With many VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) choices on the market, you may want to take the time to find a service that extends your capabilities and helps you run your business more efficiently.
A first step is to take stock of your business needs and decide what you would like your VoIP service to do. Here are five questions to help get started:
What are your network needs?
If your requirements for voice communication are minimal, you might check to see if VoIP is available as an add-on through your Internet service provider. If you have more substantial voice needs or want a more robust solution, be sure the service is well-equipped to handle voice and data traffic. If you are using or plan to use a virtual private network, check that it can support any VoIP service you are considering.
Do you need to support remote workers?
VoIP services offer a number of features that can help remote workers be just as responsive, productive, and connected as they would be onsite. Through a single broadband connection, employees can check voicemail over the Web or take advantage of locator capabilities that help ensure they receive important calls while working at home, at a customer's site, in a hotel, or at the airport. Workers with smartphones can download an application that allows their desk phone and smartphone to ring simultaneously.
What are your phone and service needs?
When you sign up for a VoIP service, you can choose among feature-rich IP phones, IP conference phones, soft phones (software for making calls through the Internet), and analog phone adapters. What you choose depends on how you would like to make calls (using phones, the computer or both) and whether you want to continue using any analog phones you already have.
If you make several long distance or international calls each month, VoIP services may be more economical than a traditional phone system, as they generally include unlimited local and long distance calling and competitive rates for international calls.
Do employees need one fixed phone number?
With VoIP, you can assign a fixed telephone number for each employee, with your area code. The number can stay with them wherever they are. This helps provide a local feel to customers and colleagues, and simplifies matters for employees, since they need to keep track of just one number.
Do you have a staff member to oversee VoIP implementation?
Many small businesses lack the IT resources needed to manage the migration to VoIP. By opting for a hosted service, your entire VoIP infrastructure (except the phones and computers) will be housed and managed by the provider. If you already have a private branch exchange (PBX) or phone system that you would like to continue using, a service provider can help you transition to VoIP. Look for a provider with knowledgeable customer support representatives who can help you adjust to the new service and take advantage of all of its features.
Explore AT&T VoIP services to help make the right choice for your business.