Business VoIP systems have become increasingly popular among companies as the power of Cloud technology expands. A lot of our customers are first time VoIP users so we often walk them through the important steps needed to set up their system. We know a lot of other businesses need guidance as well so we put together this helpful checklist to get them started. In this article we highlight the essential steps businesses owners should follow when setting up a business VoIP system.
1. Identify business goals and objectives
Understanding your business goals is essential to the success of your business VoIP system. Does your company focus on customer service, increased revenue or something else? Depending on the answer, your needs for a VoIP phone system can vary. Be sure to share your list of goals and objectives with your VoIP provider. This allows them to design a unique business VoIP system solution that is specific to your needs.
2. Set a budget
It’s extremely important to set a budget early on into your project. This will help guide the decisions your make for your business VoIP system including the providers you can afford to work with and the types of features and technology you can choose for your new system.
3. Consider your current network setup
Your VoIP provider will have certain requirements about the system your service will be running on. Because of this, they will often ask you a number of questions to ensure that their service will adequately work on your network.
The most important things to check are:
- Bandwidth: VoIP calls need a specific amount of bandwidth dedicated to them. While the amount of bandwidth needed varies depending on the audio codec your provider offers, 87 kbps for Full Quality Audio (G711 Codec) and 33 kbps for Compressed Audio (G729 Codec) per concurrent call is a good amount to strive for.
- Router: The router you use needs to be able to handle your VoIP calls as well as your regular Internet traffic. It’s a very important piece to the puzzle. Because of this, you may want to discuss your router needs with your VoIP provider.
Each VoIP provider has different requirements so work closely with them to ensure that you’re meeting all their criteria.
4. Research and choose the best VoIP provider
Choosing the right VoIP provider is essential for the success of your business VoIP system. When shopping around for a provider, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.
- Experience: Does the provider have a proven track record of experience and satisfied customers?
- Products and services: Does the provider offer the service and features you’re looking for?
- Price: Do they fit in your budget?
- Support: Do they offer an adequate amount of technical and customer support?
Be sure to take advantage of any demos that your potential provider offers. This will give you a first-hand look into the system you may be using.
5. Purchase necessary equipment and technology
Your business VoIP system may require you to purchase equipment that can work with your new service. Primarily, this means purchasing new phones that are compatible with VoIP.
Your standard office phones won’t work on VoIP unless you configure them differently. If you want to use your old office phones, consider purchasing an ATA (analog telephone adapter) for each phone. This device helps your standard phone communicate with your VoIP service. Keep in mind, these phones may not be able to utilize the popular features that your VoIP service comes with.
Upgrading to IP phones or softphones is an option to keep in mind if you want your business to take advantage of all that VoIP has to offer. These phones are made to work on VoIP and thus, are really the best choice for most businesses.
6. Train employees on the new system
With a new business VoIP system comes an understandable learning curve from your employees. It’s important that you set aside time to walk everyone through the new system and the capabilities that they can now use.
While your VoIP provider handles most of the management of your system, it may be useful to hire or train an IT employee to help smooth over your transition. They can be useful for any hiccups you may encounter during your first experiences with VoIP.
7. Plan for the future
It’s especially important that your business VoIP system is around for the long-haul. Two very important things to consider for the future is scalability and disaster preparedness. The great thing about investing in a VoIP system is that it’s housed in the Cloud. This is helpful in both scenarios.
With VoIP, your system can easily be scaled up or down depending on the needs of your business. Instead of having to wire up a new phone like you’d experience with an old system, with VoIP, you simply add another user on your system.
In terms of disaster preparedness, your business VoIP system is helpful. Your system is hosted in the Cloud so any damage to your physical office location shouldn’t impact your business. If an emergency keeps you and your employees from accessing your office, you can work remotely by simply accessing your phone system over the Internet.
Work closely with your VoIP provider so you can fully understand their service’s scalability process and get their input on implementing a disaster recovery plan for your business.