Choosing a Hosted VoIP Phone System
Choosing the right hosted VoIP phone system can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction and ultimately your business success.
In a hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) model, IP phones connect to a service provider over an IP network. These IP phones function just like a traditional business phone. However, the phone system operates in the cloud. With hosted VoIP, you use a web-based portal to configure and manage your service.
Hosted VoIP solutions can provide advanced features, reliable operation, and cost savings. But you need to carefully evaluate VoIP providers and solutions to ensure a good fit with your requirements.
To help make the right decision, be sure to answer these questions:
- How Does Your Business Operate? You want a hosted VoIP phone system that will enhance your operations and match how your employees do their jobs. If you have employees working from remote locations, your phone system can help present a unified image to the outside world and improve productivity. Your staff can access the same features whether they’re in the office, working from home, or traveling.
- What Communication Features Do You Need? Hosted VoIP phone systems offer advanced capabilities many small- and medium-sized businesses otherwise could not afford. Service provider packages cover a broad range of features and options. A successful process involves categorizing features based on must-have, nice-to-have, and unnecessary. After a cost analysis of each option, you can justify a list of features you need to improve your operation.
Essential features often include unlimited local calling, station-to-station intercom calling, caller ID, voicemail, call forwarding, call transfer, call park, speed dialing, and music on hold. Some providers offer advanced features like follow-me service, simultaneous ring, auto attendant, call reporting, call routing, call management, interactive voice response, call recording, call center coaching tools, voicemail to email transcription, and integration with other business applications. Hosted VoIP phone systems extend functionality beyond basic voice communications.
- How Do You Want to Shape the Customer Experience? How you treat your customers when they call should be your primary concern. You want their experience to be a positive one. Hosted VoIP phone systems provide the tools you need to enhance voice quality, call processing, and employee accessibility. The right solution will project a professional image to your customers and make it easy for them to do business with you.
- What Will Your Phone System Cost? Calculating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is a major step in evaluating the best phone system for your business. TCO involves more than the initial cost of buying a system or service. It includes all the costs associated with continually operating the system, such as maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. These costs can be higher with an on-premises phone system. Comparing the TCO for all options under consideration is the only way to make an informed decision.
- Do You Have the Right Internet Connection? Your hosted VoIP service will only be as good as the quality of your Internet connection. For the best quality of service, you need consistent Internet connectivity with ample bandwidth available. Your hosted VoIP phone system provider should evaluate your connection and assist with the configuration, so you maintain good call quality. Some service providers also offer Internet connectivity solutions and can recommend the best options for hosted VoIP.
Almost anything you need to run your business communications a hosted VoIP phone system can deliver. Plus, you can get extended functionality at a lower initial cost than purchasing and maintaining your own on-premises Private Branch Exchange (PBX). It boils down to selecting the right solution and provider that best fits your business requirements.
By providing more streamlined, intelligent and cost-efficient solutions, FairPoint Communications helps businesses of any size get the most from their voice applications. FairPoint offers two Hosted VoIP options: Hosted PBX and SIP Trunking. A cloud-based voice service, FairPoint’s Hosted PBX eliminates capital investments in telecommunications equipment. SIP Trunking leverages an organization’s existing on-premise equipment by connecting it to FairPoint’s advanced Softswitch network.