Five Options for VoIP Phone Systems

A reliable Voice over IP (VoIP) phone system should be an integral component of your communication strategy, especially between you and your customers. However, solutions may vary among different VoIP service providers. To select the best fit, businesses should analyze the capabilities you need for your business, and then compare your requirements to the service offerings available with potential providers.

Each provider will offer a set of features that come standard with the service. Other features may be optional and available for an extra charge. Whether standard or optional, the most important features to evaluate for a VoIP phone system include:

  1. Calling Plans for U.S. and International Locations – Many VoIP calling plans will provide unlimited calling within the United States and Canada, and/or a fixed number of toll-free calling minutes per month. Many plans offer significant discounts for international calling.
  1. Calling Features – Access to advanced features for businesses of all sizes has long been a major draw of VoIP phone systems. Examples of some of the most sought-after cost-saving and productivity-enhancing features include auto attendant, voicemail to email transcription, conferencing, call center coaching tools, music-on-hold, follow-me service, call recording, simultaneous ringing, customizable call routing, call screening, mobile apps for smartphones and PCs, contact manager integration and more.
  1. Desktop Equipment – You’ll want to evaluate the capabilities of available desktop phone models to get the exact functionality you need. Most VoIP services will provide IP phones. In some cases, you can also use an adapter to IP-enable a traditional desktop phone. IP phones range from basic calling models to advanced media models that unify voice, video and applications.
  1. Support –Although a hosted VoIP services provider will do all the heavy lifting, you still should consider the level of assistance you may need with setting-up and using your service. This support includes available documentation and access to live technical support representatives.
  1. Disaster Recovery – Where does the service provider’s VoIP phone system reside? Do they manage their own data center? Does the provider have an established process for unexpected outages and natural disasters? Does the service provider have the appropriate redundancy measures in place to ensure continuous access to your phone service? To avoid phone service outages, you will need to evaluate carefully the disaster recovery capabilities of prospective VoIP service providers.

To learn more about VoIP phone systems, download FairPoint Communications’ latest white paper titled “The Complete Guide to Hosted VoIP.”

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 voice 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-premises equipment by connecting it to FairPoint’s advanced softswitch network. Both options simplify network requirements, provide access to enhanced features and lower operational costs.

For more information on FairPoint Hosted PBX or SIP Trunking solutions, visit http://business.fairpoint.com/advanced-business-services/voice-services/.

Chris is the former Vice President of Product Management at FairPoint Communications, a leading provider of advanced communications technology in northern New England and 14 other states across the U.S.