A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system is the way of the future, and we’re seeing more and more businesses making the switch to VoIP – especially with the PSTN and ISDN switch-off date looming. With faster speeds, a cost-effective setup and more features, such as video calling, instant messaging and analytics to help elevate your business, it’s no wonder why VoIP is the most popular alternative.
If you’re considering moving to a VoIP phone system for your business, you may be surprised at how easy it is to set up. Long gone are the days of waiting around for technicians to set up and wire in your landline phone. In this guide, we’ll explain how to set up your new virtual phone system in just a few steps and get the most out of VoIP.
How to Set Up a VoIP Phone System
To set up a VoIP phone system, all you need is a reliable internet connection and a compatible device. That’s really it! Below, we’ve outlined how to prepare for your new VoIP system, how to implement it and how to introduce it to your employees.
1. Test your Internet Connection
If you’re a startup or small business, or if the majority of employees work from home, the strength of your broadband connection shouldn’t be an issue, as most internet providers are more than likely fast enough to handle a VoIP system.
However, if you’re a larger business and expect to have hundreds of people using the system at the same time, you may need to increase your bandwidth to reduce the risk of unstable connections, buggy audio and dropped calls. We’d recommend speaking to your internet provider and running a VoIP speed test, upgrading your bandwidth if need be.
2. Find the Right VoIP Provider
There are so many VoIP providers out there that it can be confusing trying to decide which one will be the best fit for your business. Switching to a VoIP system shouldn’t be a case of simply replacing your landline, but improving your business communications with a range of features, including:
- Video calling
- Text messaging
- Team chats
- Speech-to-text translation
- Call routing
- Auto attendant
- Call queues
- Call analytics
- CRM integration (e.g. Zendesk, Salesforce)
At Officeology, we can help you choose the best business phone system provider by talking you through all the options, discussing your wants and needs and helping with the installation process too.
3. Reduce Hardware Costs with Business Phone Apps
If you’re not a business that requires desk phones, headsets or other hardware, we’d recommend ditching your old phones and using business phone apps for your computer or smartphone to reduce costs. Since VoIP uses the internet, the need for a dedicated desk phone is no longer as important. You’ll be able to make every phone call or message to customers, clients and co-workers through the software on your computer or phone.
Not only will this make installing VoIP easier, but also much more cost-effective. Plus, employees will benefit from the flexibility of not needing to be attached to their desks.
4. Connect your Equipment
Once you’ve chosen your provider and the features, you’ll be ready to get the system up and running. While the specific instructions will depend on the system you chose and your current setup, it’s often simply a case of connecting your existing phones and computers to the internet and waiting for the connection to show up in your VoIP software.
If you’re still using hardware such as desk phones and headsets, then you’ll need to connect these to a VoIP adaptor. Generally, the setup of your VoIP system should go smoothly, with clear steps from your provider. But, if you have any technical issues, don’t hesitate to contact either your provider or the manufacturer of the item that isn’t working for extra help.
5. Enable Integrations and Import Data
When everything is all in place and working correctly, it’s time to configure the system and start enabling integrations with your favourite business tools. By integrating your tools and software, from Slack to your CRM, you’ll be able to seamlessly streamline your workflows rather than jumping from app to app, which can cause the system to slow down. This will make life a lot easier for employees – especially the ones who seem to have hundreds of tabs and applications up in one go.
Make sure you also import all of your important data, such as contact numbers, notes, documents and calendars, so everything is organised in one place and can be accessed quickly and easily.
6. Explore Ways to Streamline your Business Communication
Every VoIP phone system will look different depending on the type of business, the features chosen and the tools integrated. So, take some time to explore your new way of working and set up some useful shortcuts and features to help improve your business communications and general workflow. For example:
- Message scheduling
- Call routing options
- Auto recordings
- Business hours
7. Invite and Train your Team
After everything has been set up and is ready to be used, invite your team to a training session to show them around the new system. Business VoIP comes with the benefit of being a multi-line phone system, which means everyone will be assigned a phone number and be able to use the system as and when they need it, no matter how many people are already making or receiving calls. Simply send them an email invitation, and once they’ve downloaded the provider’s app either on their business smartphone or laptop, they’ll be instantly connected.
Of course, a new system takes time to navigate, and your employees will no doubt have a lot of questions. So, make sure to be patient and clear in your explanations and open the floor to hear their ideas and feedback on how to make it work better for them. As they’ll be the ones using it on a day-to-day basis, their opinions are invaluable, and they’ll need to be comfortable using it.
VoIP Business Phone System frequently asked questions
How to get a Business Phone Number
Depending on which VoIP provider you choose, you may already have a business phone number included in your plan. If you already have a business phone number from your older system, this can be ported over to the VoIP system by contacting both your current and new provider and passing over all the necessary information.
Do you Need New Phones to get VoIP for Business?
VoIP is a fast, reliable and flexible telephony solution that doesn’t require new phones. You can use your current phones and simply change the system, so it works through an internet connection instead. Or, you can get rid of the phones and use VoIP through your computers for a more modern approach.
What Equipment do I Need for a VoIP Phone System?
For your VoIP system to work, all you need is a modem and a router, which should be part of your current internet setup. That’s it. No other special equipment or additional hardware is needed, which is why VoIP is so popular as it’s highly cost-effective. Users can then make phone calls from any device that has the VoIP software downloaded.
For more information, take a look at our guide on what a VoIP phone system is and why you should switch to one.
You should also check out the benefits of cloud telephony and learn how it can help your business to thrive in the digital age.