VOICE OVER IP THAT BOOSTS BUSINESS EFFICIENCY- TEN TIPS FOR GETTING IT RIGHT

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1 VOICE OVER IP THAT BOOSTS BUSINESS EFFICIENCY- TEN TIPS FOR GETTING IT RIGHT

2 Voice Over IP that Boosts Business Efficiency Ten Tips for Getting It Right Business phone service with VoIP is the new face of advanced technology, providing the same telecommunication services, but at affordable rates. Internet telephony is being adopted by businesses worldwide due to its more cost-effective approach and enhanced services compared with traditional telephones. It also facilitates new communication platforms such as video and web conferencing, voice to messaging and more, in addition to traditional simple calls. Selecting the ideal vendor based on your inbound and outbound call requirements is one of the most important decisions you will make for your business. In this guide, you ll find ten tips for comparing top vendors and selecting a quality, affordable VoIP solution. But first, what are some of the advantages of VoIP for business? Why Choose a VoIP Solution for Your Business? VoIP service is in high demand among businesses of various spheres, both small and large, as it fulfills their aim of saving money by utilizing the internet as a source of costefficient calls. Outsourcing VoIP service can also save your business a great deal in operating and infrastructure costs. You want to be sure your important business contacts and regular customers can get through to you without dealing with dropped calls and incorrect routing, or be bombarded with time consuming automated options. An efficient and convenient VoIP system is the perfect solution. These systems may include features such as business voice mail, conferencing equipment, convenient headsets for your employees, on-hold messaging, call traffic managing software and many other features that you can customize to fit your business model. Business internet phone services via VoIP can be of various types; most offer easy setup and provide a scalable phone line system. You can opt for a hosted PBX or virtual PBX system based on your business needs.

3 A good business communication system vendor will bring a level of expertise to your project and help you get the most from your investment in VoIP technology. A quality provider will help you to accurately assess your needs, acquire the right equipment, install your system and keep it working at optimal performance, so you can focus on your core business processes. To find such a provider will take a bit of time and effort on your part, but it will be well worth it. Here are a few tips you can follow to help you find the best business communication system vendor for your business. 1. Look for a provider who is willing to spend some time learning about what drives your quest for a new or upgraded system. The vendor should talk with you in depth to determine exactly what you need in a phone system. They should also take the time to be sure you fully understand how the system will enhance productivity within your organization, and which features you will need to accomplish these objectives. 2. Project the return on investment (ROI) of your purchase as accurately as possible. This is an important step in determining the budget for your phone system. Have potential vendors lay out all expenses that will be involved; not only the initial purchase, but also the ongoing support and maintenance costs. This will help you to determine the total cost of ownership (TCO), which is an important metric to look at when comparing vendors. 3. Find out if the vendor can customize the solution to fit your business needs. Many applications that play an important role in your business can be integrated into your communication system. CRM solutions, for example, can work with your system to give you enhanced workflow and improved customer relationships. 4. The solution should also be scalable and adaptable according to the circumstances of your business. If you decide to add a call center, for example, or want to increase your presence on the mobile front, your provider should be able to accommodate such needs. 5. Inquire about the level of service and support the provider offers. But first, think about how much ongoing help you will require to operate the system. Does the provider offer training to ensure all users know how to use the system to its best advantage? Will you also require assistance at locations other than your main office? Many VoIP providers offer remote management assistance or can connect you with a local consultant if necessary.

4 6. Learn about the specific product lines each vendor uses. They should be willing to help you understand the particular benefits and features of the product line or lines they carry, and be able to show you the vendor and industry certifications for all solutions they offer. 7. Be sure the provider will take the time to assess the health of your network to ensure it is capable of handling the demands of the new communications solution. You will likely need your system not only for high quality phone calls, but also video conferences, project collaboration and much more. After monitoring your network over several work days, the provider will be able to tell you what upgrades, if any, are necessary to get your network ready for a new or upgraded VoIP system. 8. Check out the wireless LAN capacity and coverage if you want your solution to support mobility. Will you need to use Wi-Fi in your conference rooms, and do you want to offer it to visitors as well? Talk to the provider about your needs in this area so they can fill you in on your options where your wireless capability is concerned. 9. Ask the provider for case studies and references. A reputable company should have a number of satisfied customers in industries similar to yours. Contact the references to ask about their experience with the company. 10. Compare quotes from vendors that match your needs. This is a very important step, which, if done carefully, will help you pinpoint the provider who is able to meet your needs at a price that is within your business budget. Answering the questions of that each vendor will likely have for you will help them to provide accurate quotes. InsideUp can make this vital task easy for you by providing competitive quotes from pre-screened business communication system providers. Additional Considerations Reliability - One of the drawbacks of the early VoIP systems is their reputation for having unreliable sound quality and connectivity. Although sound quality has increased tremendously in recent years, many businesses may want to test out a VoIP vendor before deciding if a particular vendor is right for their needs.

