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A fixed VoIP phone system provides a secure and reliable way to make effective phone calls whether you’re a five-person business or manage a whole call center. It’s also a great way to build trust with your prospects and current customers as they recognize your number when you’re contacting them.
The problem? A fixed VoIP phone system can get expensive fast if you aren’t careful. This is especially true if you make international calls often or work with a remote team with locations around the globe. Finding an affordable fixed VoIP provider that’ll offer you better rates than a traditional phone system is the best course of action.
On that note, here’s how to make fixed VoIP work for you.
Why Fixed VoIP Is So Important
A fixed VoIP system can help you leave behind a traditional PBX phone system that’s outdated, limiting, and costly. Once you sign on to a fixed VoIP service you’re signing up for reliable customer communications that you can make through your existing hardware. This means zero spending on additional equipment.
With fixed VoIP, you’ll keep access to reliable emergency services should you have to make an emergency call, since your phone numbers would be connected to a physical address.
You also won’t have to give up your old phone numbers, so the trust you’ve built with your existing customers won’t be broken and you can easily reach them as you transition to a network provider.
A VoIP alternative almost always comes with added features, like a centralized desktop dashboard, that can enhance both your employees’ and your customers’ calling experience.
In short, switching to a fixed VoIP system is a reliable and cost-effective way to leave outdated expensive calling alternatives behind that comes with plenty of added benefits.
There are plenty of examples where this is the case.
For instance, DirectBuy, a business with more than 600 employees that handles over 30,000 calls per month saw a significant increase in efficiency when they switched to a VoIP calling system.
After incorporating Nextiva into its calling department, business calls from around the United States and Canada were easier, less expensive, and more smoothly accessed through the desktop phone app. Employees could handle calls with ease and simultaneously fill out forms, membership requests, and customer information.
Quick Tips to Improve Fixed VoIP Today
So, how do you ensure the cost of communicating with your customers at scale doesn’t eat your whole budget?
For starters, you want to make sure you’re signing up with a reputable VoIP provider that comes with a powerful and dynamic set of features that makes communicating with your customers easier.
With VoIP software like Nextiva, you can ensure you’re running your business’ communication needs on a single platform that takes care of phone calls and more through your existing network.
As an efficient solution for businesses that communicate with customers on multiple channels, it ensures you take care of incoming calls and messages by automating repetitive tasks and ensuring a quality connection every time.
With Nextiva’s VoIP plans, you’re able to:
- Communicate through phone, text, email, video, and instant messaging through one platform
- Use built-in servicing tools for faster service
- Pull up previous customer information for smoother interactions
- Automatically initiate callbacks
- Work with an easy ticketing system for faster call processing
- Access a suite of advanced features that go beyond the simple phone call to provide an exceptional user experience on both ends
Reaching your customers wherever they are through the use of an internet connection that easily handles phone calls is made so much easier with an effective VoIP system like Nextiva. Though many of the features of a provider like Nextiva can be found in other providers that made it on our top list of picks.
Now, whether you’re already using a VoIP, want to switch to a better one, or thinking of using one, here’s a list of a few key changes you can make today to improve your VoIP workflow.
Improve remote phone quality
Sometimes your voice-over IP calls aren’t as clear as they should be and you inevitably run into trouble as you try to engage with and fix your customers’ requests over the phone. However, you can immediately improve your VoIP call quality by following a few simple steps.
If you manage a remote team, they’re likely using Wi-Fi to connect with their VoIP dashboard and make calls, which means it’s going to compete for additional bandwidth with other devices connected on the same network.
One of the first and easiest things you can do is ensure all the cellphones in your home aren’t running on Wi-Fi to make phone calls and set them to primarily use data for connecting calls. This can usually be found under your phone’s additional settings. Sometimes you can access your Wi-Fi and data settings through your phone’s swipe-up dashboard where you can simply push the Wi-Fi off button.
Yet another way to improve your remote VoIP phone quality is to close any open tabs on your computer that aren’t completely necessary, which will free up additional bandwidth.
You can also plug your device straight into your router with an ethernet cable (it’s often provided with your router when you first get it). This way there’s a direct connection between your device and your internet connection and the quality of your calls improves instantly.
In short, anything in your household that’s connected to the Wi-Fi can be turned off so it frees up more bandwidth for your remote VoIP system to run as smoothly as possible. This means being thorough about turning off the Wi-Fi on other computers around the house, disconnecting Amazon Alexas, Google Nests, wireless speakers, and additional cellphones not in use.
If you’re up for the challenge, you can also go into your router’s settings to check exactly who and what is taking up bandwidth. Though if this isn’t an option with your particular make of routers, you can use a free tool like the Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor from Solarwinds to pull up your bandwidth information and easily see if anything is sucking up too many resources so you can then disconnect it.
