Small office VoIP phone system: Choosing what’s best for your small business
Over the years, more and more companies have gone through digital transformation. This is because business leaders—from small businesses to big enterprises—recognize the importance of digital tools to improve business processes, increase staff productivity, and boost team performance.
One of the most important tools that every organization should have is a robust business phone system. After all, business communications can determine the success or failure of a company.
If you want to be successful, you need to equip your employees with a communication tool that they can use to talk to each other and collaborate on projects. More importantly, they should be able to use it to stay in touch with customers.
As work setups move from traditional offices to remote work or hybrid work, it’s now more important than ever to find ways to keep your distributed workforce connected at all times.
The good news is there are various business phone solutions in the market for you to choose from.
If you’re a small business owner who wants to narrow down your long list of choices, you can start by checking out what VoIP phone service is, what are the best VoIP solutions out there, and how to find the right one that can address your business needs.
What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, the technology that allows people to make or receive phone calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a traditional landline phone.
With VoIP calls, you’ll get the flexibility to use different devices for phone calls as long as they’re connected to the Internet. For your workforce, this means that they can work from anywhere.
How to set up a VoIP phone system for your small office
Business VoIP providers like RingCentral make the VoIP setup process simple, easy, and hassle-free.
You only need to accomplish two important things before you start the installation of your small business phone system—
1. Check if you need to upgrade your Internet plan
Your VoIP phone system won’t work effectively if you don’t have a strong broadband connection. This means securing one should be your top priority.
If your small business requires you to make a lot of calls using many different devices in a month, then you need more bandwidth. If you don’t have enough of that, you can’t ensure call quality and avoid connection issues.
VoIP service providers recommend having a minimum of 100 Kbps upload and download bandwidth per line.
Consult with your Internet service provider to check if you need to upgrade your existing Internet plan. Check if they’re offering a gigabit broadband connection plan to get more bandwidth.
Remember to take into consideration that there are other business-related activities that consume bandwidth outside of Internet-based calls.
This includes web browsing, sending and receiving emails, file transfers, and so on. Keep in mind that the number of devices connected to your network can also affect your Internet speed.
2. Find the right VoIP equipment
You need to have the right equipment to ensure that your VoIP phone system is working properly. Take note that you don’t necessarily have to buy new equipment if you already have existing IP-enabled devices.
If you want to explore your choices, here are some of them:
VoIP phones are specially-designed devices for placing and taking calls over the Internet. There are two types of VoIP phones:
- Hard phones are physical IP phones that look a lot like regular telephones. Some examples of hard phones are office phones such as desk phones, wireless phones, conference phones, and USB phones.
- Softphones are software-based IP phones. Internet-connected devices like computers and mobile devices can be used as a hard phone when a VoIP app (like the RingCentral App) is installed.
VoIP headsets are headphones that include a microphone. There are wired and wireless options available. Wireless VoIP headsets use Bluetooth to connect to a device.
Quality of Service (QoS) routers
Quality of Service routers help VoIP by prioritizing voice or call traffic over other transmissions like file uploads and downloads, streaming, and gaming. A QoS router allows you to choose specific applications and categorize them based on low to high priority.
Analog telephone adapters (ATA)
Analog telephone adapters are devices that let traditional landline phones use VoIP services by converting analog signals into digital data. With an ATA, you only need an Ethernet cable to connect your landline phone to either a router or modem.
Why choose RingCentral as your small business VoIP phone system?
RingCentral VoIP solution is a secure cloud communications platform designed to give you a reliable, mobile, and flexible phone service.
Even as a small business, you’ll get enterprise-class calling features, which can help streamline workflows, make your business look more professional, and improve customer service.
As your service provider, we’ll walk you through the entire VoIP installation process. Our onboarding process will include the following—
- Network readiness - Take VoIP Quality and Capacity tests to make sure that your Internet connection can support good VoIP call quality. You’ll also need to configure your modem and router and plug in your phones to verify if your network setup is all good.
