Not All IP Phones are Created Equal

Brett Harney VoIP

Is your sales team not fond of giving out their personal cell numbers to clients? Yes, having the convenience of direct communication with leads and clients is crucial. But what happens when an overzealous client starts texting about personal matters?  That’s why having the ability to take incoming calls and transfer them to any phone type whether it’s a soft phone, mobile, or the traditional desk phone is one of the most popular features CTG clients love about VoIP.

Since VoIP is a data application, Jon Arnold’s advice on ITToolbox.com may come in handy in deciding which IP-phone is right for your company’s needs. He offers the following six factors to consider because not all IP phones are the same.

1. Ergonomics
Some employees are on the phone all day long, and if their current handset has been with them for many years, the new IP phone better provide a similar look and feel. Design is a key part of this, especially the handset shape, the feel of the material, its weight, keypad layout, etc. Quality can vary widely across IP phone vendors, and you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of these basic design and usability elements on everyday usage.

2. Audio Quality
This is another area where quality can vary widely and again, the impact on end users should not be underestimated. Hosted VoIP operators can certainly provide carrier-grade quality audio, but if the phones are low grade, the voice quality will suffer. By viewing VoIP as a commodity, it can be tempting to go with the cheapest phones, but this is where the results of that thinking will really show. There is a higher level to consider as well, namely High Definition audio. The experience is markedly better, and can be a great add-on for the contact center. Again, while many hosted VoIP providers can support HD audio, the phones must support it too, but this is not yet a standard feature.

3. Visual Display
Higher-end IP phones will have large displays, often in color and at resolutions meant to support Web-based applications. Your employees may not need this today, but if you think their needs will change, then multimedia support will be a factor for the type of IP phone to buy.

4. Headset Support
Some legacy phones have this capability, but there are more options with today’s IP phones. This will be especially important for contact center agents and anyone else who is on the phone a lot in close quarters. The main thing that’s different today is wireless headsets, which gives employees much more mobility within the office. Audio quality is better now as well, and overall, headset support is another way to make VoIP more than just a commodity experience.

5. Range of Product Line
If you’re a SOHO, everyone probably gets the same phone. For larger scale SMBs, however, the range of needs is broader, and given the affordability of IP phones, catering to everyone is feasible. For example, executives will want higher-end phones, contact center agents will need more durable phones, meeting rooms will require conference phones, and for guest use a basic lobby phone will do. Some environments will also have needs for cordless phones, which have a separate set of considerations. On a broader scale, the product line is yet another factor for determining the right IP phone vendor.

6. Warranty and Support
Given that today’s phones are not built to last like their legacy predecessors, it’s important to understand how each vendor stands behind their products. At minimum, you need to look at the warranty length along with options for extended coverage. From there, you need to know what their replacement policy is for phones that fail, as well as parts availability for ongoing maintenance. On the support side, you need to know that feature updates from your hosted VoIP provider will flow through to the phones. Finally, for broader technical support, you should note that some vendors have domestically-based agents with deep product knowledge, while others have overseas-based agents with only general product knowledge.

CTG can help you determine if your business is ready for this technology and if not, how to help you get there. When you work with CTG, you can rest assured your network performance, application performance, and connectivity will be operating at peak levels.  Learn more here.