5 Common VoIP mistakes to avoid when upgrading your phone system
Many businesses are looking to upgrade their phone systems to leverage the benefits that VoIP and Unified Communications can provide them with - and who can blame them? Therefore, as part of our Switching to VoIP series, we have been outlining the essential information and questions that companies and IT admins need to know and answer during their decision making process.
Thinking of making the switch from your plain old telephone system (POTS) to a fully featured, fully integrated VoIP phone system? Then check out these 5 Common VoIP Mistakes and how to avoid them before making the switch.
Many businesses neglect the fact that transitioning to VoIP is more than an IT or Telephony project. In actual fact, such initiatives encompass elements from both worlds. Therefore, it is essential to delegate responsibility to a team member who has both the technical know how and decision making authority. In the worst case scenarios, some organisations fall into the trap of seeing VoIP as a purely telephony project and therefore do not assign accountability at all for the deployment and maintenance.
Always ensure that the right person (or team) with the right skill set is assigned to manage the project from the word go. If you do not have this particular skill set in house, choose a vendor who can manage your project from the planning stages through to implementation and ongoing maintenance.
Deploying without a plan
Number 2 on the list of common VoIP mistakes is implementing your VoIP initiative without a carefully considered and thought out deployment plan. Regardless of whether your business is SOHO with 5 users or a larger SMB with 150 users, working with and sticking to a plan helps reduce delays as well as minimising downtime & unexpected additional costs, all of which will reduce the impact of your core business activities ensuring employee productivity during the transition process. It is always worthwhile remembering the military version as opposed to the marketing version of the 7 P’s (or the 5, 6, 10 or even 12 P’s which eloquenty explain the correlation between planning and performance.
Elements of the transition worthy of consideration include, hardware acquisition, software installation, bandwidth requirements as well as the actual roll out phase of your VoIP project. An example scenario could be where you run both telephony systems in parallel for a few days to provide overlap in which adjustments and staff training can be undertaken.
Any old router will do
Think Again! While it is more than likely that your new VoIP phone system will use many of the same protocols used by your existing LAN infrastructure, another common VoIP mistake is to overlook the fact that it is also equally likely that it is outdated and not optimised for transmitting voice traffic. A top tip here, when implementing a VoIP phone system, it is strongly advisable to invest in good equipment to ensure that it will function correctly immediately as well as avoiding future issues. Tips on choosing the right equipment for your system include paying due attention to the size of the system, number of users/extensions as well as the expected call volumes. Moreover, when choosing your router, purchase a router that is business grade and has QoS (Quality of Service) among its features. QoS will ensure that your VoIP Calls are handled with the appropriate priority levels, thus ensuring that other users will not have a negative impact on call quality and the general smooth running of your VoIP system.
Choosing the right Broadband Provider
Common complaints or uncertainties about VoIP that often deter companies from making the switch include low quality, higher call drop off rates & excessive downtimes. A simple and effective way to solve these problems is to avoid the low cost broadband service providers and choose a reputable provider whilst simultaneously selecting a plan with sufficient bandwidth to fulfil your voice calling requirements.
Always bear in mind here, that after you have made the transition to VoIP all your VoIP calls will be transmitted over your network and broadband services, meaning that services that were previously sufficient for your daily internet requirements may no longer be sufficient for a VoIP system with 50 users calling on top. Speak to your VoIP Provider or System Provider and ensure you choose a plan that will be more than sufficient for your needs both now as well as in the mid - long term future.
Don’t forget to review your user requirements
This may seem somewhat unimportant in the grand scheme of potential VoIP benefits, but consider for a moment that not all user requirements are the same and by not reviewing them you run the risk of not tailoring your VoIP system to different needs of different users, teams, departments etc. Always investigate and analyse which features and tools will be best suited to which employees, teams or departments. It is also important not to forget that, while the term users reflects your internal staff members, they are not the only people who will be using your new systems. Your customers, for example, will also be using the new systems when they call you - so speak to your employees & customers and make sure you setup your VoIP features and call management systems in accordance with their needs and then design your systems accordingly.
An example scenario could be your brand new IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system, which if setup without considering your stakeholder requirements, could well be more hassle than it’s worth and certainly can have a massive negative impact on your corporate image.
Check out our IVR best practice guidelines for more on this topic.
Finally, as alluded to earlier, switching to VoIP is not entirely an IT related project. It is a combination of both IT and Telephony projects. If you approach your VoIP initiative in this way and take into consideration and act upon these 5 common VoIP mistakes, all these drawbacks and VoIP mistakes are entirely avoidable from the onset. Thus ensuring that issues can be resolved before they develop into full blown problems and facilitating the seamless handover between your old and new systems.
If you are considering transitioning your telephony services to VoIP or would like more information regarding pascom and our pascom VoIP PBX, then get in touch and one of our advisors will be more than happy to help. Alternatively, get off to a flying start with free pascom cloud phone system edition.