Set up your VoIP call forwarding
While doing this might sound like a drawn-out process, you can actually get it done in as little as a day. Call forwarding is important to set up in case any one of your employees is away from their desk, someone calls after work hours, or they’re busy with other customers on the line.
With a robust VoIP system, you have the option of configuring call forwarding options like:
- Call forward always: Always forward a call that goes to a certain number
- Call forward when unanswered: You can transfer calls after a set number of rings
- Call forward when busy: Forward a call to someone else on your team when you’re currently busy with a customer.
- Call forward when unreachable: Forward a call when an extension is not available
To configure what happens in different call scenarios, you can:
- Sign in to your voice portal
- Find and select your VoIP features and find the forwarding section
- Then adjust all your call forwarding options
Hands down, this is a great way to ensure your customers don’t feel like they’re being ignored. The whole point of adopting a VoIP system is to ease and update the communication between your business and your customers, were they to have any questions or concerns. Configuring your call forwarding settings to your best practice standards can be the first step in that direction.
Do your due diligence and research
Not all VoIP service providers are created equal. If you haven’t yet made up your mind about the right VoIP system for you, it’s important that you take the time to compare and contrast options.
Some VoIP service providers are built around unique selling points that only cater to a specific type of customer, while others might be more general in who they cater to. This will usually reflect in their price points as well as the features each one offers.
The last thing you want is to get stuck with a VoIP service that doesn’t offer the features you need to be able to function efficiently and eventually scale. When you’re looking for a VoIP system that’s right for your business, you’ll want to look at the following key features:
- Pricing and plan options
- Compatibility with current hardware and software
- Integration options with the software you use that makes up part of your workflow
- The quality of its customer support before, after, and during installation
- Reviews and reputation in the VoIP space
- Additional set up costs and employee onboarding process
We’re pretty crazy about matching people with the best software option that fits their needs. That’s why we’ve spent hours creating a guide that can help you through the decision-making process as you consider the pros and cons of the many VoIP options out there. Check it out here to see our top picks.
Long Term Strategies for Fixed VoIP
With setting up a VoIP call system, there are some quick wins you can take advantage of to fine-tune your customer service experience. To complement that, here are some additional strategies you can use with your VoIP system to streamline your workflow over the long term.
Get the right high-speed broadband connection by calculating the amount of bandwidth you need
In the long run, your business performance will be affected by the connectivity of your VoIP calls if it isn’t up to par.
A quick fix to this that’ll benefit your performance for years to come is to sign on to a high-speed broadband connection with the right amount of bandwidth so that your call quality is the best that it can be, and you suffer from fewer dropped calls.
This is especially necessary if you run a call center and your team works together in one centralized area.
According to Nextiva, all you have to do to calculate the appropriate bandwidth is to allocate 100 kbps per voice line, then add an additional 15 percent for data overhead.
Invest in VoIP-compatible phones and headsets
As a VoIP user, this might either be a no-brainer, or something you haven’t given much thought to. Either way, if you’re going to attend to a high number of calls in the long run, you’re better off equipped with the hardware that can help you through a high volume of calls day in and day out.
Granted, some VoIP providers will have proprietary hardware you can adopt if you’re already signed up with them. The choice is yours and will largely depend on compatibility as well as your call management budget and long-term goals.
As an example, Nextiva provides you with a wide selection of VoIP compatible hardware you can use to ensure clear crisp audio on both ends that can be anything from a desktop phone to a cordless device, conferencing devices, headsets, and even adapters.
Prices can range anywhere from $30 per piece to as high as $345 or more which is great for adjusting to a budget and getting a good price point.
The decision to invest in any VoIP hardware largely depends on your budget constraints, the size of your team, the volume of calls received, and the state of your current equipment.
Whether you choose to slowly transition to VoIP hardware, convert your existing equipment, or completely overhaul your hardware in one go, updating your equipment is the next best thing you can do for quality assurance after ensuring your internet provider bandwidth limits are up to par. This is true whether your team works together in one department, or you handle a fleet of remote employees.
Create a VoIP team Wiki, FAQ, or troubleshooting guide
VoIP systems can be configured to the uniqueness of your business. This is why it’s an excellent long-term solution to create a centralized document in the form of a team Wiki, FAQ, or a troubleshooting guide that’ll help your employees work through the most common VoIP issues.
You won’t only avoid downtime, you’ll avoid spending time repeating explanations or time-consuming discussions about common problems that can be remedied with a detailed set of guides and FAQs specific to your business.
One great way to do this is by creating a document all your employees have access to. There is no shortage of project management tools out there you can easily onboard for this task, many of which are free.
You can easily get everyone, old and new employees alike, on the same page once you direct them to the team Wiki, which can also include links to guides and forums created by your VoIP provider for additional assistance.
As far as long-term strategy goes, it’s all about proactively tackling oncoming issues before they slow down your employee workflows, especially if you’re managing a remote team that works all around the world on different time zones and disparate schedules.