Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a form of communication technology that can be used for making and receiving calls via the internet.
By converting sound into digital information that is then transmitted through internet broadband, VoIP technology has totally changed the ways that businesses are able to communicate.
Provided that an internet connection can be joined, then conversations between speakers from all over the world can take place safely and effectively.
However, although there are plenty of VoIP providers out there nowadays, not all of them offer the same features and services and therefore finding the right one for your business can seem overwhelming at first.
So, let us discuss 3 simple steps that can help you to narrow down your search so that you can discover the best VoIP system for your needs.
Identify the Gaps in Your Current Communication System
Before beginning your search for a VoIP provider, it is important to first ascertain what exactly you need from a VoIP system.
Start by identifying which features would be useful for your business and try to tackle any needs or problems that your existing communications system is not addressing.
Whether you want to increase the capacity of your current system or if your existing solution does not integrate very well with your other business software, then an upgrade might be the only route for you.
Alternatively, you might even be looking for ways to cut your communication costs.
To find the best VoIP provider, you should ask questions about how VoIP technology can resolve your issues.
For instance, do you need a toll-free number, a local number, an international number, or a combination?
Do you make lots of outbound calls or are inbound calls more common?
Do you need call routing solutions?
Are you responsible for multiple locations and do you have a distributed workforce?
Are you interested in audio or video conferencing?
Essentially, once you have identified your operational needs you can look for VoIP providers that can meet these requirements.
To learn more about two popular VoIP providers, check out this guide that compares ringcentral vs aircall.
Learn About the Different Types of VoIP Providers
In essence a VoIP provider is a company that delivers VoIP phone services to businesses.
Most VoIP providers follow a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model where clients subscribe to a remotely hosted service.
Opting for a SaaS model means that businesses do not have to pay for additional servers or hardware to use the VoIP system in question.
Instead payments are taken during any period in which the service is used.
This means that users can unsubscribe and switch providers at any time without worrying about investing in new equipment.
Finding the right VoIP provider is a case of identifying one that addresses your specific business needs.
The majority of VoIP providers fall under three categories.
VoIP-only providers focus solely on telephony functions and provide basic features like voicemail, call forwarding, and caller ID, without any call management features.
VoIP with cloud phone system providers make use of the cloud by combining it with VoIP technology.
Additional features offered include auto attendants, answering rules, and virtual extensions.
Thirdly, VoIP as part of unified communications solution providers offer features similar to the above alternatives but combine extra tools such as online meetings and team messaging into one platform.
This effectively creates a central communications hub.
Check for Reliability and Security
Once you have determined that a VoIP provider can meet your communication needs, you must now assess whether they are able to keep their services reliable and secure.
Because VoIP technology transmits data that passes through a public network, there is always a risk that your communication can be intercepted by a breach during transmission.
That being said there are security measures that can be deployed to protect data during VoIP calls such as employing a strong and high-level of encryption.
In terms of VoIP calls, encryption refers to the process by which data is converted from its original form to an encoded version that can only be decoded via a decryption key.
Encryption secures data for safe transmission across IP networks.
In terms of reliability, it is important to pay attention to how many data centers that the VoIP providers on your shortlist use.
In theory, multiple servers in multiple data centers results in a redundancy of service.
This means that if a server were to fail, another sever would instantly be able to take over.
Similarly, if an entire data center were to go down, another data center would be able to take over the service, reducing any potential for disruption.
Further security and reliability practices that your VoIP provider might also offer include regular auditing of data centers, advanced account management and administration opportunities, and support of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
Ultimately, no two businesses have the exact same needs and therefore finding the best VoIP provider is always going to involve an element of research.
Above all, while there is no one size fits all option where VoIP technology is concerned, provided that you take your time to compare a few different service providers, you can find the right VoIP system to enhance your business communications.
VoIP technology is a crucial investment for call center based businesses. To learn more, take a look at this article that lists some of the best call centre technology that can boost your business.