance and (b) how many calls each phone will be making.
There’s a possibility that your existing bandwidth doesn’t have the capacity of enduring all these calls by all these people simultaneously. A good idea would be to acquire a separate connection for your office phone system.
Even with the best of VoIP services, there are at times problems in voice quality—and the culprit is usually none other than network components. Let’s say that there’s a LAN room in your office that’s at a considerable distance from your department. When you have to connect the office computers to that network, you will install a switch, which is usually a 100 Mbps WAN port. This switch has on its shoulders, already, quite a lot: it’s working with all the capacity it has and is managing the servers. Add VoIP systems into this mix and you’ll have an overworked port.
The result: voice problems.
The usual fix to this problem is the addition of a 1000 Mbps WAN port. But that isn’t all. Ensure that your switch is also of top-notch quality and isn’t an outdated version or anything, because the switch matters equally. At any rate, before making the big switch, you must evaluate and verify that all your network components are perfect working order in order to avoid future complications.
Before you can make the switch, make a rough estimate of how many phones you want, keeping in mind your budget. All the equipment that you need can be obtained from your VoIP service provider. This equipment must have Ethernet support—this is the encased wiring through which your data will flow.
Also bear in mind that if you’re keen on benefitting from the many features your VoIP service provider is offering, such as phone logs and video calling, you will have to ensure that all your equipment is compatible with the features.
One thing that most businesses miss out on, after making a successful switch to VoIP, is that the employees need education regarding the new system. If your employees have always worked with conventional business communication tools, this is a totally new thing for them and there’s much space for error. Ensure that you’re detailing the entire team on how to use the new system. This you can do through the distribution of manuals, training sessions, and tutorial videos.
Usually when a customer calls a company, and are connected to the wrong person, or are forced to listen to awful, inappropriate, or simply no background music at all, they don’t like it. This is a one-way ticket to losing valuable customers, and it reflects badly on your part as it indicates that your company doesn’t really take customer care too seriously.
Before making the switch, you should thus ensure that all extensions are in place, that the greetings and the background music have been decided, and that the extension tree for a virtual secretary has been made prior to making the switch. Focusing on the extension tree will ensure that everything goes smoothly once you do make the switch.
Got More Questions about VoIP?
VoIP, although fairly recent in the technology department, has actually been around for quite some time. Back in 2008, Forbes was reporting that businesses were already moving toward the new Voice over Internet Protocol system, listing Vonage and Ring Central among others. A year later in 2009, VoIP had only gotten bigger, with Forbes listing it as one of the “three technologies” you needed in that year. It has only gone uphill thenceforth.
The new system was seen as the get-away tool that was helping them bypass costly phone bills, enhancing customer care, and boosting employee productivity all at once. If you’ve got more questions, Top5 Business VoIP has several articles and guides that can answer them! On the website, you can also look at leading VoIP service providers, compare and contrast their prices, features, and more.