This article was published on LinkedIn – August 28, 2020

Many companies are switching to Hosted Voice or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) for their business communication.

The impending closure of the PSTN network by 2025 means that all landline users will move to VoIP. There are however other reasons to make the switch sooner rather than later. 

A key benefit of VoIP is flexibility. It enables you and your team to work remotely, increasing productivity and ensuring that no call ever gets unanswered. In times of boom and bust you can easily upscale or downscale, and should you move your premises, you will be able to keep the same telephone number. 

For those with business interests abroad, it allows you to use local numbers anywhere in the world, without the logistics of having a physical office in another country.

Research conducted by Grand View Research shows the significant growth predicted between now and 2024.

As you would expect, with such a growth in the market, a plethora of VoIP suppliers have now appeared, all offering state-of-the-art services. So how to choose the one that’s right for you and will be reliable? It can be a daunting task as telecommunications are so important to most businesses, with poor call quality or unavailability potentially damaging your reputation among prospects and customers alike.

 We recommend that you carefully investigate these 5key areas to select your VoIP provider:

1   Identification of your needs

It sounds obvious but, whatever the size of your organisation, the first step is to clearly specify what you need from your telephone system and communication technology.

Providers offer a range of features and services you may not be familiar with and will not know how to rate and compare. Which is why Pen Telecom will work with you to ascertain your requirements, establish how VoIP fits within the range of available communications options (mobile phones, online devices…) and determine what is the best solution for your business.

 2   Provision of redundancy for undisrupted connectivity

VoIP is a very dependable and robust technology; however, connectivity issues may occur, which can bring business phone communications to a halt. The way to address this is to secure the VoIP with redundancy, meaning that an automatic failover solution is in place in case of connectivity issues.

 Pen Telecom always ensure that this is in place and only select providers operating mirror sites so that, if a datacentre goes down, the calls will route through the mirror site automatically and seamlessly, guaranteeing that no call will be lost or affected.

 3   Bandwidth

VoIP is highly sensitive to the bandwidth and the quality of your internet connection. You may experience call delays and poor-quality calls if the internet connectivity is insufficient.

As part of our service, Pen Telecom will always advise on bandwidth. If the connectivity is really not good (very rare these days) we will recommend delaying implementing VoIP until it improves.

We have all been on recent Zoom calls where people ‘froze’ or had to abandon the call due to poor bandwidth. This was mostly residential as many people have been working from home and should not happen in a business environment.

4  Technical support availability

 Despite high quality services from the VoIP provider, your organisation may come across unprecedented situations at inappropriate hours. One of our clients was badly affected by the recent storms and lost both broadband and telephone line. So, it is essential to find out that the vendor will be available to resolve any issue and assure smooth functioning of your communication systems.

 Pen Telecom endeavour to respond to faults and failure as quickly as possible once reported. Our streamlined processes, high level of responsiveness and customer service enable us to achieve a faster resolution than most of the major providers.

 5 References and testimonials

 As part of the VoIP selection process, always ask the providers for references or testimonials. Before taking the decision, it is imperative to get in touch with a few clients of the shortlisted VoIP providers and verify their experience with the services they have received.

At Pen Telecom we get most of our business from referrals, so we are always happy to provide reference sites.

Most of the SME’s we work with find the process overwhelming, as is often the case with technology that is new to them. Effective and professional telecoms are a key support of their business and they want to make the right decision. Do not hesitate to get in touch for a chat and we will run you through the best options for you.

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