VoIP has revolutionized the way we communicate and has become popular everywhere in the world. Regular consumers and business owners have both become aware of the importance of Voice Over The Internet Protocol as a communication technology.
How does VoIP work?
VoIP takes the analog signal, converts it to digital packets of data and then sends them over the internet, after they are encrypted. The recipient can be another VoIP user or a user that uses an analog phone.
What are the benefits of VoIP?
VoIP comes with a lot of benefits. The biggest one is cost cutting. This technology is more affordable than traditional telephony based on landlines. VoIP is cheaper both in terms of monthly bills and in terms of setup and hardware costs.
The fact that this technology is based on the internet, makes it more convenient for those who have to make a lot of long-distance calls, which are normally very pricey with landlines.
The setup process is easier and costs less money as well. You don’t necessarily need a professional to install the system, because you can do it yourself. The equipment comes with clear instructions and every VoIP provider offers customer support to its customers.
And speaking of equipment, you don’t necessarily need a VoIP phone in order to make VoIP calls. You can also use a softphone, which is a special software that you install on your device, to be able to make/receive VoIP calls.
Businesses can see easier how cost-saving VoIP can be, because they usually need to make calls on a daily basis, with some of them being long-distance calls. Video conferences are also a common practice for businesses and VoIP is more useful in that aspect as well.
There are other benefits with VoIP as well, in terms of features that are included, which are more comprehensive than with landlines. VoIP is a complex and smart technology that comes with features such as video conferencing, 3-way calling, enhanced voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding, call recording, anonymous call rejection, E911 support, simultaneous ring and much more.
What to consider when choosing the best VoIP for your business
What VoIP needs does your business have?
The first aspect to consider when in the market for a VoIP service for your business is what kind of VoIP needs your business has. Does your company need to make regular outbound calls? Is your business a startup or a large corporation with several locations? What kind of employees do you have? Are they remote workers or they work in an office? Do you need local numbers, toll-free numbers? Will you have to make international calls?
How much does the VoIP service cost and what kind of plans does the provider offer?
One important thing is to find a VoIP provider that is scalable. You want to be able to start with a basic plan if you want and upgrade as your business grows. Of course that you have to be aware that the lower the price of the plan is, the smaller the number of features included. Price shouldn’t be your top priority though. The cheaper a service is, the less secure and reliable it usually is.
What VoIP features does your business need?
Another aspect to consider is that of the features needed for your company. VoIP providers offer dozens and dozens of VoIP features with their services and you have to establish which are important for your business and which you can do without. Some basic VoIP features you should definitely look for are voicemail to email, instant messaging, desktop control (click to dial a phone number, the possibility to view inbound calls, etc.), call recording, call log, call reports, E911 support.
What is the uptime of the VoIP provider?
Regardless of the number of features a VoIP provider offers, if their uptime is not good enough, the service is useless. Check out the provider’s uptime guarantee before signing up for anything.
Is the VoIP service secure?
VoIP is based on the Internet because the signal is transmitted online. That is why data can easily be compromised, if the VoIP service doesn’t have strong security features to offer. End to end encryption should be a must when you choose a VoIP service, if you want to make sure your data is protected from online threats. Other security features are also useful, such as multi-factor authentication and so on.
What kind of customer support does the VoIP provider offer?
Customer support is always important, no matter what kind of product or service you purchase. Whether you need support when you install the VoIP system, or in any other moments, for any other reasons, you want to be able to rely on the customer support staff. Aim for a company that offers around the clock customer support. 24/7 live chat support is usually offered with all industry leaders.
Are there any third-party integrations available?
Extensions are important, too, if you want to optimize your workflow and help your employees be more effective. Most VoIP services come with built-in integrations such as Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. There is also the possibility to build your own integrations, if the provider offers API support.
Does the VoIP provider offer mobile support?
Flexibility is one of the biggest advantages of VoIP. A good VoIP service will offer mobile support so make sure yours has apps and they are compatible with both iOS and Android. The quality of the apps is also important. Read reviews and make sure the apps are not buggy and they are not too poor in terms of features included.
As long as you opt for a reputable VoIP provider, you shouldn’t have to worry about security, features and reliability. Voice Over the Internet Protocol is a very profitable communication technology that cuts your operating expenses, offers a lot of flexibility and advanced functionality. Moreover, businesses often use unified communication solutions that support text messaging, video conferencing and other complex features.