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I was recently asked by a friend to provide some advice to the owner of a small lawfirm on switching to VOIP.  Below is a list of all the key considerations you might not realize you need to consider before buying in to a VOIP system.  If you are a Startup, small, or a distributed team you should probably pick a plug and play cloud solution or just forward numbers and extensions to cell phones. Personally, I just give out my cell phone number, but that can be a problem if employees leave.
There are a few key areas to pick a provider on:
Location:
  • Will all your phones be in the same physical location?
  • Multiple offices?
  • Ability to take your phone home / plug it in anywhere
Hardware:
  • Have a preference for polycom or cisco phones and speakerphones?
  • Need video conferencing
  • Want some people to just have a softphone on their computer and a headset?
  • Have the means to run your own phone server in your office?
  • Have ethernet cabling to each desk and a good enough switch/router to handle the VOIP traffic?
Integrations:
  • Do you want phones that connect to your computer and your case management, CRM and other software so the receptionist can answer “Hello Mr. Bartek” vs. a generic hello.
  • Do you want help recording the time and length of conversations
  • Do you want help taking notes on the relevant customer / case
Bandwidth / Performance:
  • Cloud or Hosted VOIP solutions are plug-and-play, but if your internet is jittery it can make calls horrible and fail
  • Make sure any solution is tested at your office during peak internet traffic times (likely 3:30-5pm when all the kiddos are playing games, streaming, etc. and office workers are still working
  • Getting VOIP from your internet provider may help solve this since they can guarantee phones get priority on their network
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