So – you’re a Department Manager, and you’re boss has just tasked you with transferring the whole company over to using VoIP. Should you be worried, and if so, about what?

Firstly, moving to VoIP is a positive move for your company, so don’t worry too much. It comes with a number of advantages, such as improved call quality, flexibility for users, an improved feature-set and lower costs. There are some things which will need a bit of input, and you will have a few decisions to make at some points of the process. But overall, if you have a reasonably clear idea of your requirements, and you’re dealing with a professional and responsive VoIP Provider, there is nothing here which should cause much stress.

If you haven’t already set up a hybrid or remote working environment, then VoIP is a key technology which allows this to happen. You will be able to transfer calls between workers, callers will hear your company messages and music, and workers will use their standard phone numbers, not their own mobile numbers. Remote working has been a feature of our pandemic-influenced environment, and is becoming common place. Not just for staff safety considerations, but also due to the fact that many companies are now considering if they need a physical office at all. If they do, does it need to be able to accommodate all staff at one time, or is there a possibility of setting up a “hot desking” environment, and saving money on a smaller office space?

If you are thinking about setting up this kind of work environment, then there are a few things to bear in mind. As mentioned at the start, none of this is particularly daunting or stressful, and we’ll go through the action points one at a time.

As a starting point, you need to check if all employees have a good, stable internet connection. This is a basic requirement for a VoIP system.

With this box ticked, you need to move onto phones. Are staff happy to take home their deskphones? Or, if you are just staring with VoIP, are staff happy to have a phone delivered? Are staff happier using a deskphone, or a softphone? Some people prefer a physical phone to use, and some are happier using a softphone.

If you are unfamiliar with the term ‘softphone’, then this refers to software. You receive download details from your VoIP provider, or the softphone supplier, and download the softphone onto your PC, smartphone or laptop. Many people are finding this preferable to a physical deskphone. It takes less room, there are fewer wires, you don’t need a power supply with a socket nearby. You also don’t have to worry about a device being delivered, someone being at home at a set date and time, or any courier problems. However, it is up to the end user, and you can offer them a choice if they wish. One thing to bear in mind about a softphone is that it will probably be an annual license, so you will need to arrange payment every year.

Another potential worry is how do you keep an existing phone number. If your customers know and are familiar with your existing phone number, you may wish to hang on to it. We can quickly lay this worry to rest. Transferring your number to a VoIP Provider is easy. The Provider you sign up with will easily be able to take the number from where it is, and join it with a VoIP system for you. You will probably have a couple of forms to fill in, and you might have to find a recent invoice for the number, but that’s it. Nothing that 5 minutes of form-filling and a rake through your emails won’t solve.

The most daunting part of the whole project might be how to start. How do you choose one Provider over another? Ask yourself, did they listen to your requirements, and advise a good solution? There is a world of difference between a possible solution to a problem, and an actual solution. Your situation will be your own, and you want a Provider who will cater for your own identified needs and wants. The first step to providing this is listening, so you need to be discussing your requirements with someone who will listen to you, and respond with something appropriate.

Don’t be afraid to factor in your own feelings. How did they come across? What was their first impression like? Do some research into the company, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. After all, communications is an important, if not a vital part of how your company operates. Make sure you are happy with the solution offered, and ask as many questions as you want to or need to.

For a handy guide, get in touch and ask for a copy of our ‘Selecting a Business-Grade VoIP Provider’ pdf.

You might find the following articles helpful:

4 Potential VoIP Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

How to Choose and Work with a Softphone

How to Project Manage Moving to VoIP

The Three Things Any Business Phone System Needs

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