Efficient communication is a crucial part of business success. Having a reliable phone system that enables businesses to communicate anywhere is essential for mobility, scalability, and creates a unified communication experience.
The introduction of virtual cloud phone systems has allowed businesses to be in control of communication. With virtual phone systems, businesses no longer need to rely on local phone companies. They have more options for enhancing their communication to grow their business globally by hiring more remote employees.
There are hundreds of virtual phone system providers which makes it difficult for businesses to choose the right solution for their needs. Many factors come into play when deciding the right system to use including connection type, important features, how it works with remote employees and cost.
Here are some tips on choosing the right virtual phone system for your business:
Full VoIP System vs. Virtual Auto Attendant
The first thing you should consider when choosing a virtual phone system is whether to go with a full VoIP phone system that requires hardware installation or go with a virtual auto attendant which requires no hardware to set up. There are pros and cons to each. A knowledgeable provider will help you understand your needs and recommend the best fit.
VoIP (Voice Over IP Phone) is a complete phone solution where calls are transmitted over the internet by converting analog audio into a digital format. These services require a broadband internet connection along with specialized hardware and phones. A reliable high-speed internet connection is required as loss in voice quality as well as dropped calls may occur in areas where the internet is unstable.
A Virtual Auto Attendant is a fully hosted PBX system that requires no additional hardware. Virtual Auto Attendant systems allow users to set up their own custom greeting with extensions to route calls to another landline number or to a separate phone number on a smartphone or mobile device. It Includes many if not all the features offered by a full VoIP phone system but is less expensive to set up and expand.
These systems are mainly used by businesses that want the features of a full phone system but would like to use existing landlines or cell phones for remote employees. They also enable businesses to keep a professional tone while using a personal phone. VPBX systems are easier to set up without IT help while full VoIP phone systems require lengthier setup times.
Essential Virtual Phone System Features
Utilizing a virtual phone system creates a consistent and branded communication experience for everyone in the company. Understanding which essential features your business needs can guide you towards the right solution.
Here are some critical features that a virtual phone system must have.
Quick and Easy Set-Up: The first thing you should consider when choosing a virtual phone system is the level of effort that is required to set up. Choosing a solution that requires little or no involvement from your IT team (if you have one) enables you to set up in hours, not days. No hardware should be necessary to set up your virtual phone system.
Leverage Your Existing Business Number: The virtual phone provider you choose should be able to connect your existing business number to a virtual number for routing to personal smartphones or mobile devices. This will enable remote or frequent traveling employees to stay connected anywhere.
Auto-attendant Voice Menu: Having an auto-attendant greet and direct callers provide businesses with a professional voice and streamlines the routing process with menu options that enable callers to reach the right contact effortlessly. The best systems have unlimited extensions and allow remote employees to have the same experience when calls are routed to their personal phones.
Customization Capabilities: It’s important to have a virtual phone solution that enables you to customize every aspect of your system. From greetings, on-hold messages, phone numbers, voicemail-to-email, and unlimited extensions & menus, select a provider that enables full customization to fit your business needs and match your brand voice.
Mobile App: For remote employees and those who travel, it’s important to have access to their business phone on their smartphones, tablet or laptop. Make sure the solution you choose has a downloadable app that allows two lines on one smartphone to separate business calls from personal calls.
Caller ID and Screening: When remote employees use their personal phones for business, it’s important that they can see who is calling so they can either answer it or send it directly to voicemail or another extension. Also, being able to block callers can help eliminate potential spam as efficiency is crucial when it comes to business communication.
Bonus Tip: Taking your business phone virtual means you need it to be reliable everywhere it's accessed. Asking providers their annual service uptime percentage will let you know if the system is reliable. No company is perfect, but ideally you want to partner with a provider that has at least a 99% uptime.
Virtual Phone System Pricing
It takes some diligence to find the right virtual phone system. Businesses who do not research options often pay too much for a solution that doesn’t fit their needs.
Pricing for virtual phone systems can vary depending on the solution and package that you need. Look at how many minutes you are currently using so you can let the provider guide you to a package that fits your current needs but can also scale with your business. Depending on how many minutes you are planning on using, you can expect to pay anywhere from $12 per month up to a few hundred dollars per month for larger businesses.
Do not sign a long-term contract with a provider in the beginning even if they provide a discount. Yes, an upfront discount may seem enticing, but it may cause more issues and money down the line if the solution or service is not as expected.
If you sign that contract, you are stuck with a poor system or have to pay an early termination penalty to get out of it. Look for a solution that allows month-to-month or pay-as-you-go options as it is a great way to test out the system without a big commitment. A well-established virtual phone system provider like VoiceShot offers a free trial of their solution to establish trust and allow businesses to experience the product before they purchase.
For businesses serious about growth, utilizing a virtual phone system enables unified and professional communication for mobile workforces while reducing phone costs. Before you start looking into virtual phone vendors, make sure you understand your goals for upgrading your phone system so you can work with a vendor that can meet your needs now, but can also scale with your business.
For 20 years, VoiceShot’s virtual phone system has been trusted by thousands of businesses. If you are looking for a cost-effective virtual phone solution for your business, get a FREE TRIAL of VoiceShot.