Free in network calling – check.
Save money on long distance calling – check.
Cool new phone – check.
What was that you said? Huh? Do you hear echo? Let me call you back in a minute – check.
VoIP sucks! – check.
Sound familiar? It does to me. Every day I hear these complaints – on phone calls, emails and my new favorite – in tweets. Listen up people – VoIP doesn’t suck – that is if you do it the right way. Deploying VoIP doesn’t require a degree in rocket science, but it does require some common sense and a little friendly advice from your friendly VoIPhead – me.
Hopefully, you are reading this because you haven’t yet deployed VoIP – because what you are about to read is going to send you money, time and frustration. VoIP doesn’t have to be hard – here are 5 mistakes you should avoid when deploying VoIP in your small medium business (SMB).
- You forget to do a needs assessment. Yeah, VoIP is great – but do you really need it? Many SMB’s make the switch to VoIP when in reality they would have been better off stay with what they had. Spend some time – regardless of the size of your business – and document why you are switching to VoIP and what you hope to accomplish by doing so. If “because everyone else is doing it” is on your list – slap yourself.
- You buy the first thing you see. A good percentage of the calls I overhear or discussions I have with VoIP sales professionals talk to the ENORMOUS number of SMB’s that make the switch to VoIP – only to make another switch after only a few months. People! There are dozens of different VoIP Phone Systems, hundreds of VoIP Service Providers and thousands of equipment selections. Just because the first thing you see get’s you all hot and bothered doesn’t mean you jump into bed with it – the same thing goes for VoIP. Explore your options – that’s why they are there.
- You don’t test your internal network. If the most weight you ever lifted was 100 pounds and I asked you to lift 200 pounds, so would fail right? I know – that bar crushing your chest hurts – let me help you with that. What does that 200 pound bar have to do with VoIP? Well, making the switch to VoIP puts increased demands on your local area network (LAN) – it no longer has to just deal with your data traffic, it also has to deal with your voice traffic. Chances are your LAN sucks – make sure it is up to snuff by using tools like these to test it out.
- You don’t make sure you have adequate bandwidth. Slow down there Mr. I Have High Speed Internet – you might be wowed by that business class cable connection powering your 15 employees, but you won’t be so happy when your customer call in and can’t hear a damn thing your employees say. The truth is, in switching to VoIP, you MIGHT actually have to increase your bandwidth. Sometimes you have to spend money to save money.
- You fail to take complete advantage of VoIP. Put your wallet down – VoIP isn’t just about cheap calls. With VoIP you can integrate voice into many of your current business systems – increasing worker efficiency and productivity. Now, I am not saying you need to go crazy – but at least take advantage of the ability to integrate your VoIP Phone System with your CRM, ERP and other systems.
Need more advice? Look no further then the Smith On VoIP Guides and learn how to make a more educated purchase decision!