If you’re running a business in 2020, then chances are, you have already heard of and might even use some form of VoIP or internet phone service through your business phone line. If you’ve ever used Skype or Facebook Messenger—or any kind of internet service to make a call—you’re experiencing the power of Voice Over IP (VoIP).
VoIP systems have become the norm for businesses large and small, as they provide an easy, surefire way to make telecommunications more efficient—and affordable. For small and medium-sized businesses, these savings can make a big difference. The efficiency of a VoIP system can also ease some headaches for companies that may not have the manpower to handle complicated or less streamlined communication needs. Small businesses generally don’t need some of the more sophisticated VoIP features—like video conferencing that can accommodate 100 or more participants—but the flexible pricing, ease of operations, and customer service offered by many VoIP providers can be of real assistance.
Finding the Best VoIP Phones for Your Small Business
When it comes to integrating VoIP into your business, there are some factors to consider before you choose a provider. The top VoIP providers can help you lower costs, reach more customers, and even enhance your mobility and productivity. For example, the what you need to take into consideration when looking at VoIP for small businesses is very different to a VoIP service for your home.
The most important features to look for when searching for a VoIP solution are:
- Ease of operation and setup
- Reliability and customer service
- Features and customizability
- Mobile options
- Video conferencing and screen sharing
Switching to a VoIP system entails some initial costs, which are quickly offset by the savings. VoIP services can also increase the efficiency, convenience, and flexibility of your communications and help you incorporate the business tools of a larger company. Before you choose your VoIP provider, try to determine how easy it will be to adopt the system and operate it, and also if it has any specific features you need. For example if you want your business to present a professional and polished impression, such as that of a law firm, then you'll want to make sure you have the necessary features.
Types of VoIP Systems
The biggest difference in cost is going to depend on the type of VoIP service you choose for your business. There are 3 main systems available:
Similar to a website hosting plan, this means that the vendor owns the hardware, and your business leases or buys the phones. Maintenance will be handled by the vendor, too. Companies will usually charge a subscription to use the internet business phone system.
Best for: Smaller businesses
In this scenario, your business owns the hardware, which means you are responsible for any upgrades or maintenance work. This sort of setup can be prohibitive for a smaller business because of the higher initial costs of purchasing the hardware. In addition, the upkeep may require the manpower that a small company doesn't have. On the other hand, these systems can provide better options for customization and a higher level of security.
Best for: Larger businesses
With this system, the business still owns the equipment, but the vendor is in charge of set up and maintenance. This is a great “best of both worlds” option, in that it allows the customer to use their own equipment—like with the on-premise system—while still being able to enjoy the assistance provided by a hosted system.