Stage 1: Research and plan before you buy
Arguably the most important stage of the whole process is spending some time researching the options available to you. Start by reminding yourself of your current services, what’s included and what it costs before starting to look at the services now available.
To give you a bit of a head start, most businesses today are switching to IP based phone systems, which means that they run over the internet rather than traditional phone lines. If you’d like to know more about current technology and specifically VoIP, be sure to read another of our recent articles, aptly named What is VoIP?.
Stage 2: Identify your requirements
Once you’re familiar with what you have and what’s on the market, we’d recommend focusing on the requirements of your business. Specifically, try to answer all of the following questions:
- How many phone users do you have?
- Is that number likely to change significantly in the next few years?
- Where is your team primarily located?
- How often do you and your team need to work remotely?
- Do you already have a good internet connection at your primary office location?
- What’s your budget?
- Do you need DDI’s for all of your team?
Don’t worry if you can’t answer all of these questions though, as an expert telecoms provider, we’ll be on hand to make sure you get everything you need from your new phone system.
Stage 3: Choose which features you want
All phone systems, especially VoIP phone systems come packed with features, so much so it can often be overwhelming to know which would be of most use and benefit to your business. While it’s great to have access to lots of features, you want to focus on those that will benefit your business. Here is a quick summary of some of the features you should look for in a new system:
- Voicemail to email for both teams and individuals
- Music on hold
- iOS and Android apps alongside Windows and Mac clients
- Compatibility with leading VoIP Handsets
- Advanced call routing and auto attendant
- Call forwarding and hunt groups
- Call recording
There are usually many more features available to you, but these are some of the most useful and popular among businesses.
Stage 4: Test your internet connection/s
As VoIP phone systems are delivered over your internet connection, a key part of planning for your upgrade is testing your connection to ensure you’ve got the bandwidth and stability you need to use VoIP. If you have more than a few users, we usually recommend you get a separate internet connection for your VoIP phones, as this ensures that any activity from people’s computers doesn’t affect the quality of your calls. You can use this website to test your connection or send us a message and we’ll run a check to see approximately the best speed for your area.
Stage 5: Choose between an onsite or hosted phone system
During your initial research, you’ll have likely noticed that there are two distinct types of IP phone systems; those which are located on your premises and those which are hosted in a third-party data centre. In another recent article we’ve outlined the key differences between an onsite PBX vs a cloud-hosted one, so please check that out if you’re unsure of the difference.
With an increasing number of businesses embracing remote working in recent times, not least due to the pandemic, we’re finding that cloud-hosted systems give our customers far greater flexibility than onsite ones. With a hosted phone system, you’re subscribing to a service rather than buying equipment. What that means is that even if you’re a small business, you can access features that are usually reserved for the big boys or those with the latest and greatest VoIP equipment. For a relatively small monthly fee, you and your team can benefit from a huge number of features and enjoy a significant degree of flexibility. It’s only when you get to be a fairly large business or one that is very much office-based and doesn’t need the flexibility that we start to look at providing an onsite solution.
Stage 6: Choose your VoIP phones
Firstly, it’s important to point out that you don’t need phones to use a VoIP phone system. Our Gamma Horizon platform for instance has Android and iOS apps along with both Windows and Mac softphones, so you could use any of those, rather than a traditional handset. That said, if you’re in a busy office and are regularly transferring calls etc. then it makes sense to get handsets and even headsets. Our hosted VoIP service is compatible with many of the leading handsets from Poly, giving you and your team unrivalled performance and call quality.
Stage 7: Arrange for numbers to be ported
For many businesses, their phone number is part of their brand and they are usually keen to keep it when they upgrade to VoIP. T2k can port numbers from over 99% of providers, meaning that you can keep your long-standing number and use it alongside any new ones you need.
On the subject of new numbers, did you know that with VoIP you can get a number anywhere in the world and have the calls directed to your phones? This can be great if you’re running a marketing campaign in a particular location and want to demonstrate a local presence.
Stage 8: Sit back and let us do the rest
The final part of moving your business to a VoIP system is to simply sit back and let your provider do the rest. We’ll deliver your handsets to your users and can also provide initial training if required. Throughout the process, your migration will be managed by one of our expert VoIP specialists.
How do I set up VoIP for my business?
The easiest way to set up VoIP for your business is to contact a VoIP provider like ourselves to help you decide whether you need a hosted PBX or an onsite one.
Once that's decided, we can help you get started and move existing numbers over if you want to keep any. The process is usually trouble-free, and we have a tremendous amount of experience helping companies to make the transition.
Can I set up my VoIP system?
It's not very easy to set up a VoIP system yourself as you need special hardware and software to do it. While of course, it's possible, it's not something we would recommend, especially seeing as cloud-hosted VoIP systems are so affordable.
What is required for VoIP setup?
To start using VoIP, you will need an active internet connection, a VoIP telephone system and something you can make calls from, such as an IP handset or laptop with a softphone.
You can choose between a cloud-hosted VoIP phone system or one located at your office, and equally, you can choose between using proper desk phones or softphones. The only essential to use VoIP is an internet connection.
Can I plug a VoIP phone into my router?
Yes, you can, but you will need to make sure that the phone has a power source. Typically IP phones are powered over the network cable, so you will need to get a PoE injector from your VoIP provider or a separate power supply.