When you make the decision to move to a VoIP system, or even if you’re just changing providers, chances are there are a number of benefits you are looking to get out of the move. Cost savings is usually at the top of the list, alongside flexibility.
This hasn’t changed with the increased focus on remote work that we have seen over the past year – in fact, having a telephony solution that allows work from home while integrating with the office system has become essential. And, while there are a few common expenses that need to be taken into consideration with any migration, here are a few hidden costs that many people aren’t aware of.
1. Headsets and devices
Nextiva’s 2020 State of Business Communication Report found that 59% of business professionals use at least three devices while at work. While it might be fun to have so many channels to communicate with customers, the report found that they can be overwhelming. Fragmented communication systems can make it extremely difficult to stay on top of customer interactions and track conversations happening simultaneously across multiple channels. Due to this fragmentation, 60% said they faced a communications crisis every month.
This only got worse because of lockdown and the need for most people to work from home. Some companies implemented phone systems that included issuing devices to all employees, while others relied on software to bridge the gap between home offices and the central office. Unfortunately, while everyone has access to a cellphone, some aren’t compatible with SIP software. In these cases, the company had to invest in devices that would allow people to connect properly.
Similarly, not all headsets are created equal. Many cellphone headsets aren’t quite up to the job of being professional tools, especially for customer-facing people. The easiest option for a headset that works at home is to use a complete telephone headset system that functions as a stand-alone telephone. For those that just need a headset that plugs into a cellphone or laptop, there are a variety of other options, including corded and wireless.
2. Network costs
VoIP needs a good network to run optimally. For remote workers, relying on a 3G connection may not be good enough, and will result in disconnections, and poor quality. The cost of installing or upgrading the network at employees’ homes will usually end up being paid by the company, and that bill can escalate quickly if the business has more than one or two employees.
In the office, the local area network must be capable of handling the bandwidth for the number of phone lines, handsets, concurrent calls, and planned growth. A router with the ability to provide QoS is necessary to reserve prioritised bandwidth for voice and video. Many companies have neglected to do regular upgrades to their network, and even those that have invested into their network over the years may incur an additional cost in reconfiguring the network if they are moving to a different service or provider.
3. Carrier costs
While there is no cost to port a cellphone number, there can be other costs associated with porting a business number from one provider to another. There could be legal issues and costs that may not have occurred to you, and in some cases, the number might not be able to be ported, so there will be an additional cost to have calls forwarded to that number.
Always weigh up the costs, the service, and the reliability of the VoIP provider you have chosen to use, because leaving an existing contract to move to another provider could become expensive. Most contracts include cancellation fees, not to mention the fees to cancel and reapply for fixed line services. There are also hardware costs to take into consideration if there is PBX equipment involved.
Check out our guides on how to choose the best VOIP provider for your needs on www.whichvoip.co.za