When you’re switching over to a new VoIP service, it’s far easier than it used to be just a few years ago, and for everyone but the largest corporations, the whole process can be accomplished in a matter of days, or possibly even hours. Once your system is installed, you’ll have access to new features and services that your company probably never provided before. You won’t even have to worry about purchasing and installing a lot of VoIP equipment because most of the phone service is delivered via the Internet. All you really need is a reliable Internet connection and a VoIP service provider in order to start making use of your new service.
When it comes to the question of what kind of phones you’ll be using, you will have some options. You can, of course, purchase dedicated VoIP phones, and this is what many businesses elect to do, but there are other alternatives available. Because of the versatility and flexibility provided by VoIP, your employees can make calls or answer them using tablets, laptops or even mobile phones. It’s also possible for companies to install adapters on their existing phones, and gradually phase in newer phones as a cost-cutting strategy.
For those employees you have who are frequently on the road, or who do much of their work from home, it’s probably more advantageous to download a mobile app, so they can access their business phone numbers wherever they happen to be. The point is, whatever kind of physical phones your company makes use of, you have a number of options open to you.
Compatibility with Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
When your company does intend to purchase VoIP phones, there are some things you should be on the lookout for, so that you can be sure you make the right purchase at the outset. The first thing to be aware of is session initiation protocol compatibility. While SIP may not be the only protocol in use for VoIP service, it is certainly the dominant one, and in fact has already become the industry standard.
This is less of a factor now than it was a few years ago before SIP came to dominate the VoIP landscape, but you still have to be sure that your VoIP phones support SIP, so that hosted VoIP service remains compatible with desk phone support SIP. This is an important thing to inquire about from your VoIP service provider before purchasing any phones.
Supplemental VoIP Equipment
One of the reasons you might want to purchase VoIP phones in the first place is the supplemental hardware which is available for purchase with them. While this isn’t strictly necessary, and employees can certainly access all VoIP features from mobile applications or simply by using desktop software, there are some significant benefits provided by the accessory hardware.
For instance, VoIP phones are equipped with high-quality microphones and speakers which simply aren’t available on standard devices. If your employees spend many hours on the phone with customers, clarity of communications can be a very important issue. Not only will this improve the accuracy of order-taking and other such activities, it will leave a very favorable impression in the minds of customers, and all other business associates you communicate with.
You can also generally purchase built-in screens to accompany your VoIP phones which present very useful information. You can even configure these so that they have conferencing capabilities, which can empower your employees to a great extent, and save your company a lot of money on physical meetings. Managers and high-level officers would find this especially appealing and practical in their day-to-day routines.
Function Buttons and Programmable Buttons
Another major advantage of purchasing VoIP equipment is the potential for having programmable buttons and function buttons included on your phones. Your employees can save a great deal of time by having certain tools mapped to function buttons on their VoIP phones. For departments such as tech support or customer service, this can be a very important feature, since you could use this technology to expedite call transfer, hold, and ACD queues for greater efficiency.
Assigning function buttons is very similar to setting up your own programmed buttons, except that your company employees will have the option of deciding which functions to program and map to individual buttons. This allows for tremendous flexibility across your employee population, and since there is usually a wide variety of employee job functions, each of them can program high-usage tasks to their own programmed phone buttons, so as to achieve their own efficiencies.
Especially in those departments which call for a high level of rapid responses, the time necessary to accomplish certain tasks can be significantly reduced, resulting in greater productivity for all employees in those departments.
When you know your company is about to make the switch to a VoIP phone service, one of the first major considerations you should undertake is what kind of physical phones your employees will be using. You should be aware that there are many options available to you, but if you choose to use VoIP equipment, the employees of your company can achieve some quite significant gains in efficiency and productivity.