By Adam Simpson
CEO and Co-Founder of Easy Office Phone
Many small businesses today are making the switch over to cloud-based business phone service due to its cost-effective, scalable and flexible features. But how do businesses know when it’s time to make the switch? And what do organizations need to be aware of before making the move?
A Cloud-Based Phone Service
There are several telltale signs that a company is ready for a cloud-based phone service, including tips for each scenario:
- A company is growing quickly or moving to a new location: A business can future-proof its growth thanks to the scalability of hosted private branch exchange (PBX) services, as well as potentially save thousands of dollars by eliminating the need for a traditional onsite PBX system.
- Management of a cloud-based phone service has become increasingly complex and costly: As a business grows and new employees join, an onsite PBX system can become cumbersome and expensive to maintain, particularly if the phone company needs to send a technician to the office every time a change is made. A cloud-based PBX service provides direct control of the service via a user-friendly web interface. Making changes is fast, easy and free.
- More employees are working remotely: Seamlessly tie remote employees into a hosted PBX, and they can receive calls just as if they were in the office, and any outgoing calls they place will show the company’s caller ID. Additionally, smartphone apps allow employees on the road to integrate their mobile device into the cloud PBX. Apps are available for a wide range of mobile platforms, including Android, iOS and Windows.
- More flexibility is required in handling incoming calls: Business is picking up and inbound calls are increasing, which means calls must be handled with greater speed and efficiency. Adding departments, hunt groups, time-of-day rules and call queues is simple with a cloud-based service. Distribute calls to multiple staff, prioritize calls based on departments and keep clients satisfied by attending to them in a timely manner.
- A company has multiple offices, in physically distant areas: Keeping employees connected across state or country lines can be difficult – and expensive – with traditional telecom. A cloud-based phone service allows for the delivery of an identical experience regardless of which office customers call, and even use one central phone number if preferred. Additionally, to accommodate staff working in different time zones, set up rules for business hours, which can route calls to an international staff depending on time of day. For example, staff in Asia can answer calls made outside North American business hours.
- Call center or contact centers are an integral part of the business: Companies that field a high volume of incoming calls will benefit from a cloud-based service that provides powerful call queuing options, with simple web management and comprehensive performance tracking and reporting abilities.
- The business can’t afford downtime: On-site phone systems can fail. When they do, employees may be out of commission. A hosted phone system, however, can offer multiple layers of redundancy using different data centers, meaning staff can keep making and receiving calls uninterrupted. It’s nearly impossible for a properly distributed Hosted PBX network to fail.
If any of the above-mentioned scenarios sound familiar, it’s time to move to a cloud-based phone service. However, before making the switch, below are three important factors to consider:
- Develop a long-term strategy and choose vendors accordingly: The cloud industry is still in a state of flux. Choose providers based on stability, responsiveness and a demonstrated commitment to their service niche. Nobody can predict the future, but choosing providers with equally aligned values and whose level of client service proves that they’re in it for the long haul will be a significantly rewarding investment.
- Ensure adequate Internet connection: The overall impact of hosted PBX service on bandwidth is fairly minimal, but make sure the Internet service is sufficient to handle the additional bandwidth required for voice traffic. Assume approximately 40 kbps for regular quality calls, and 90 kbps for high quality. An ideal solution is managed Internet, which provides separation of voice and data traffic, and therefore optimal voice quality.
- Evaluate the network infrastructure: Most hosted PBX phones require an Ethernet connection, so offices that are entirely wireless may need cable runs installed. Additionally, ensure the company’s router is compatible by checking with the provider.
About The Author
Adam Simpson is the CEO and co-founder of Easy Office Phone where he oversees the creation of new sales channels including a North American Dealer Program, plays a leading role in software development, manages the company’s network infrastructure, and builds dedicated teams of sales, support and engineering staff. Under Simpson’s leadership, Easy Office Phone has grown rapidly and steadily into a highly respected provider of Hosted PBX service to clients throughout Canada and North America since its launch in 2005.