So you’ve finally decided to ditch your traditional phone system and switch over to VoIP. You’ve read extensively about how the technology works and know that VoIP delivers big benefits (such as cost savings, advanced features, and flexibility, among many others). And you have concluded that VoIP offers the right solutions for your business needs. So the next question is: what do you need to make the switch?
Making the move to VoIP may seem daunting, especially if you’ve relied on your landline for years. However, changing your phone system doesn’t have to be scary or cause any downtime or disruption. There are a few strategies you can adopt to ensure a smooth, seamless transition to VoIP. Take a look at these five tips:
1. Know what you want for your business
Start by understanding what you want to achieve by switching to VoIP. Do you primarily wish to cut communication costs, replace outdated equipment, support employees that telework or telecommute, or establish an international presence? Or perhaps a combination of these? Understanding your goals can help you leverage the full power of the technology and find the provider and plan that best addresses your desires
2. Choose your provider carefully
One of the most important steps to successful VoIP transition is finding the right VoIP provider and solution. There are so many VoIP vendors and solutions in the market today, so doing your homework and focusing on your goals is crucial in the selection process.
When choosing a provider, don’t merely settle for the cheapest one you can find. Try to look beyond the price and evaluate a provider based on factors such as product features, quality of services, ease of use, scalability, security, and customer support. Experience and expertise in the industry is also a significant factor to consider. One of the easiest ways to find and compare providers is by using a comparison service such as MyVoIPProvider.com or the savings tool on VoipReview.org. On these sites, you will find information about the top VoIP providers and read reviews from different customers to help make you the right choice.
3. Have a clear migration strategy
Do you want to implement VoIP in one go or gradually? Do you wish to replace your legacy phones completely or keep some of them running in parallel? Whichever you prefer, it is important to decide about your migration process prior to scheduling the installation. Factors such as existing infrastructure, cost, application needs, existing suppliers and relationships, number porting, and other factors should be considered in your migration plan.
Work with your team and your chosen VoIP provider to develop a clear migration plan that suits your needs. You can even tap your provider’s experience and get ideas on the solutions that have worked for their previous customers.
4. Make sure your employees are ready
In business, change is inevitable...and so is resistance to it. Introducing a new phone system may not always be welcomed by employees with open arms. They may have grown accustomed to your old business phone, and fear that trying something new will significantly affect them and their work. While resistance is a natural human behavior, you can overcome it quickly by keeping them on board from the beginning or by implementing BYOD to keep the learning curve low.
Talk to your staff about the coming changes and be prepared to address their concerns (such as how VoIP works and how it will affect them, etc.). Also, make sure to invest in training so they can familiarize themselves with VoIP and learn how to utilize the included call management and collaboration features. This will help your team become more comfortable and confident in using the system, rather than be wary of change.
5. Have a backup plan
VoIP systems need electricity and access to Internet to function. If either of these two become interrupted, your VoIP service cannot work. So in order to ensure that power failures or internet disruptions don’t halt operations, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan.
The most common solution is establishing backup power systems such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches. Another option is using a backup or alternate Internet Service Provider (ISP). Having a backup ISP will allow employees to continue making VoIP phone calls in case the primary ISP goes down for an extended period of time. But be aware that using two ISPs, however, will increase your internet connection costs; so determine first how important redundancy is to your business.
If the two options aren’t feasible from a cost standpoint, there is another solution businesses can try. And that is to select VoIP providers that offer call redundancy and continuity features. VoIPStudio’s Internet Failover Protection, for example, routes phone calls to backup landline and mobile phone numbers in case your electricity or internet service goes down. This way, operations don’t get stalled and you can continue receiving and answering calls.
Just like any business undertaking, transitioning to VoIP shouldn’t be done in haste. It requires thoughtful planning and careful execution to ensure a quick and trouble-free deployment. So make sure to apply these five tips when making the switch.