Want to choose the best cloud phone system for your business?
Good! Because today, in Part 2 of our definitive guide to cloud phone systems, we’ll show you what to consider when choosing a business phone system provider......and help you choose the best one for you!
Choosing the best cloud phone system can be tricky - with so many great providers and different options around. But we're going to make it easy for you.
What to Consider When Choosing a Business Phone System Provider?
- Number of users
- Phone model
- Ease of use
- Bandwidth requirements
What Features do You Need from Your Phone System?
We recommend that you first think really clearly about why you need a cloud system and work to understand which specific features your business requires.
What are the functions your company relies on or would benefit from now or in the future? Do you need CRM integration or unified messaging?
Do you only need standard calling features like voicemail or are you looking to add advanced functions like call analytics?
Once you've answered these questions, you'll more clearly know what you're looking for - and the easier, and more informed, your choice will be.
How many users do you have?
Make sure that your cloud phone system of choice can support the number of employees who will use the service.
Consider how many users or extensions you require and how many calls you need to make simultaneously.
The ideal solution lets you add more users as your business grows and some providers offer plans with unlimited lines and extensions.
Consider the Phone model
Does your company need a business phone system with onsite desk phones or could you equip your employees with mobile phones or softphones only?
If you don’t want to invest in new hardware could you use your existing devices as softphones by running the software on your mobile phones or computers?
Look at Reliability
As downtime can seriously damage your business, reliability is an important factor to consider.
Ask the provider about their uptime stats and what measures they take to minimise downtime.
Ideally there are additional layers of redundancy implemented, which simply means that the cloud architecture has a fallback, so that in the event of a disturbance, business can continue as normal.
Techadvisory outline these 5 steps for minimizing downtime on a cloud system
1. Install a VoIP monitoring system
2. Have a backup broadband line
3. Route calls to mobile
4. Test your plan before you need it
5. Choose your provider wisely
Keep Scalability in Mind
Scalability is incredibly important if you’re planning to grow your business.
Most cloud based business phone systems are modular. You can start small and as your business expands you simply add more users to the system without the need to hire expensive technicians.
Pay-as-you-grow models let you add new lines, services and features on your own time. That’s also useful if your company hires seasonal employees who you need temporary extensions for.
For cloud telephony providers, high security standards are part of their core business.
A good cloud provider will do everything possible to protect the systems for his customers in the best possible way. That means meeting security standards set by international certifications like SSAE 18 and ISO/IEC 27001.
The geographic diversity of redundant high-security data centers minimises the risk of data loss and downtime.
Weigh up the Cost
While comparing prices is important, cost is not the only thing you should take into account when choosing a business phone system. The cheapest option is most likely not the best for your specific needs.
If you look at the return on investment you will notice that factors like increased productivity, upselling and efficiency play a big role. Your team might do the same with less people or more with the same people and you could actually save costs.
Prices vary depending on features, necessary hardware and number of users or lines. Look into what’s included in the monthly fee or if there are additional costs for add-on features you might need.
Consider ease of use
A major benefit of cloud hosted business phone systems is that they don’t require wiring and complicated equipment.
The ideal solution is easy for your employees to set up themselves and no time-consuming training is needed.
Take a look at the interfaces of different providers. Can they demo the service? Does it look modern, easy-to-navigate and intuitive? Does it easily integrate with software you’re already using?
For a successful switch to a cloud phone system you have to meet an important basic requirement: there must be sufficient bandwidth to support VoIP calls.
A VoIP speed test measures quality and performance of internet connections by simulating real sessions between a providers server and your computer.
Depending on your provider, it’s generally quite easy to upgrade to a higher speed.
Many business owners will find that the benefits of working with a local cloud phone service provider will outweigh what larger international companies have to offer.
A local managed service provider literally speaks your language and is often quicker to provide value-added services and personalised solutions.
Look for Great Support
Take a look at what type of customer support the cloud phone provider offers. You want to choose a company that’s available to quickly answer questions across multiple channels.
Make sure that the provider has a strong track record for taking exceptional care of its customers.
Does the company offer a demo of their service? Excellent! That’s a great way to get a good first impression of their level of customer service.
In today's market you have lots of options to consider for a business phone system. But following this guide, you’ll have the information you need to make the right decision based on your needs.
When it comes to choice criteria the 11 factors detailed above are the keys to making the right choice for your team.
Once you know what features to look for in a cloud phone provider, you can start looking at the best ones out there.
In the next chapter we will present you the 9 best cloud phone systems in 2020. Make sure you’re subscribed to our mailing list to automatically get that next post in your inbox.