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Setting Up Staff-wide Communication by Establishing a VoIP Phone System

Setting Up Staff-wide Communication by Establishing a VoIP Phone System
Setting Up Staff-wide Communication by Establishing a VoIP Phone System
A VoIP system is your magic bullet if you are looking to reduce business costs and upgrade your communications network simultaneously. As a small business lets learn more.
Posted in: Employee Engagement
Setting Up Staff-wide Communication by Establishing a VoIP Phone System
Setting Up Staff-wide Communication by Establishing a VoIP Phone System

Over the last few years, as the reality of work has changed for so many people, inter-team or inter-organization communication has become increasingly important to maintain. We now all live in a world where people that we rely on for our daily work can exist in other countries and time zones, making communication more difficult than it might have been in an office setting.

It's a long-term solution to a problem that we've existed with for decades without even noticing it, much like the one needed for climate change or famines around the world.

Nonetheless, modern technology is on hand to support this move. From emails to team tasks management to VoIP - the subject of this article - any team's needs can almost certainly be covered by some form of communication technology.

In this article, we'll take a look at what a VoIP phone system is and share some handy tips on getting one established for your team. When done correctly, it can be an easy fix to staff-wide bottlenecks, allowing for easy exchange of discussions wherever any team member is.

What Is a VoIP Phone System? 

Before we look at how to establish a VoIP system for staff-wide communications, we must understand exactly what the system itself is. There's no point in assessing the merits of one form of communication versus the other if we don't understand them all in the first place. For example, understanding what otter.ai is before looking into alternatives to otter.ai would be advisable.

A VoIP phone system - what does VoIP mean? Voice over Internet Protocol is a modern adaptation of the more traditional PBX (Private Branch Exchange) network used to connect landlines for businesses. Working with cloud technology forms part of a unified and aligned communications strategy that makes the management of communications and problem-solving of faults a lot easier.

It does for telecommunications what point of sale software does for retail and hospitality. It allows businesses to support a hybrid working model, which is something that is only going to grow in popularity over the coming years. And it allows employees not to feel tied to one location because of their job. They can take calls from anywhere.

Now that we understand what a VoIP phone system is, let's take a look at some tips for getting one set up.

#1: Discover the Needs 

Discover the Needs

Introducing a shiny new communications system is all well and good. But to get it working in a timely manner often relies on meeting people where they're currently at.

By finding out what people in your organization are currently working with, either by interviewing them or holding a meeting from which you take a staff meeting minutes sample and drill down into the needs, as well as what they'd like to have available to them, you're better placed to assess the needs of the team and select software that works for you.

If the VoIP system you need is purely for phone communication, this can help keep costs down. If, on the other hand, your team wants something with a lot more features, it's good to establish this from the get-go so you aren't wasting time investigating products that don't meet this criterion.

#2: Do Some Digging 

 Having now established what your team needs, it's worth spending some time researching the types of VoIP phone systems available to you. These come in a surprisingly diverse number of shapes and sizes, including some of the following:

  • VoIP - the technology that transmits calls via the internet rather than traditional landlines.
  • Hosted VoIP - the cloud-based version of VoIP that could enable your business to do without onsite equipment completely. Everything this does around upgrades is done remotely.
  • Onsite - this is more your traditional method of running phone lines and does most of its work on the established premises of the business. There's also an option that is a hybrid between onsite and hosted, which strikes a balance between the two.

It's important to keep emotions out of this decision-making process, so make sure that those who are invested in getting one type of system in place ahead of the others have good reasons to justify their choice.

# 3: Confirm Spending

Confirm Spending

So, you know what the team wants or needs, and you know what your options are. Now, you need to make sure that the type of VoIP that best suits your business needs is within budget. If it isn't, you either need to reconsider which option you plump for or try to get a larger amount of money allotted to this project. A SaaS pricing model can be notoriously difficult to find by just doing research, so that an investigative approach may be of benefit.

It's also worth considering how cost-effective each system will be over time. The onsite VoIP burns through more upfront costs, whereas the hosted version relies on a continuous subscription fee.

As the business expands - something that most organizations are hoping for - having a system that can adapt to this change easily is also advisable. Adding new locations and users to a hosted VoIP is easier than its onsite alternative. 

#4: Invest in the Correct Tech 

Invest in the Correct Tech

 This covers a couple of key points that we've merged for ease. You want to ensure that any necessary technology - be it hardware or software - is purchased as soon as possible. Delaying this can lead to a knock-on effect of the VoIP system not getting up and running as quickly or could cause issues with how it functions.

If you choose to go for a hosted solution, this becomes even easier to achieve as there's no hardware (and minimal software) for you to buy.

Next, you're going to want to consider the best VoIP provider. Getting the correct one often relies on asking questions, so don't be afraid to pry into any potential provider's offerings. If you can request a demonstration from them, that's even better. But without that, drawing up a list of features that it needs to have is a great way of narrowing down your selection.

#5: Configure the System 

This sounds much more technical than it is. Here, we're suggesting that testing the platform out, from the customer's perspective in particular, is a good thing to do before launch. For example, understanding how any redirection, automatic or otherwise, may work is crucial to utilizing a VoIP system as an arm of your customer experience strategy. To begin with, making this a more organic process - much like growing an email subscriber list - is going to be more effective.

In this part of the process also, it's worth discussing the different scheduling and language settings you need the system to have. You should also set up any messages for out-of-opening hours calls you to receive or any company-wide holidays that mean that customers cannot contact you. 

#6: Testing & Training 

Testing & Training

At this point in the process, you've probably done everything you can before you need to start involving other people. After establishing the strength of your network - something which, if it's too low, should be raised with your provider - it's time for the staff-wide roll-out. This means it's training time! And it doesn't have to be your traditional call center agent coaching, either. These people are likely to be established members of the team by now.

Getting employee buy-in to this new way of working - as with any new updates anyone brings to a business - is crucial for it to succeed. Having a working, usable VoIP system is only good if the people around the company know how to use it, and this will only happen if they're willing to be shown the ropes.

The whole concept of VoIP is that it's intuitive and user-friendly. Use sessions with the team to set up how to go about using it, and answer any questions or concerns that the team may have about using it. Covering all elements that these same team members will have requested will make everyone more comfortable with the system by the time you need to go live. 

#7: Release and Maintenance 

Release and Maintenance

If the training is effective, the release should be straightforward. Where there are issues, relax and ensure that your provider is on hand to supply the support that should come as part of their package.

Depending on the type of VoIP phone system you've gone for, maintenance can also be very simple, too. You'll likely have all the key analytics you need built-in, and if you have opted for the hosted version or even the hybrid, most of the maintenance is taken care of off-site and automatically.

The only thing that we recommend being active on is any updates with the program to ensure that these are communicated effectively and with enough time for team members to adjust. Poor communications sink anything in business and the wider world. So being on hand to ensure that this doesn't happen is vitally important.

Conclusion

 In this guide, we've looked at VoIP phone systems. We've explained what they are, why you might consider getting one, and shared some tips on what to consider when setting one up.

Staff-wide communication has never been more critical and, in many ways, never been more difficult to oversee. As the appetite for remote work, or at least hybrid work, grows stronger, the need to adapt to solutions like VoIP is one that any successful business requires.

By following our list of things to look out for and decide on, the implementation of your VoIP phone system should be straightforward. It's now about how effectively your workforce uses it and how well-managed it remains.

Author bio 

John Allen is a driven marketing professional with over 14 years of experience, an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, paid media, mobile, social, and email, with an eye to new customer acquisition and increasing revenue  

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Saturday, 28 January 2023

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