Thinking of moving your business phones to VoIP? Ask these six critical questions

Business telephone migration to VoIP from a traditional landline/PBX can be painfully complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing. You know it will improve your business mobility, business continuity and bottom line, however there are six key things you need to watch out for before you plan your VoIP migration.

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” ~ Dr Seuss

Why choose hosted VoIP?

But first, let’s look at why you’d want to move your business phones from a traditional landline to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP):

  • It supports mobile working and BYOD policies
  • It’s cheaper: you avoid CapEx, and instead pay a monthly subscription for what you need
  • You get improved call quality with faster broadband
  • It boosts business efficiency and productivity

And also:

  • It’s suitable for businesses of all sizes
  • It’s hassle-free
  • It supports growth
  • It’s in the cloud, so your business can continue to function no matter what – through flood or fire or mobile working

In May 2014, we covered the key reasons why businesses should switch to hosted VoIP in some depth. If you haven’t already, you can read about them in this blog: Why switch to VoIP for business?

You’ve decided to migrate to hosted VoIP; what next?

So now to the crux of the matter. Here are the six critical questions to ask when moving your business telephones to hosted VoIP.

1. Is my broadband good enough?

VoIP 100% relies on good internet bandwidth to transfer call data. So a slow internet connection will immediately affect the quality of your call.

2. What length of contract best suits my business?

Doubtless, you’ll be looking to minimise the monthly cost of your business VoIP. You’ll always find the cheapest rates if you commit to longer time-scales, so look for a provider that offers 12-, 24- and 36-month contracts. With the flexibility of cloud, you can add extra licences on a month-by-month basis, according to your business requirements, so you only pay for what you need. Opt for a rolling contract, and – while you’ll have more flexibility – you’ll pay premium prices.

3. What level of customer support does my business need?

Alongside email, your phone communications most likely underpin your functionality as a business. It’ll be critical for customer enquiries and sales activities. As with traditional PBX – or landline – any problems will immediately have repercussions in the form of frustrated customers and depleted sales.

This is where a top-rate, UK based customer service will make a world of difference. In this day and age there really is no reason for prolonged – if any – service disruption. There’s also the added benefit of a 24-hour ability to change any of your settings, such as auto-attendant options, hunt groups and call forwarding.

4. What hardware does my business need?

When migrating to business VoIP you’ll need to ditch your traditional analogue phones. It sounds wasteful, I know, but unfortunately they aren’t forward compatible. Business grade handsets offer high definition call quality on a secure network protected from hackers.

5. How mobile do we need to be?

Some service providers limit their packages to certain devices. Work out what your business needs and go from there. With a robust and compliant cloud solution for your industry, you should be able to access your hosted VoIP services from your PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones – wherever you have a suitable internet connection.

6. What hidden costs do I need to be aware of?

Make sure you’ve looked into costs. Go for per-second billing as opposed to per-minute billing – that’ll make your monthly expenditure a lot more attractive.

What you should expect from your business VoIP provider

So you’ve covered the six key bases and may well have chosen your VoIP provider. Now you just need to make sure they will provide you with:

  • A telephony audit and cost analysis
  • Solution design and call route planning
  • Number porting
  • Smooth implementation and early use support
  • Product training