These days, more and more businesses and organizations are making a switch from traditional to cloud-based phone systems, particularly VoIP—and for good reasons.
VoIP is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol. It’s an advanced phone system that enables businesses to generate and receive calls via the internet. In other words, VoIP won’t work without a stable internet connection.
Moreover, VoIP phone systems are easy to set up. All you need is a working headset and a dynamic software solution like those developed and offered by Drop Cowboy and other similar providers online.
If you want to incorporate VoIP phone systems into your current business systems, you’re on the right page. This post will teach you how to integrate VoIP phone systems into your business operations. Scroll your buttons down to learn more.
What Are The Advantages Of Using VoIP?
Here are the reasons why businesses these days go crazy over VoIP phone systems:
- VoIP helps you save money.
- VoIP enables you to make and receive calls anywhere as long as there’s a decent internet connection to support your calls.
- VoIP promotes portability and flexibility. You can go anywhere and use the same phone number.
- VoIP is 100% scalable—perfect for growing and expanding businesses.
- VoIP offers clearer voice quality than traditional phone lines as long as you have a stable internet connection.
VoIP systems convert analog voice into a digital signal and send it to discrete data packets through a stable internet connection. Without a decent internet connection, VoIP won’t function properly. Since the process heavily depends on the internet, there’s no need for traditional and bulky phone lines.
Integrating VoIP Into Your Current Operations
Once you fully understand how VoIP works, it’s time to learn how to set up and integrate a VoIP system into your existing business operations. Here are some simple steps to follow:
- Identify The Needs Of Your Business
Identifying the needs of your business will help you determine the right type of VoIP phone system for your business. It can also aid you in choosing suitable subscription plans later.
Below are the things to consider when taking an inventory of your needs:
- Current Phone System
Assess your current phone system and check what must be improved. If you have traditional telephone lines, you might notice that most of your employees use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Perhaps your needs have changed as technology evolves. Aside from that, you might want a phone system that enables you to make chats and video conferences. This will guide you when choosing a VoIP system later.
If you want to learn more about VoIP, watch :
- Call Volume
The call volume will dictate how many phone lines are necessary. Generally, businesses receiving plenty of calls provide individual lines to every team member. If you’re just getting started, a phone per team or department might be a more practical option.
Assessing the daily volume of calls you make and receive will help you choose the right VoIP system for your business.
- Types Of Calls
The type of calls you process will help you determine the features you want a VoIP phone system to have. For example, if you’re handling a high volume of sales calls, selecting a phone system with customer relationship management (CRM), caller ID, and call recording features would be a good idea.
However, if your business focuses on customer service, choosing a system with call queuing and interactive voice response (IVR) would make more sense.
- Check Your Internet Connection
VoIP depends on a stable internet connection to produce high-quality calls. This is why testing your internet connection before setting up your VoIP phone system is crucial.
Often, VoIP providers have speed test tools you can find on their online platforms. These tools measure and analyze different parameters, including:
This is the amount of time between received and sent data packets. You want jitter to remain less than 30 milliseconds to produce quality calls—any longer than that can lead to poor call quality.
- Packet Loss
This refers to pieces of data that are unable to reach their final destination (e.g., distorted sounds or unintelligible words). Packet loss should be between 1-2%—anything higher than that is unacceptable.
This is popularly known as ‘lag.’ It refers to the delay during the process of transferring data. The acceptable lag is less than 150 milliseconds—anything longer than that can lead to poor call quality.
This parameter refers to the total amount of information an internet connection can process. If you want to process 20 calls at the same time, you need a bandwidth of at least two mbps (megabytes per second).
If your test results fall behind the standards, perhaps it’s time to upgrade. Consult your service provider and ask what you need to do to improve your internet connection speed. Furthermore, there’s a possibility of limited connectivity within your area. Hence, your internet speed is so slow. If that’s the case, it might be better to choose virtual phone systems than VoIP.
- Understand The Different Types Of VoIP Phone Systems
It’s important to familiarize yourself with the different types of VoIP phone systems before you choose one for your business. Do this to determine which one would suit your business needs better.
- Integrated Access VoIP
If you’re looking for a VoIP system that functions like a traditional phone line, then this type is perfect for you. This enables you to keep your old phone number and device while accessing a range of advanced communication features.
- Session Initial Protocol (SIP) Trunks
This type of VoIP transmits video and voice data over the Internet. Since everything is processed over the internet, you can replace your traditional analog network.
- Hosted IP Private Branch Exchange (PBX)
As the name implies, this type of VoIP system is hosted by a third-party vendor. This means all the responsibilities, security, maintenance, and upgrades fall on the vendor.
- Managed IP PBX
This type is similar to hosted IP PBX. However, instead of the device being off-site, the phone hardware is stored on the client’s premises. Choosing this type of VoIP service lets you reduce the initial startup costs, maintenance, and training.
- Mobile VoIP
This type of VoIP runs on an application that can be installed on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. This enables you to make and receive calls anytime, anywhere, as long as you have a decent internet connection.
