Business VoIP Phone Service: The 3-Step Guide to Switching
Learn how to get started with business VoIP phone service in this easy-to-follow guide. By following the 3 steps outlined below, you can ensure that your transition to a VoIP system is seamless, with no downtime on your business phones.
First, you’ll find an overview of important questions and considerations to help you compare business VoIP service providers. Further below, you’ll find the 3 steps on implementing your new phone system, along with FAQs about business VoIP phone service.
How to Choose the Best VoIP Service for Small Business
The very first step before you even begin to search for the best VoIP phone service for your business is to get familiar with how business VoIP services work in general.
This article will go over exactly what you need to know to begin your due diligence.
Once you’re through with this article, the next steps to choosing a VoIP solution will be to identify your needs, and find out what the different business VoIP providers offer.
Questions to ask yourself / your team:
- What features do we need?
- What type of phones do we want to use (desk/virtual/mobile)?
- What does our calling / texting usage look like?
- Do we need international calling?
Questions to ask potential VoIP providers:
- Do you have the features we need?
- Can you port my local and toll free numbers?
- Do you support the phones we currently have?
- How does pricing work?
- Are the features we need included with the price?
- What level of customer support is provided, and is it included with the plan?
Once you’ve narrowed down a few of the best VoIP providers, you should go through a free trial run. It’s crucial to experience the interface where you’ll be managing your VoIP phone services, the reliability of calls, and the quality of customer support.
Afterall, it doesn’t always just come down to price.
Signing up for a free trial is imperative. Not only will it allow you to assess the management of the phone system and make phone calls, but you should also try and get a feel for the customer service. Working with a sales rep is one thing, but you want to make sure once you’re handed off to the support team, that you are happy with the responsiveness and help provided. Even if you find the best business VoIP phone service in terms of price, customer support can make or break your experience with a service provider.
Take advantage of the free trial, but don’t just sign up and leave it there. Set up the features, configure a device, make test calls, and reach out to tech support. You can then compare providers, and make an informed decision that you hopefully won’t have to look back on a few months down the line.
Business VoIP Features
With business VoIP phone service, you get all the things you would expect from a regular phone service - calling, texting, faxing, phone numbers, extensions, voicemail, etc. What VoIP does is give you access to dozens of additional features that would traditionally come with a custom (and expensive) PBX system, plus the advanced capabilities that only an internet-based phone system can offer.
Here are just 10 business VoIP features that you may want to implement.
- Automated Attendant
- Call Queues
- Custom Hold Music
- Call Recording
- Call Analytics
- Spam Call Blocking
- Text Messaging
- Voicemail to Email
- Custom Announcements
- Mobile App
How to Set up Business VoIP Phone Service
When you sign up with Telzio, you are guided by a dedicated account manager and knowledgeable tech support team to assist you every step of the way. Here is a high level overview of the steps you can expect to take when you sign up.
Setting up a Call Flow
Porting phone numbers
Let’s dive into each step.
1. Choosing Phones
One of the things to consider when setting up a business VoIP phone service is the type of phones you want to use. The benefit of VoIP is that you have flexibility when it comes to devices.
You can choose to use one, two, or all three of the following options:
- Desk phones
- Mobile app
If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly option, you can simply get started with the webphone and mobile app for making and receiving calls and SMS. Desk phones are completely optional with business VoIP phone service, and you can always add them later.
If you have existing IP phones, you should be able to use them with any VoIP provider. VoIP phones are easy to set up with auto provisioning from Telzio. All you have to do is plug in the phone, and Telzio automatically adds the configuration settings. What’s great is that you can remotely manage all your users and devices through the Telzio Dashboard.
You can also order new phones that are ready-for-calling when they arrive. If you’re not sure what type of phones to get, we highly recommend Yealink. Your Telzio account specialist can advise you on the various models and benefits. If you plan to order new phones, you can expect them to take anywhere from a day to a week to arrive, depending on the shipping method.
The free trial period should be used to set up your phones, and test them to make sure they’re working as intended. If you’re not planning to use desk phones, this is a non-issue. Ditching desk phones is afterall, one of the many benefits of switching to a business VoIP phone service.
Related: Beginner’s Guide to IP Phones
2. Setting up a Call Flow
In addition to setting up phones, the trial period should be used to set up your Call Flows. The Call Flow contains the rules and customizations that tell the VoIP system how to route incoming calls to your business phone numbers. For example, do you want to greet your callers with an auto attendant? Are there different routing instructions for open hours versus closed hours? What on-hold music do you want to play for callers?
During the trial, you are given a free local or toll free phone number that you can use for testing. You can call the number, and try out the Call Flow that you built. There’s no limit to the number of Call Flows you can create, so you can set up different flows for different phone numbers, offices, and departments.
