What businesses require from a phone service is relatively simple: the ability to connect seamlessly with clients and partners coupled with a tool for effective internal communication. For recruiters of organisations in the growth stage, there’s another important consideration – namely whether the system in place offers the capacity to scale up seamlessly in response to the changing needs of the business.
Taking a purely financial view, one of the biggest draws of switching your phones over to an IP network is the potential to eliminate – or at least drastically reduce costly line rental and call charges. What about from an organisational perspective though? Does a switch offer real benefits or are there sound reasons to stick with the status quo?
Smarter deployment of staff
Think about each of the departments within your business. In each case, is the focus squarely on the core objectives of the organisation – or are some concerned mostly with fighting fires and peripheral matters? Take your IT department, for instance. Do you really want those guys to be in the business of running a phone system?
An expanding business generally means higher volume of calls and a bigger and more complex system. With a cloud-based phone solution however, the provider handles maintenance and support remotely. This gives you the potential to increase capacity and simultaneously reduce the time your IT personnel spend on maintenance: time that can be put to more productive use elsewhere.
A more professional feel
The first physical contact a third party will have with your business is likely to be via the phone. Your sales and marketing managers are likely to be first to complain if the phone system is proving to be no longer fit for purpose. HR managers should care too; after all, if top potential recruits are greeted by a clumsy transferral system, delays and cut-offs, it hardly inspires confidence.
An external cloud phone system can offer you the type of functionality previously out of reach to many small businesses – including smart automated attendants, advanced voicemail capabilities and online management.
The ability to handle organisational flux
This isn’t just about scaling up – although the promise with VoIP of being required to only pay for what you need when you need it certainly helps. It’s also about the HR challenges posed by hot-desking and an increasingly remote workforce. Find me /follow me functionality via IP phone solutions make it much easier for users to be reached instantly at any location.
Reliance on connections
No matter how great the functionality of a specific cloud-based VoIP solution, this is all academic if your internet connection is fundamentally unreliable. Sorting out any issues with your ISP should be your first priority.
Variable voice quality
Echo, static and lag: these were commonplace when the technology was in its infancy and with some solutions you can still come across these problems if you choose the wrong one. The answer is to source a provider that offers direct managed VoIP connections and that has a proven track record.
Getting the wrong provider
With VoIP, you are putting a lot in the hands of a single vendor and if you get it wrong, the headaches involved can soon start to overshadow the organisational benefits of the solution.
Does the provider really understand your niche and the specific requirements of your business? Are you being upsold functionality that simply isn’t relevant to what you need? A cloud-based solution can mean that phones are one less thing to worry about from a HR perspective – but all of this depends on choosing the right solution.