Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is a growing telecommunications solution that has now become so affordable that small businesses can consider it too. Rather than being a single solution where all brands offer a similar service, there’s ongoing development and competition between providers vying for the attention of potential new customers.
Subsequently, some solutions are adding new features every month, a few are merging to be more comprehensive, and others are sticking to their core feature set to avoid confusing buyers.
This begs the question – which features are the most useful for business owners? Is it now time to switch from traditional telecom solutions to those that rely on the internet? This is what we aim to answer.
Getting Up and Running in Record Time
If you’re a new business and want to get out of the gate immediately, with VoIP running from day one in a new office, then the speed of execution is vital. Being able to sign up and get a VoIP service operational in record time might be paramount. If so, it’s important to prioritize the solution that boasts of being able to do exactly that. Certainly, you might wish to source some anecdotal evidence from existing customers to confirm that the company meets this goal and doesn’t regularly fall far short.
With two of the better-known VoIP providers – RingCentral and Aircall – the latter is the younger provider. It has been around since 2014, and with a modern setup, they tend to be the faster mover on the block.
VoIP Includes Phone Calls and Sometimes Video Too
One clear difference between services like Aircall and RingCentral is their support for video conference calls. As the publication from PieSync, a cloud syncing provider of merit, pointed out in their review of Aircall and RingCentral, they’re quite distinct from one another. It pays to verify with resources like PieSync what exactly is and is not offered before deciding on a VoIP partner for your business.
RingCentral isn’t new; they’ve operated since 1999. Because of this, they’ve had time to implement extra features – one of which is video conferencing.
Is this something your company could benefit from? Do you have offices in different locations, or are you currently trying to manage remotely located or home-working employees over ad-hoc solutions such as Skype or Zoom?
What If Simplicity Is Preferred Over Complexity?
Not every business owner wants solutions that have 100 different features they don’t understand and a feeling of helplessness when something goes wrong.
A simpler VoIP solution that demystifies the technology and makes it easily accessible to tweak settings and customize it might be preferred over a solution overflowing with options. Just one click is needed to get features set up quickly allows the business owner to move rapidly onto the next item on their task list for that day.
On the flip side, complexity might be worthwhile when the user of the service is technically minded themselves and wishes to have the ability to customize everything personally. Or, they don’t want to discover that they’re limited in their options.
You’ll know which type of person you are and the type of service that matches that paradigm.
Does Ease of Use Matter the Most?
A VoIP service can have great ease of use with its user interface but still have many features and customization options available. It depends on how well the interface is designed, structured, and tested with real users. It also matters how many iterations it has gone through in its history. Being an older company, for instance, can be a hindrance when nothing evolves very quickly, leaving an upstart to steal their thunder.
However, it can go the other direction too, where the long-term experience in the marketplace better informs the company about how to create an easy interface for users through an iterative process of trial and error. This is something that newer startups sometimes lack, particularly with technical services led by developers and not UX designers dictating how to present the service and its features. A hard-learned lesson indeed for some unfortunate startups.
Don’t Forget Mobile Usability Too
It’s important to consider whether the VoIP solution is only managed from a desktop PC or a web browser, or whether it has mobile access or a mobile app too. While it shouldn’t necessarily be expected that a mobile app includes all the features or customization options that the full-blown desktop version has, it should certainly make the service accessible to make a call, receive a call, or adjust key features on-the-fly.
It’s important to look at different VoIP providers to see which services and features they offer. The usability, feature set, level of customization, mobile access, and speed of setup differ widely between offerings. A little investigation and review of the options is beneficial before signing on the dotted line and committing to replacing traditional telecommunication solutions.