VoIP phone systems are continuing to grow in popularity as businesses look to escape the limits of landlines, embrace low cost calls and increase productivity. However, if you're looking to upgrade to a new and improved business phone system, migrating can initially look like a big task. It doesn't have to be this way though, and with our handy checklist you'll be ready to migrate to a VoIP phone system without fear.
1. Decide which features your business requires
Every business will have different needs, from those that need to operate across multiple offices through to businesses that need to be able to route calls to different departments at different times. To start off, note down what your organisation will need from a phone system. Don't just limit your thinking to what you might need during opening hours, bear in mind customers phoning when your office is closed too. The better hosted VoIP services will offer features such as out-of-hours call management, voicemail to email, conference calling, IVR, custom call routing and more. These features should aim to improve on your day-to-day business life.
2. Evaluate your phone needs
Once you've decided what you need from a phone system feature-wise, it's time to think about your device requirements. Will you need VoIP phones? If so you'll need a VoIP provider that won't lock you down to a single device brand. In terms of VoIP hardware, consider how busy your business tends to be as some phones cater for more lines and busier environments. To get a better idea of the types of phones available, view the Yay.com Store for our full range. If you operate a multi-site business or encourage remote working, you may need a phone system that works with mobile VoIP apps or softphones for greater flexibility. When looking for a VoIP provider, be sure to find out if their service will work with different devices and software.
3. Ensure your broadband and network will support a VoIP phone system
VoIP only requires 80kbps upload and 80kbps download speed for each simultaneous call. That's not a lot of bandwidth at all. Far less than streaming Netflix, although you may want to save that for your lunch break! For the best quality comms, if you operate a large office with a high number of simultaneous calls, consider if you have sufficient bandwidth to support them. For peace of mind you can carry out a broadband speed test online.
4. Look at your previous phone bills
Take a look at your previous phone bills. Using your past bills you can work out your usage and monthly costs. This will be useful for comparing costs to a VoIP phone system. Not all VoIP services charge for installation, so do make a note of any additional installation costs as they could have a bearing on final costings. Take account of any maintenance charges associated with your current office phone system. With VoIP, you will largely pay for the service, so there should be big savings on installation and maintenance.
5. Find out about phone number porting
Before you make the move to a new VoIP phone system, find out if they are able to port your phone number over. This will be useful if you already have a number associated with your business. Make sure you know beforehand whether your phone numbers can be transferred in. Also be sure to find out if there are any associated costs and projected timelines for the transfer process. You can view an overview of the typical transfer process in the Beginner's Guide to VoIP on our site.
6. Try out some VoIP providers
Be sure to test the VoIP service out before you migrate to it. See if there is a free VoIP trial available and if it supports more than one user trying it out. For best results get a few colleagues in the office to sample it. As well as trying out all the features offered, a trial will give you a good idea of the reliability and quality of the service. This is also a good way to familiarise yourself with the system before anyone has migrated to it.
7. Don't forget to onboard your staff
Employees should find that VoIP works in largely the same way as their existing phone system, however they may be surprised at the increase in call quality and bonus features that are on offer. You may need to brief staff on how to park calls, transfer calls, access voicemails and configure softphone apps if required.
We hope that this brief checklist will help you when you're gearing up to move to a VoIP phone system. Take a look at our UK VoIP provider guide, for a more in-depth view of choosing a VoIP Provider.
Don't forget we're here for every step of your migration process, so if have any burning questions you need to discuss before, during, or after migrating to VoIP, get in touch, we're always happy to help.