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How to choose a VoIP service to suit your SME

We've heard the term VoIP being thrashed around. A solution that offers a great way to reduce costs on calls as there is no line rental. Additionally, these services can have increased technological advances that a landline cannot offer, with chat, video and mobile soft-phone capabilities on a unified cloud communications platform.

But, when the decision is taken to upgrade to VoIP it is important that an organisation selects the optimum service. This can be somewhat of a minefield as there are so many variations and systems with amazing features.

This makes choosing rather difficult, so what should we bear in mind when we are selecting a VoIP service that's best for our business:

1. Plans and Pricing

Of course, as a business we need to ensure that we are getting the best price, it is no good to get all the trimmings if your business can't cover the costs. So it is important to shop around, if your business makes a high volume of calls then it would be better to select a service that is built around hardware and offers you unlimited calls, queuing services for incoming calls and an auto attendant. If you are more interested in the video conferencing functionalities then it'd be better to look for a service similar to Microsoft's Skype for business, which is cheaper than the VoIP call focused services, but you will pay more for calls.

2. Applications for mobile

There will be times where you have staff out of the office, this hopefully is particularly the case with sales functions and service teams, so you are going to want a service that can travel with them too. Not all VoIP providers offer mobile applications. Although, most VoIP services offer call forwarding, which is a good way to get calls passed onto staff when they are out and about. However, without an app, there won't be a log of the calls.

3. Third-party application integration

If you are wanting to get the most productivity from sales calls then you'd need to find a service that integrates with third-party applications. It is important that you look down the list of integrations or get the answer to the question to ensure that the new service connects. If the service can coexist in your technological ecosystem then it'd be best to choose that service.

4. Call management

When there is a colleague out of the office and unable to take a call you may look for a service that enables you to transfer calls to another after a few rings, offer a touch menu or place calls in a queue until they are answered. Video-conferencing won't deliver this, so a desktop application may be the one to choose.

5. Support

Again, for an outsourced service, there must be high levels of support available to you should your systems go down. A service provider that can offer live chat support, IT ticketing or phone support 24/7 it may be something that you'd like to choose, to ensure that you won't go down. An SME may only need support for the office hours, so the extra costs that could come inline with support 24/7 may not be required. However, if you have a multi-national business then you will need round the clock support. If that isn't offered, it may be best to look elsewhere.

6. Security

As with all technology especially cloud-based security is of the highest importance to keep your business secure. Remember, this is the communications hub of your business, so it is imperative to do your homework. You'll need to know who is liable for data storage and if you can negotiate the terms of security for the contract. A service with end-to-end encryption and authentication, private VLANs and behind the firewall protection.

7. Unified Communication

It could be the case that your VoIP provider could be your hypermarket of communication needs. This could mean integration with your chat function, conference calls, email, phone and voicemail within one solution. This may make it simpler for your business, so there aren't multiple bills or suppliers. You can have it all in one place. If not you will be running numerous systems across your SME with no tracking on who received messages on which device and through which channel.

This isn't a must-have, however food for thought if you have employees with multiple forms of communication, and all the apps would be tied in, saving your IT team the struggle of tethering multiple applications together.

Logixal offer VoIP services that can suit your business requirements and are scale-able as your business grows.

Contact or call +44 (0) 20 7014 0120

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