Local businesses are considering moving to cloud-based, VoIP telephony solutions because they are more mobile and flexible than wired landline solutions.
“VoIP, cloud-based telephony solutions offer substantial benefits over the traditional landline, PABX solutions,” says Euphoria CEO John Woollam, “because they can be accessed from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection, which offers distinct benefits in the era of load shedding and remote working.”
With VoIP, cloud telephony solutions, employees can access their company extension from their mobile phones, with VoIP handsets or with browser softphones, which means that they’re connected no matter where they are, on a computer or mobile phone.
Businesses looking to move to cloud-based VoIP telephony need to ensure they’re getting a solution that meets their business’ exact needs, says Woollam. Below, he outlines three questions businesses should ask before they make a move.
Service and availability
No business likes to be left in the lurch with no communications at a crucial time. Ask your provider for a documented, enforceable SLA that outlines the uptime you can expect as well as response times to queries, amendments to your service (if you can’t self-serve), and outages (where possible, some things are just beyond the provider’s control).
Your provider should have built-in redundancy at a connectivity and data centre level so that technical failures do not impact your operations. You need to ensure you have access to responsive, remote support teams so that you are not stuck waiting for someone to come out to you (a problem with hardware PBXs) and the ability to self-serve – for example setting up your own digital receptionist or IVRs – as far as possible.
Security is a critical element of ensuring service continuity so make sure both your providers systems and yours are secure, that your provider encrypts their traffic, that they are POPIA compliant and that you can restrict access to certain data or certain functionality by role – for example to ensure only your finance teams have access to financial information.
Functionality and flexibility
Some businesses need indepth analytics on every aspect of their telephony environment – number of calls made or received, to or from which number/extension, call duration, call outcomes etc. Others need to manage their people through time and attendance functionality. Some businesses need both.
Different people in your business need different views on telephony – your finance manager needs indepth billing and budgeting per extension, your call centre manager needs productivity data, while your service team leads need to know if a specific customer is calling you often – so that they can find out why.
Ensure that your provider’s solution can give you the most important things you need in a cloud-based PBX before you sign up. Flexibility to scale up and down as your business changes is also critical, you don’t want to get tied into a solution that doesn’t change as fast and as often as you need it to.
Costs and contracts
Make sure your provider is explicit on the costs associated with the solution – fixed and variable. The different elements of a typical VoIP cloud-based PBX include service charges, extension charges, and call charges.
Your service charge is the basic fee the provider charges you to get that call service. Providers charge different rates for different types of extensions – largely based on the level of functionality each provides – so make sure you understand what extension types you need, how many of them, and what cost implications are. Per minute or per second call charges vary too.
Be careful not to get tied into a long-term contract with a provider whose solution may not evolve as your business’ needs do. Month to month contracts are available and offer you better flexibility.
About Euphoria Telecom
Euphoria Telecom is a leading provider of an innovative, cloud-based, cost effective, business telephone service that offers unprecedented control and automated operational efficiency. The solution offers any business a truly simple approach to managing communications across an increasingly decentralised and mobile workforce. Seamless integration and automation make it simple for businesses to access insights, reports and efficacy of communications.
The company has earned a reputation as a customer-centric business, decreasing customer telephony costs by up to 50% and maintaining excellent customer service. Established in 2010, the company now proudly hosts over 4 000 business customers in South Africa and continues to grow rapidly. The company was founded by George Golding, Conrad de Wet and Rafal Janik, and is managed by John Woollam and Nic Laschinger.
Since 2009, WhichVoIP.co.za has helped thousands of South African businesses to make better buying decisions for phone systems, VoIP, and connectivity. During this time, we’ve facilitated the connection of 45 000+ users through our network of 500+ telecom providers in our directory.