- Software-Based VoIP
This is arguably the most common type of VoIP in the market today. Like mobile VoIP, you need to install an application on your computer and use its input and output to make and receive calls.
Remember, choose one that fits your needs, not your wants. Even if it’s the most advanced VoIP system in the market, it won’t make sense if it’s not suitable for your operations.
- Set A Realistic Budget
You need to find out how much you’re willing to spend on a VoIP phone system to determine the right VoIP for your business.
For a device-based VoIP system, the total cost will depend on the hardware and additional expenses. These include server maintenance, regular upgrades, VoIP installation, and IT services (in-house or third-party). Typically, cordless phones cost around USD$90 to USD$420; meanwhile, headsets cost around USD$70 to USD$400.
For a cloud-based VoIP system, you need to pay monthly charges, depending on the number of phone lines you need. Service providers offer a flat rate for a particular number of lines, but the price per line usually gets lower when more phone lines are needed.
If there’s a consistent volume of calls, it’s better to opt for an annual payment scheme than a monthly one to earn discounts and increase savings. However, a monthly payment scheme might be more practical for seasonal call volumes.
Here are other costs to consider when setting up a VoIP phone system:
- Internet Upgrades
A connection that isn’t on par with the latest technology requires an upgrade. Business internet plans may cost between USD$35 to USD$500 per month, depending on the type of connection (e.g., fiber or DSL) and speed rate.
- Toll-Free Numbers
Some VoIP providers charge toll-free calls as an added cost while others include it in their subscription plans. The cost is between USD$12 to USD$14 monthly. For incoming calls, the cost is around USD$0.06 to USD$0.30 per minute.
- VoIP Integrations
Integrations make VoIP phone systems more powerful and functional. These include productivity tools such as CRM, call analysis, SMS, and the like. The cost may vary depending on the integration you need.
- Overseas Calls
Different countries have different call rates. Ask your service provider for a complete list of overseas call rates per minute. Some VoIP providers charge USD$0.04 per minute for calls outside the U.S.
- Choose The Right VoIP Provider
Below are the factors you need to consider when looking for the right VoIP provider:
- Third-Party Integrations
Does your VoIP provider allow third-party integrations such as the tools existing on your system? If not, choose another one that enables you to integrate other tools into your system.
- Unified Communications
Look for a provider that supports unified communication and other essential needs to boost employee productivity, reduce costs, and empower team collaboration.
- Mobile Application
A VoIP with a free mobile application makes everything a lot easier. This is especially true for businesses with remote employees. Nevertheless, make sure it’s applicable not just to mobile devices but also to desktops and computers.
- Optimum Security
Look for a VoIP provider that prioritizes security against data theft. Choose a system that offers data encryptions (e.g., in-transit and at-rest) and advanced authentication procedures (e.g., multifactor and biometrics).
Aside from these factors, you should consider the features VoIP providers offer. Here are some essential VoIP features you might want to look for:
- Voicemail To SMS
This feature encourages contacts to respond by sending voicemails via SMS messages. It transcribes voicemails to text messages, making your campaigns more accessible and flexible.
- Call Analytics
This feature helps you analyze the success of every call made and received. Also, it provides the information you need to improve overall agent performance.
- Call Pop
This feature is useful for businesses with an answering machine for incoming calls. It automatically displays essential information about incoming callers. You can use this to improve customer experiences.
- Interactive Voice Response
IVR uses speech recognition technology to ensure that incoming callers reach the person that can solve their problems.
Choosing the right VoIP provider will help you overcome internal and external communication issues. You’ll be able to break down silos and establish more efficient and effective cross-department communication.
- Get A Business Phone Number
There are different types of business phone numbers: local, toll-free, and vanity.
- Local Number
This is ideal for businesses serving a limited market area. Local phone numbers are often free of charge but may cost USD$10 per month.
- Toll-Free Number
This is an 800 number not restricted to a particular location. Incoming callers from different regions don’t have to pay extra charges to call you. Toll-free numbers may cost you around USD$10 per month.
- Vanity Phone Number
This is a set of numbers you can spell (e.g., 1-800-VINTAGE or 1-800-DANCERS). Vanity numbers typically cost between USD$10 and USD$50 per month.
If you want to keep your old number so as not to confuse existing customers, ask your provider to port your numbers. They’ll need your existing phone numbers to process your request. You’ll receive an SMS or email notification when the process is done.
- Install Your VoIP Phone System
The VoIP installation process will depend on the solution you want. If you prefer a device-based VoIP system, use an adapter to connect existing phone hardware to the modem. You can also use IP phones (cordless phones), which you can connect to your computer over the internet.
If you choose a cloud-based VoIP system, the installation will take place on your devices (e.g., computers, laptops, smartphones). All you need to do is download the software application from your provider on your digital device.
Once the installation has been completed, complete the setup and test the system to ensure that every feature and function works accordingly. Then, train your team and teach them the best practices they can use to work productively using the new system.
VoIP systems can take your inbound and outbound operations to the next level. They can help cut back expenses, bring new clients, boost employee productivity, and increase company revenue. To integrate VoIP into your existing system, follow the steps above. Find the right VoIP provider to solve problems and improve your game.