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VOIP Phone Services: A Quick Guide

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP ) phone service allow businesses to make phone calls over an internet connection,  rather than through a landline or mobile phone. VoIP service is known to be cheaper than traditional phone service, yet offers more features and greater flexibility and customization. Systems can range in price and complexity depending on the needs of the customer and the size of the business.

Be sure you also check out the Top VOIP Tips in our Buyer’s Guide.

Benefits

Besides the obvious difference in price, VoIP telecommunications systems offer a number of other benefits that make them superior to traditional phone lines. These features are available in large corporate PBX-style systems, as well as smaller VoIP systems more suited to small businesses or startups. These features include:

  • Call data and analytics that registers the number of total calls made, the number of calls that were answered, the length of each call and its total cost – statistics you can use to make your sales staff and call center reps more effective.
  • If your VoIP system is hosted in the cloud, you can have all your data – including messages and voicemail – backed up and easily accessible anywhere.
  • You can transfer your VoIP service to another device so that your business is never disrupted by outside events.

Potential Pitfalls

As with any business service, you need to keep in mind the potential pitfalls of using that service. A bad VOIP service provider may saddle you with unnecessary equipment, bad call quality, and few avenues for complaint or reimbursement for downtime. Be aware of other special considerations involved with installing VoIP service in your business.

  • The FCC requires that VoIP services provide the maximum 911 availability possible, including appropriate dispatcher routing, call back capabilities, and call source location. Be sure to keep your VoIP provider updated with your business’s current address so that it can pass this information on to emergency services when needed.
  • Consumer-grade services tend to lack important features that your business needs. No matter how small your business is, be sure you purchase business-quality service and avoid consumer VoIP networks.
  • Make sure that the provider you choose has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that clearly proscribes  limits on poor call quality and network downtime.  A good VOIP provider will not charge you when it is not performing to the standards outlined in the SLA.

Pricing

The simplest VoIP systems only require a computer in order to make a call, while the most complex require specialized wiring and equipment similar to that of a PBX exchange. Your monthly phone bill is determined by the size of the business, how many phones are being used and the type of features included in the plan.

  • There may be additional installation costs when you first purchase your VoIP system, depending on the wiring and equipment you need and what is already available in your building.
  • You may be able to save money and receive better technical support by subscribing to the VOIP services offered by your internet service provider. In case of technical issues, you only have to deal with one company responsible for your internet and phone, not two.

VoIP phone service offers your business a wide variety of benefits that can be advantageous to your business. When looking for a VoIP service provider, be sure to take into account the size of your business, the functions you need, and the size of your budget. Look for providers that cater specifically to your business type and size. Make sure they have a well-defined SLA that protects your business from network downtime and guarantees good call quality.

If you’re interested in VOIP service, you may want to look into VOIP phone systems and phone accessories.