Once you get your phones figured out and your Call Flows designed, you’ll be ready to start the porting process.
3. Porting Phone Numbers
You can keep your existing phone numbers when switching to a VoIP phone service by porting them to Telzio. The porting process typically takes around a week, and you’ll know exactly what time and day the transfer will take place. Most business phone numbers can be ported, and you can verify that your numbers are portable by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
With your phones configured and Call Flows ready-to-go, submitting a porting request is the final step of the transition to a business VoIP phone service. Be sure not to cancel service with your old provider until after the porting date, as this could cause delays or issues with your phone service.
Keep in mind that a Telzio account manager will assist along the way and make sure everything is lined up for a smooth transition.
If you’re just getting started, you can learn more about business VoIP phone service from Telzio by scheduling a 10-minute demo.
FAQs about Business VoIP
What are the requirements to use VoIP phone service?
The short answer is that you probably don’t need anything more than what you already have to use a VoIP service for your business. Most business locations with a standard internet connection have more than enough bandwidth to support VoIP calls, and typically no adjustments are needed to the existing network settings. If there are, the VoIP service provider should be able to help with basic troubleshooting to get you up and running. This is where the trial phase is so important.
Unlike traditional business phone systems that require physical hardware, known as a PBX, business VoIP phone systems do not require any hardware. The PBX, which is the equipment that powers call routing, extensions, and all the essential features of the phone system, is hosted by the VoIP provider “in the cloud”.
The only hardware that you may need, are the actual desk phones. And these are, by nature of VoIP, optional. Some companies opt to ditch desk phones, and only use mobile devices and computers for calling instead.
The bottom line is, you can set up business VoIP phone service with just the internet and a computer.
Do I need phone service to use VoIP?
No. You don’t need a separate phone service to use VoIP. VoIP service replaces your existing telephone services, including the phone lines, phone numbers, and functionality.
How does VoIP pricing work?
Most VoIP providers charge a monthly fee per user, which includes a certain number of minutes and features. Most providers offer month-to-month plans, and discounts if you sign a 1-3 year contract. Some providers provide various customer service levels, and for example, only provide phone support to customers who spend over a certain amount. Keep in mind that “unlimited calling” plans have limits, also known as fair usage policies.
Telzio charges based on actual usage (minutes and texts), and includes unlimited users at no additional charge. Special features like spam blocking, call recording, auto attendants, and call queues are unlimited and included with Telzio, as well as customer support, regardless of spend.
More often than not, paying for usage is significantly more cost effective and scalable than paying per user. This is a significant consideration for companies that are growing and plan to add more users over time. Learn more about why you shouldn’t pay per user for business VoIP phone service.
How do VoIP phones work?
From the user’s perspective, a VoIP desk phone works just like a traditional desk phone. It looks and feels identical. The difference is that VoIP phones run over the internet, instead of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
VoIP phones, also known as IP phones, provide all the familiar calling features that people are used to - hold, transfer, voicemail, conference, etc. You can set up BLF keys, or busy lamp field keys, that display the status of other extensions (available/busy) and enable one-touch call transferring.
VoIP phones are better than traditional phones because you can also use them across locations. For example, you can have a desk phone at the office and another phone at home with the same extension and settings. This makes it convenient to support remote workers and distributed offices under the same phone system.
VoIP phones connect directly to the internet via an ethernet cable. Some VoIP phones are able to share a single ethernet connection, allowing you to connect the phone through your computer and reduce cable clutter. What’s more, VoIP phones also have a power over ethernet (PoE) feature, so you don’t even need a power cord.
Your VoIP provider should advise you on the best VoIP phones for your business, and make sure they come with the right accessories.
Most VoIP phones can be used with different VoIP providers, which is good news if you are forced to switch later. You should make sure the VoIP provider does not lock the phones, as this will just cause headaches getting them to work with a new provider.
Can I use my landline phones with VoIP?
If you have analog phones that you’re hoping to continue using with your new VoIP service, it is possible to do so with an adaptor, but it’s usually not recommended for various reasons such as loss of call quality and functionality.
Will my VoIP phone service work if my internet is down?
Even if there’s an outage at your office, your phone numbers will not be affected as they are not physically dependent on your location. Whatever phone services you have set up - auto attendants, hold music, call routing, etc., will continue working as is. Calls can be routed to mobile phones, and there are steps you can take to ensure that your VoIP desk phones continue running during a power or internet outage. You should talk to your IT about options for setting up a backup power supply and wireless internet failover.
Do you have questions about business VoIP phone service? Our Los Angeles-based team is standing by to help between 8am to 6pm PST. Write us on the chat or call us at 888-998-9080.
Jennifer is part of the content marketing team at Telzio, providing insight and tips on how Telzio can be used to optimize business communications and customer service.