Moving your business from traditional PBX hardware to a VoIP business phone system has many upsides. Additional functionality, easier management, and cost savings are common reasons why many businesses transition to a cloud-based system. VoIP providers vary greatly in the cost and level of service they provide, however. When you’re considering a provider, make sure they offer the features and level of service that your business needs. Here are some of the most important factors to consider as you decide on a VoIP provider.
1) Cost and Features
For many businesses, the potential to save money on telephony costs is a big motivator to consider a VoIP phone system—if not the biggest one. When compared to traditional telephone hardware, a VoIP system can significantly reduce costs. But look carefully at the included features. Some providers may charge extra for features that others include. If your business is entirely domestic, international calling is only going to inflate your costs, for example. When comparing providers, it’s important to know what features your business needs, and what features you can skip.
2) Mobile Apps
A VoIP phone system can offer huge benefits for businesses with remote workers. When sizing up providers, make sure to do an apples-to-apples comparison. Forwarding calls to mobile phones is a standard feature, but do they offer a full-featured mobile app that allows users access Business SMS, faxes, and advanced voicemail? If you need more than simple call forwarding, make sure you choose a VoIP provider that is fully invested in a complete experience for mobile users.
3) Third-party Integrations
Another important aspect to consider is how well a VoIP provider works with other services you already use. Without integration with third-party services, you could spend significant amounts of time migrating or re-creating business data that you already have inside another product. Whether it’s Salesforce, Google Google Workspace, Dropbox, or another product, make sure that your VoIP provider offers integrations with your other services.
4) Unified Services
Business telephones have evolved from landlines to cloud-based systems. UCaaS is the next stage of that evolution. Instead of engaging multiple providers for different services, businesses can get all of their communication needs met by a single provider in an integrated communications platform. There are many upsides to a unified system, starting with the flexibility to offer the features their employees need, from video conferencing and online meetings to team messaging and collaboration. Unified communications also scale and are much more flexible than traditional phone systems. Rather than relying on specialized technical support to add users or reconfigure existing systems, UCaaS can be configured by existing staff from a computer or mobile device. Managing costs is easier too, with all-in-one pricing from a single vendor.
Transitioning your business to a VoIP phone system offers significant advantages for businesses of all sizes. If you ask the right questions and know what to look for, finding the right plan from the right provider will save money, boost productivity, and expand the capabilities of your phone system.
Originally published Dec 22, 2016, updated Oct 21, 2020