5 Telephone System Features - VoIP vendors offer a wide variety of very appealing virtual PBX features plus voice mail, faxing, and toll free lines that are packaged as part of a monthly subscription. Many VoIP vendors provide a service that will convert voice mail messages to s or text messages. Some VoIP and PBX software programs also allow customers to create "ghost" phone numbers or multiple phone lines for one account. It s important to determine which features are right for your business before beginning the vendor selection process. Phone Service Price - The price for VoIP service varies a great deal depending on the number of phones a business uses, the features desired, and the vendor itself. Therefore, businesses should determine their cost preferences before starting the process of reviewing a telephone IP vendor. Keep in mind that most international and long-distance phone calls are free when using VoIP, which is not the case with an analog phone service. Hardware and Equipment - The hardware required for VoIP services also varies based on the vendor. For example, some VoIP systems can be used directly through a computer. Other VoIP services are available through an IP, or VoIP equipped phone. Getting the Most from Your VoIP System Your business phone system is an essential piece of office technology that connects you with existing and potential customers. To make sure it is being used effectively once the new VoIP system is deployed, consider the following. How Customers Reach the Desired Party The first step in any phone call is simply reaching the person you really want to talk to. The best business phone system works through a single company number and offers a simple system for reaching the right department. An automated menu is an efficient way to handle a large number of phone calls. The call menu should be simple and straightforward, so customers are able to reach the department that they need quickly. You should always have an option to reach the operator or receptionist as well, for callers who are unsure of whom they need to speak with. Call waiting and hold features are helpful for handling multiple callers without losing any. If you have a small enough call volume, a dedicated answering service can route calls properly and even answer many questions.

6 How Unanswered Calls are Handled Ideally, all calls will be answered. With a VoIP phone system, you can ensure that all phone calls receive immediate attention. However, it is still important to have all users checks their messages daily, and implement a clear method for forwarding messages to the proper party. How Calls are Monitored Finally, the overall efficiency of your business phone system can be easily measured by using call monitoring. All calls should be monitored so you can easily resolve customer disputes. Proper monitoring will also help you identify your best salespeople and find an effective way to boost quality in weak spots. In Conclusion A reliable VoIp system is one of the most important acquisitions for your business. Allow us to help you get connected with vendors who can provide you with the key to communication with your employees, customers, partners, and the rest of the world. InsideUp has made the task of choosing a VoIP vendor easy for you. We have carefully selected top, national VoIP providers who can supply high quality VoIP systems for your business at significant cost savings. There is absolutely no obligation to take advantage of this valuable service. Just submit our simple form and receive up to five free competitive quotes from pre-screened vendors today. Glossary of Key Terms 3-Way Conference Standard feature that few businesses could do without. Connect quickly and easily. Auto Attendant An automated voice will handle calls after business hours or when your receptionist is out. You can customize the greeting, and even record responses to frequently asked questions. Call Forwarding When it s important to answer your calls personally, have them forwarded to your mobile phone or elsewhere. You can customize this feature to forward calls after a designated amount of rings, for example, or to let callers know their call has been forwarded.

7 Call Hold Don t miss any important calls while you re helping other customers. Call Logs Quickly access detailed data related to received, missed, and dialed calls. Lets you categorize, filter, and analyze call information. Call Park/Call Pick-Up Check the status of parked calls, or have them automatically picked up again after 3 minutes. Call Transfer Easily transfer to on site extensions, mobile phones, or remote locations. Caller ID/Call Waiting Caller ID A quick glance will tell you exactly who is calling and who is waiting. Conference Bridge Handle large or small meetings with integrated voice and internet conferencing. Directory Assistance Listing Quickly access 411 information. Do Not Disturb Just like putting your phone on silent. You won t hear a ring, but your caller can leave a message. Interface for CRM Make calls directly from your CRM application. Local Number Porting Keep your same number when you switch providers, so your long-time customers will know where to reach you. Local Time Zone Management Whose turn is it to set all the clocks back or is it forward? No worries; your VoIP phones will always display the correct time, and the local time of every call received. Microsoft Outlook Integration Place calls directly from your outlook address book and see incoming calls from your Outlook contacts.

8 Music/Messaging On Hold Your customers wait time will seem shorter while listening to music or helpful tips about your products and services. Ring Groups Your entire sales team will receive the same calls simultaneously, so no prospect goes unattended to. Ring Tones Distinguish between internal and external calls with single or double ring tones. Stutter Tone Notification Lets callers know if you are not accepting calls, and notifies you when you have messages. Voic Similar to traditional voice mail, only better. VoIP systems can forward voice mail, return calls directly from voic , and send your voic s to you through follow me search. Voic Greeting Options Use a standard greeting, or record a friendly voice greeting for your customers. Voic to Receive voic notifications via , listen to your voic s on your computer through any standard account, or forward voic s to someone else by .

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