Let me just make something very clear: magicJack is not a viable business VoIP solution. I know that will be hard on many of you. Now, the case where that may not be true is if you are like the business owner I spoke to a week ago: 1 phone with call waiting and a voicemail, sole proprietor w/ zero employees. For that guy...magicJack will kill it.
If you, however, own a business that actually has employees and multiple locations and phone bills that are well over $1,000/mo (or even $10,000/mo), this article may be helpful. (If you have a business that does not have multiple locations but is paying over a $1,000/mo - I have some thoughts on buying a business phone system here...coming soon)
I did a quick google search on 'business voip.' What I got was a myriad of hosted voip services.** It's good business SEO for them, but not good business VoIP for you. (I will write an article on who would be best served by a hosted VoIP system.**) The bottom line seems to be this: Hosted VoIP is good for small business that need basic phone capability with auto-attendant, and voicemail. It can be as expensive in the long run as a digital system, so be careful. It all depends on how you implement a telecom solution.
For businesses looking to get into a Buiness VoIP phone system, here's what I think you need to be looking at:
- Do you have mulitple locations or remote workers? Both?
- Do you have the bandwidth for VoIP?
- How much telecom expertise do you have in your organization?
- Do you want a proprietary system or open source? Do you care?
- Are your voice and data services separate? Do they need to be?
- How many calls does your company take/make at one time (think: max number of calls in/out at any given point in time during a day)?
- Are you trying to lower your expenses?
- Are you going to expand the business...and therefor the phone system?
- Are you sales driven or working to maximize your customer service incoming calls? or both?
- Do you want to know where people are all day? (aka 'presence')
- Do you have a call center that needs a high level of function and administration tools?
- Do you want to have your phone system integrate with your Outlook and/or other CRM?
- Do you use/need conference calling?
- Do you have unique communication demands that will require special applications or functions?
- Will you want your voicemails to be delivered to you as a .wav file in an email?
INFORMATION YOU'LL NEED TO KNOW
- Monthly expenses for phone services and data (i.e. internet) services
- IT involvement - how involved will your IT person/people be? It matters...big time.
- How do you currently handle faxes?
Many people want a quick fix when it comes to a new phone system...and believe me, there are plenty of companies that would love to help you. At TTM, we believe that the best way to purchase and implement a business VoIP solution is through meticulous preparation and execution. The reason so many of us have or know of phone system nightmares is due to poor planning and execution. Take your time and do it right.
I would love to hear your thoughts or comments...