If you are considering making a change to your company’s telephone system, you are probably considering a cloud phone system option. The first question you might have is how much it costs. Getting quickly to that answer, £14.99 per user is an average cost per month.
In order to help you get further down the road in making a decision, here are some questions you should be asking.
- Is the Internet included in that cost? (For that £14.99 I would say no)
- What Internet speed do I need? (Verify both up and down speeds). Typically, 100k per phone (up and down so 1 Megabit service will handle 10 calls and with no other traffic).
- Is implementation & project management included or do they just send the phones and you plug them in?
- If there are problems with the quality of calls, what tools are available to troubleshoot the problem and is this covered in the monthly cost?
- How many call paths are included (Number of people that can be on the phone at any one time)?
- What features are included in your package? (Many times providers will charge for individual features while others will include them all)
- Is Auto Attendant included?
- Can you have the “phone system” on any device to become mobile? (softphone / mobile phone app)
There are also many things that can affect pricing when comparing providers, such as:
- Handset costs – Do you have to purchase them separately or are they included? What are the make and model? Features are key here – things like
- Number of buttons (one-touch keys to manage group calls and speed dial/function)
> Colour screen
> Network port speed (100mg or 1 Gb – as this may affect the speed of your workstation)
> and more.
- Cabling costs. Most of these handsets require Cat 5e or Cat 6 cabling. Do you have this to where all handsets are going to be replaced? Or do you need wireless/dect phones?
- PoE (Power over Ethernet) to phones. This is something you should be aware of. If you have a PoE switch to power the phones you can put a battery backup at the switch location so if power goes out or flashes, the calls will not be dropped. However, if you do not have PoE, you have to power each phone locally, with a 110-volt outlet (make sure you have that on top of the ethernet), because if you don’t have a battery at each phone, calls will be dropped.
- Are UK Calls included unlimited or X minutes like a mobile phone package, then charged extra (at what cost)?
- Long-distance calls – how will that be billed? Is it included?
- 800 numbers – how will that be billed? Is it additional?
- Fax – we have found that VoiP (think hosted) does not handle fax lines (analog ports) well and many times will not work. So, you will either need a hosted fax solution or a plain telephone line to connect the fax to.
- Call Recording, is this needed for compliance, training or business process – cost per user, how long are recordings held, can you restrict access in tiers?
I know we all take for granted that when the phone rings and just pick it up and the quality will be great. When you start sending these calls across the network or Internet, call quality can get questionable and how these calls get delivered along with the people supporting your solution is very important. Hopefully this gives you a good start to making this decision.
Remember phone calls is still a business primary services and you need to know this will work as it is your brand and reputation on the line, so partner with the right company to match your needs.
If you’re looking for a new partner or would like some advice please do get in touch here or give us a call on 01942 835912
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