Do You Want Business VoIP or Residential VoIP?
VoIP solutions have become increasingly popular over the past decade, and not just for businesses. As landlines go out of fashion, and many people see them as simply a way to receive cold calls and pay an unneccesary monthly bill, VoIP is becoming a great choice for families and residential homes.
The truth is, that most things you want from residential voip can be done through business voip too, but probably for a higher cost. You have more flexibility to scale up or down with business solutions, which means you usually end up paying a higher premium. You also have more riding on your service, as if your business phone lines go down, that’s your livelihood and your reputation quite literally on the line.
If you’re looking for residential VoIP for your home, make sure the following elements are in place:
- Number Porting: You want to be able to take your existing number with you, so that all your existing contacts can still reach out.
- Voicemail: You probably took this for granted with your landline phone, but this can often be a paid extra for VoIP. You obviously want it included at no extra charge.
- Reasonable Cost: Don’t get charged for business features when you absolutely don’t need them. It’s worth choosing a company who offers residential packages specifically.
You’ve Chosen Business VoIP - What Else Should You Consider?
That was the easy choice. If you want business VoIP however, there is a lot more to think about. One important area which will affect everything else is the features you need. This will vary depending on the size of your business, and also how quickly you are hoping to grow. You’ll also need to note what hours you operate, and the way your business process works, for example – do you have a lot of conference calls or web meetings?
Take a look at some of the features that the big names in VoIP for business provide, and consider how you might use them. Are they essential? Nice-to-haves? Or would you get very little use out of them? If they fall in the last category, then why are you paying a larger bill each month to have them? If they fall in the middle, then is it worth the premium? Obviously, if a company doesn’t offer all the features in the first column – perhaps you should be looking elsewhere.
Here is a list of some of the features you might need for your business.
- Auto-Attendant: This is like having a receptionist at the end of the line when a customer calls. It can include hold music, call transfer, extension numbers and more.
- Call Screening: Do you want certain calls sent straight to voicemail, or blocked altogether? This is how its done.
- Voicemail to Email: This is a popular productivity tool which allows staff to check their voicemail via email, seeing calls and their content even while they are held up in meetings or on another line.
- Find me/Follow me: This allows your VoIP call to transfer to your mobile or to another office when you move location.
Remember, you might not need all the features now, but think about a year down the line? If you use this companies IP phones or VoIP hardware and software, it may not be so easy to move elsewhere, and you might not get the quality of service or customer support you’re used to. It’s best to choose the right provider from the get go who ticks all your boxes, both now and down the line.
Will the Quality be Good With This VoIP Provider?
The quality of your calls will definitely differ from one VoIP provider to the next. You can’t guarantee that they will all offer the best voice calls. Here are some of the issues you should be looking out for, and the areas you should ask your VoIP provider about, including how they prevent these issues from happening.
- Jitter: Ever speak via VoIP, and hear missing parts of the conversation, or stuttering? This is called Jitter. It happens when the delivery of the data packets are coming at irregular intervals. Most VoIP providers have jitter buffers to help with this, but it can overwhelm these if the problems are bad causing moments of silence, or skipped words or sentences.
- Latency: This is more simply understood as delays on the line, which can often sound like lags or echoes. Usually it means that the raw data and autio is being compressed. The quality is fine, but you’re hearing it at the wrong time. It can make for a very awkward conversation, with the callers speaking over one another.
- Packet Loss: Packets is the way that VoIP data is sent across the internet. If packets have any problems, like delay, errors inside, or even if they get lost en route, the network can abandon them altogether. This can happen with bandwidth restrictions.
What Should I Ask My VoIP Provider?
Selecting the best VoIP provider means asking the right questions, whether they are about cost, quality of service, features, or customer support. Our experts have done a lot of the hard work for you, checking out the best VoIP services for both business and residential, and going over all of the important features and terms. This way, you can have all the information at your fingertips.
If you know you want to give VoIP a try, but you don’t know exactly which service you should be opting for, this is the perfect article for you. We look at the differences between VoIP services, and the questions you need to ask before signing on the dotted line.