Virtual PBX Featured Article

Find the Right Softphone App for Your Business

November 20, 2019

By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Virtual PBX Contributor

While the costs of doing business seem to go up regularly, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been particularly challenged when it comes to telecom costs.  The costs of traditional telephone service, plus Internet, often break many smaller companies, who struggle to pay for the services they don’t use while lacking the services they need.  For many companies, the solution has been to turn to a softphone.

A softphone is a software application that allows businesses to use computers, phones or tablets to place calls over the Internet.  The service is typically provided by a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider and operates in much the same way as a traditional phone:  Users can dial numbers and access both basic and advanced telephony features (voicemail, auto attendant, do not disturb, hold, transfer, call forwarding, etc.).  The difference is that companies don’t need to invest in physical desktop phone, and they can pay for only what they need, making the costs considerably lower than traditional telephone service.

But, while your business may be sold on the idea of a softphone to save money, you may be overwhelmed by the number of choices.  Following are some tips for determining the right solution for your business.

Needs vs. Wants

Before you begin to choose a VoIP calling service, begin by evaluating your needs.  Make a list of features you need, features you want, and features you don’t need.  Some business VoIP providers offer free, limited versions of their software, which may work for you.  They might include voicemail, call forwarding and transfer, hold, auto-attendant and more.  Once you’ve made your list of needs, evaluate all your choices and do an analysis to see how each provider compares in features and costs.

Think of the Operating System

Different business VoIP solutions are designed to work best with different operating system, so it’s important to choose a solution that is designed to work with your operating system.  In addition, be sure the solution you choose integrates well with your other business systems, such as your customer relationship management (CRM) solution, your call recording and reporting solutions and any compliance requirements you might have

Ask About Customer Support

Not all business VoIP companies provide the same level of support to customers.  If 24/7 customer support and troubleshooting is important to you, look for a solutions provider that offers it.  Be aware, thought, that this may increase costs.  How much support you need will depend on how much in-house expertise you have, what your business hours are, and other variables.

Get References

For some business VoIP solutions, call quality can be a troublesome issue.  It’s often one of the cons in the list of pros and cons of small business VoIP.  Ask any vendor you’re considering for references, and talk to other customers about the level of call quality they experience.  It’s also important to evaluate your network and ensure it is robust enough to handle switching to a VoIP system. 

Edited by Erik Linask


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