The virtual phone system has revolutionized communication and has many advantages compared to the old landline services. The Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system is not only easy to configure and implement but also runs over the Internet, hence no hardware is required. It’s also mobile, flexible, and easy to manage from your smartphone.
However, even with these benefits, there are several mistakes that new businesses make, some that could turn out to be very costly in the long run. The virtual system encompasses a complex set of technologies with the phone running over a data network. This presents new challenges that require due diligence if you are new to the system, below we look at ten mistakes to avoid when using the virtual phone system.
Not Considering Your Current Infrastructure
Always ensure your current network can support the increased traffic. The new system will not only need an appropriate Wi-Fi router; you also need to ensure your devices are compatible with the 4G and 5G networks. The office infrastructure also needs to accommodate specific requirements that accompany voice and video. Some of these requirements include a virtual Local Area Network and Quality of Service(QoS). If your current internet service provider cannot support your new bandwidth requirements, you may need to engage a new one. You also need to upgrade the infrastructure to accommodate new capabilities such as a router, access points, and switches.
The Cost of the Virtual Phone System
Before implementing a new phone system, consider that it comes at a cost besides the monthly rates that look good on paper. You need data minutes or an unlimited plan if you opt for softphones that run on cell phones. If the softphones run on computers, they must have the hardware that supports VoIP, access the internet, and handle the sound internally. You also require a support team to manage, maintain and provide support anytime it’s needed. A virtual phone system also comes with licensing costs which you must also put into consideration.
Anything that affects other online networks can easily affect your VoIP network. Cyber security is a major issue when using the internet and should be a concern too. Some of these security risks include malware attacks, call hijacking, and call tampering. If your system is not fully compatible with the already Installed security measures, you may be at risk. There are many regulations related to data privacy that may put your business in jeopardy if there is a breach. For instance, there is specific client information that you may be prohibited to keep, but that could be what you need for business. Read through and understand these regulations to avoid future problems with the regulators.
Not Considering User Needs
You need to review the different user requirements since not everyone requires the same features. You then tailor the system to accommodate these differences since each department has its unique needs. If specific employees are mapping out the plan, ensure they are engaged in the whole process and incorporate their suggestions for everyone’s benefit during the final rollout.
Though the system mainly aims at improving internal operations, do not forget your customers. They will also need the system to reach you. Make it easy for the customers without adding too many menus, instructions from the auto attendant, or many keying choices. This may lead them to abandon the calls if the process looks complicated.
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Not Planning For the Change to the New System
The virtual system takes time between planning, implementation, and switching over. There is an acquisition process, and you also need to train the users. To avoid chaos, you need to plan for this major change with a defined timeline when each step should be implemented. This includes piloting, testing, optimizing with additional suggestions, and finally rolling out the new system.
Going for Limited Features
When offered different packages, you may be tempted to go for one with limited features to save on costs. However, you may later be forced to upgrade to one with more features to improve efficiency and productivity. VoIP comes with many features, including voice, video, web conferencing, auto-forwarding, voicemail, 3-way calling, among others. Ensure you identify all important features before going for a specific package. If possible, get a custom package to avoid paying for what you don’t need.
Not Considering System Stakeholders
A virtual phone system is not just an IT function, as many organizations assume. There are key departments such as marketing and customer service that largely rely on the system. You may opt to have stakeholders from key departments then have the IT personnel take the lead. The key person should be versatile and ready to listen to what different departments require and implement. Someone with both IT and business backgrounds should be ideal. If this is not possible, find a reliable vendor who can manage and maintain the system.
Not Having Contingency Plan
Your new phone system majorly depends on the performance and reliability of your local network and the internet. Once in a while, the two may go down, leading to downtime on your phone system. You, therefore, need to have a contingency plan in case there are issues with these systems; otherwise, your customers may not be able to reach you. You need other phone services in case of a total internet outage.
Discarding the Old Phones
With the new system, you may opt to discard the old analog phone lines. However, these phones can still be incorporated into the new system for employees who don’t need key VoIP features. They can also be used in areas such as outdoors and basements. You may also need them as a backup in the future In case of an internet outage.
Choosing the Wrong Vendor
There are many VoIP vendors, and some may entice you with their low costs. However, you need a reliable vendor who can work with whoever is in charge of the system in-house. There will also be ongoing maintenance and support for your staff members. All this requires an experienced and well-equipped vendor who is ready to respond whenever you need them.
A reliable virtual phone system should save you money and enable your employees to be more productive. Avoiding the above mistakes may not eliminate all your problems but will certainly save you from trouble and also save you some dollars.