Migrating to Hosted VoIP – 3 Things to Watch out ForPosted on: 2018-11-13 | Categories: VoIP Services
So you’ve decided to move away from your aging phone system and give hosted VoIP a shot. You’re excited about using the new capabilities and tools at your disposal and can’t wait to cut your monthly phone bills by half! Yes, switching over to hosted VoIP feels like an adventure. But planning and preparation are key, at least if you want a smooth transition for everyone in your office.
Small Business VoIP Solution
Upgrading to new technology can be a massive project, even for a small business. There are things you need to plan for and take into account before making the switch. You need to have a plan for the transition phase – phasing out the old system and bringing in the new. You might also have to sort out a few things with your old provider after the switch.
In any project, there is always the risk that something could go wrong. But planning reduces the chances of running into unexpected obstacles. Many business owners and project managers are enthusiastic about VoIP solutions at the beginning. In their enthusiasm, they fail to consider all relevant factors and make mistakes.
So, here are three things you should be aware of before migrating to any small business hosted VoIP service:
Your Own Network Infrastructure
A common misconception about hosted VoIP is that bad sound quality is always the fault of the provider. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sound quality is affected by many things. If your network equipment is old or hasn’t been updated in a while, it may struggle with VoIP calls. If you have a slow Internet connection or not enough bandwidth, audio quality will not be great.
Sadly though, many business owners don’t check their network before signing up for VoIP. You may end up experiencing bad audio quality even though the provider offers excellent service. It’s always better to correct these errors before deploying VoIP. It becomes harder to solve bandwidth issues when your employees are actively using the system.
The first thing you should do is check your Internet speeds. Talk to your ISP about upgrading to a better connection if need be. Monitor your bandwidth usage for a month or so. Do you have extra bandwidth to handle additional traffic? As with any communication system, you will have peak hours with high call volume. Can your network handle it without affecting users? If you answered no to these questions, it’s time to upgrade your network.
Make Sure to Port All Your Numbers
Phone numbers are a big deal for any business. Your contact numbers are part of your brand identity. It’s how your customers contact you for help and information. Thanks to number portability, you can switch to VoIP without worrying about losing any of your numbers.
However, there are some things to watch out for during the porting process. VoIP service providers are required by the regulator report out numbers upon request. They cannot refuse to port numbers even if you have bills you haven’t paid. But they can refuse the request if you make a mistake in the forms. Make sure the information you provide matches what they have in their records.
Check that your new service provider has the same number with matching area codes. Sometimes, a provider may not be able to honor the port request because they don’t have the numbers available for you.
Some providers don’t charge anything for the process while others have a small fee. It’s always possible to negotiate the fee as well. Once you have agreed on the payment, get everything in writing. Also get an estimate on how long the porting will take. It shouldn’t take more than a few days. If it takes longer, you might negotiate for a free month or two of service to make up for the time.
Find out the Terms and Conditions of Your Plan
Always read the fine print when it comes to calling plans. Make sure that all the features you need are included. Some businesses find that essential features may cost extra after they start using the service. By then, it’s too late for you to look elsewhere.
Unlimited calling plans are quite popular in the VoIP industry. But while they are called unlimited, many providers put a limit on the actual numbers. While most businesses with normal usage will not hit those limits, you should find out what they are. You don’t want to be hit with unexpected fees for exceeding these soft limits.
These are not the only things to watch out for but they are the most common roadblocks. Most businesses find that switching to VoIP is a hassle-free experience. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!