- Implementation process - Take training sessions to learn how to log in to the system, how to navigate the portal, where to find specific features and more.
- Number transfer process - Transfer your existing business phone number from your previous provider to the RingCentral account.
- Product features - Learn which specific features you have access to depending on your subscription plan.
- Additional resources - Find more information from our online learning center and knowledge base, which features how-to articles, step-by-step videos, FAQs, and more.
If you need any other assistance, you can reach out to our 24/7 customer support team at any time.
What is RingCentral MVP?
RingCentral offers not just a VoIP solution but an all-in-one communication platform.
Our unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) solution—RingCentral MVP—combines messaging, video, and phone functionality into a single platform.
With the RingCentral App, small businesses can empower their employees to communicate and collaborate anytime, anywhere, and on any device. It also makes it easier for them to contact clients and be responsive whether they’re at the office, at home, or on the road.
The mobile app is available on iOS and Android, while the desktop app is available on Windows and Mac.
There are different sets of advanced features that you can get based on your chosen subscription plan.
The available RingCentral MVP plans are as follows:
To choose the right subscription plan for your small business, you should identify first which features you need the most.
If you want to send messages to your colleagues or customers, you can use the following features in the RingCentral App—
- Business SMS and MMS - Use your RingCentral business phone number to send and receive unlimited text and multimedia messages.
- Team messaging - Send direct messages or create a group chat to start a conversation. You can contact anyone in the company and even invite external users to keep all of the discussions in one place.
To effectively communicate, exchange information, and collaborate on projects in real-time, here are some team messaging features you should take note of:
- Attach file
- Create a task
- New event
- New note
The app’s built-in video conferencing solution—RingCentral Video—allows you to conduct unlimited video meetings. With up to a 24-hour meeting duration, you can continue your conversations for as long as you want.
Take note that the maximum number of video meeting participants varies.
- For the Standard plan, you can invite up to 100 participants per meeting.
- For the Premium and Ultimate plans, you can invite up to 200 participants per meeting.
If you’re planning to hold large-scale virtual meetings, make sure that your subscription plan can accommodate your target number of attendees.
More and more businesses are taking advantage of video conferencing tools to organize virtual events like webinars, online concerts, and more to engage with customers and attract more prospects.
To enhance the video meeting experience and make it more fun, interactive, and engaging for all of the participants, here are some RingCentral Video features that you can use—
- Screen sharing
- Raise hand
- Breakout rooms
- Virtual background
- Presentation mode
- Closed captions
- Live transcription
With RingCentral MVP, you’ll get advanced cloud PBX (Private Branch Exchange) features to help you better manage incoming calls and speed up the call routing process.
There are also other IP telephony or VoIP features that can help your staff handle both inbound and outbound calls more efficiently.
- Unlimited calls within the US and Canada
- Unlimited audio conferencing
- International calling
- Toll-free minutes
- Local phone numbers
- Toll-free and vanity numbers
- Presence and head-up display
- Call delegation
- Call screening
- Call forwarding
- Call flip
- Call park
- Visual voicemail
- Multi-level IVR
- Music on hold
- Dial-by-name directory
- Number porting
- Call monitoring
- Call logs
- Automatic call recording
- Hot desking
- Caller ID
Unlimited Internet fax
If you need to send or receive faxes online, just use the RingCentral App. All electronic faxes can be sent and received via the RingCentral App or as email attachments. You can also access them in your RingCentral account fax log. You can forward, download, or print Internet faxes as necessary.
RingCentral integrates with over 200 third-party apps, especially popular business solutions that most companies are currently using.
Here are some examples of RingCentral integrations:
- CRM integrations: Salesforce, Zendesk, Microsoft, Zoho
- Storage apps: Google Drive, Box, Dropbox
- Productivity tools: Google Chrome, Microsoft 365, Asana
Build your own apps and integrate them into RingCentral's open API platform to address the unique needs of your business.
- Voice APIs
- SMS APIs
- Fax APIs
- Team messaging APIs
- Video meeting APIs
- Communications data APIs