The day and age of needing to install mountains of hardware in order to have an office phone system are over. Luckily in this golden age of business technology, we are provided with a mountain of online options instead. While there are many options to choose from, it is still not simple to pick a perfect provider. Even once all features and benefits have been navigated through and a choice is made, there is still the problem of hardware or network to face. This blog entry is set to break down the steps of converting to a voice over IP cloud solution. So let’s get started..
Selecting a phone provider is a complicated and tedious process when extensive research is performed on this topic. Nobody wants to make the wrong choice when it comes to the way their clients communicate with them. Taking careful time to look at each phone service provider and the features the system offers will prove to be a successful strategy in the long run. Sometimes, having one single feature not be available but hastily overlooked due to rushing can lock a company into a system that doesn’t offer the true needs they require covering.
Our top features to watch out for are listed below. Although, don’t take our word for it. Some hours researching online will bring you to your own conclusions.
There are quite a few desk phone or VoIP phone options out there. Which ones are the most common or reliable? Well, luckily three manufacturers dominate the telecommunications industry for making voice over IP phones. Those 3 main companies are Polycom, Yealink, and Cisco. Even if there are other brands that sell a lot of devices, these 3 are the most common to find already working within most VoIP providers systems. We recommend purchasing one of these 3 brands due to cost, quality, features and most of all, they work with virtually any provider. If you don’t keep your service and change providers, taking these 3 types of brands to the next carrier should go with ease. There are many other great companies making phones as well. By this point in history, most brands provide a great product and can usually be trusted. Just make sure the brand plays well with others too!
Any VoIP provider that doesn’t offer to send a technician out to test the network prior to phone installation is not providing the level of service which should be obtained. Any great voice provider would first recommend checking the internal network and business class internet connection for proper speeds. A simple tool can be used to test the speeds of the network and determine if IP phones will work well at that data rate. Once the network is tested, phones and the hosted PBX can be ordered!
Another outstanding service that a great VoIP installation company would provide is phone provisioning. We have seen in some cases when an installer just dropped off the factory default phones to a client and told them to provision the phones and then they will work. This is a tedious process and typically is not performed by an end customer. Unless the person is knowledgeable in assigning server addresses and setting up button features on phones, it would not be recommended to attempt this. Even the most experienced companies must take their time setting up these items carefully. Simple mistakes can leave a phone or system inoperable. Having all your customers call an empty line isn’t the ideal situation. Ensure your installer plans on provisioning phones, setting up the auto attendant, hunt groups and all desired button features on the phones themselves. Unless they are copying your old phone system settings, this may need to be tweaked a bit once the system is online. Sometimes the planned call flows and features don’t line up with what the users envisioned or are accustomed to. So even the best-planned system in the world might need some final adjustments once brought online to satisfy the needs of the company and its clients. So, plan on having a provider that will stick around for the long haul or at least until you are happy.
Now that we discussed the need for a great provider and installation company, we can learn more about the call flows and PBX internal setup. An auto attendant is a voice that we are all accustomed to hearing when we call into a company. Press 1 for sales and press 2 for customer service is a very common phrase in telecom. That is the auto attendant at work. This feature can send the calls directly to a certain person or a hunt group. Most of us all refer to hunt groups as departments in a company. A hunt group is just a telephone system group created by the installer to define a set of people. Such as the accounting department, sales department, etc.. Once the group is created, users can be assigned. They can be assigned to ring all at the same time or one person after the other. Those are referred to as sequential or round robin ring patterns.
Each user that gets their own line, gets assigned an extension such as 1000 for example. Internally inside the phone system, any other user can dial the extension and get that person. If they aren’t at the desk and the follow me feature is activated, then it goes to their cell phone. Assuming that doesn’t work, they can be routed back to another hunt group, the operator or a voicemail.
Most of the systems out there today provide voicemail speech to text. This will transcribe the voicemail into a text message or email and forward it along to be reviewed. This helps keep down on missing important voicemails left by clients.
If you have made it this far in the process, then by now you are entering an expert level! All jokes aside, this process of converting to an office phone system in the cloud isn’t all that bad. It can be an easy process that comes with great rewards. The benefits of converting typically revolve around cost savings and the need for automated attendance. These can be the deciding factors in just about any company’s profitability and customer retention. Getting customers to the right person, as quickly, efficiently and cost effective as possible is the core of any business.