As smartphones and tablets continue to dominate the workplace, businesses can forget pay close attention to the actual phone system and provider they choose, thinking that their mobile devices alone will suffice for business connectivity. However, today’s business phone systems remain crucial in helping businesses stay connected through enterprise-grade features, scalable options, and mobility solutions. That is why it’s vital for companies to focus choose the right phone system.
Brian Jaquet, Director of Public Relations at Ooma, lends his thoughts on what companies should look for in a phone system and shares how Ooma Office, the provider’s business phone offering, fits the bill.
What to Look for in a Business Phone System
Despite the growing popularity of alternative communication channels such as instant messaging tools and social media, every business still needs a good phone system in place to help them present themselves professionally and to stay accessible to their customers and clients. However, it isn’t enough to choose a system that simply lets a company make or receive calls. According to Jaquet, reliability is key when it comes to shopping for a communications system.
“Reliability is key. Businesses need to trust that their communications systems will operate as expected,” said Jaquet. Communications downtime, whether due to natural disasters, network outage, or other unforeseeable circumstances, can be extremely frustrating for companies that rely heavily on their phone systems. Hence, it’s important to choose a phone service provider that guarantees business continuity to ensure that a company’s people, processes, and profits will not be affected. A majority of VoIP providers put in place options like redundancy, call continuity, and disaster recovery so that a business is always reachable regardless of the circumstances.
After reliability, the montly price and an excellent feature set are important factors a business must look for in a phone solution, says Jaquet. “Price is another key feature as businesses want a powerful, robust solution, but don’t want to be hamstrung by the cost. A robust feature-set that allows businesses to manage inbound and outbound calls efficiently is also very important,” he added.
What are other important factors to consider when choosing a business phone system? A business' calling habits will definitely play an important role in determining what type of VoIP solution is most applicable. Low-cost calling is one of the major reasons that most companies decide to go with a VoIP phone system. Providers often offer unlimited local and long distance calling plans, in addition to affordable international calling rates to select countries. Furthermore, most (if not all) business VoIP service providers offer free on-network calling...meaning that calls are free to anyone on the same service, regardless of their location. Select providers also offer pay-as-you-go plans or metered plans for businesses that have low call volume.
It's also very important for a business to consider how flexible and/or mobile a phone system is. "What’s great about VoIP is how easy it is to add lines in an office without having to add analog ports for each line," shared Jaquet. Most providers offer easy administration through the admin dashboard, where administrators can add/delete extensions, manage features, customize the auto attendant, and more. It's also important to ask: can I easily take my service with me wherever I go? What sort of mobility features are offered? For businesses with remote or highly mobile employees, it is definitely important to have a mobile app and features like find me/follow me,
What Does Ooma Office Offer Businesses?
Ooma’s award-winning business Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service, Ooma Office, specifically caters to the needs of small businesses. It delivers enterprise-class features and service at an affordable price per line/per month. According to Jaquet, Ooma Office is the best fit for companies who seek to enjoy a “big business phone experience without the high cost of complexity of traditional phone options.” Jaquet also believes that Ooma Office’s quality, reliability, and compatibility give it an edge over other business phone services on the market today.
“Quality and reliability are big pieces of the equation that set Ooma Office apart. Another piece is compatibility. Ooma Office now supports analog, IP and mobile phones to meet the diversified needs of businesses large and small. In addition, Ooma Office also provides a purely mobile, cloud-based solution that does not require on-premise hardware, for customers looking for a set of features that can be utilized exclusively through iOS and Android smartphones,” said Jaquet.
Here’s what makes Ooma Office stand out:
- Big business features - While Ooma Office does not include every other feature offered by larger providers, it does carry a wide range of features and capabilities that small offices would appreciate and find most useful. These include a virtual receptionist, conference calling, virtual fax and more.
- Mobility - Ooma understands the growing needs of mobile workers. Thus, they have introduced Ooma Office for Mobile. Available on iOS or Android devices, Ooma Office for Mobile includes all the enterprise-class communications features that customers expect in an analog or IP phone solution. “This gives entrepreneurs and small, micro-businesses the ability to turn their mobile phone into a business phone solution for managing communications with colleagues, business associates, and customers,” explained Jaquet.
- Flexibility - The system is also incredibly flexible. “Ooma Office supports existing analog phones to fit seamlessly into a business. In addition, in 2016 Ooma Office added significant new feature updates including support for IP Phones and an all-mobile, cloud-based solution for small businesses looking for business-managing features that can be integrated with their mobile phones,” says Jaquet.
- Scalability - For growing businesses, Ooma Office makes it easy to add or remove extensions. According to Jaquet, “Ooma Office offers a product called Linx that plugs into an outlet and features an analog phone jack that a phone can be plugged into and added to the system. The system is managed through a dashboard and extensions can be added and subtracted by the administrator with a click of a button.” Adding an IP Phone or mobile phone extension is also just as easy and can be managed again through the admin dashboard.
- Security - For customers concerned about the security of VoIP phone systems, Jaquet gives the assurance that Ooma Office employs a variety of security measures and protocols to safeguard the communications of its users. Ooma secures connections within Ooma Office by using SSL-TLS for signaling, SRTP for media, AES for encryption, and OpenVPN for other data traffic. For its residential customers, Ooma also offers advanced call blocking options to manage and filter calls. This feature isn’t available for business customers yet; however, Jaquet says it is in the works.
In addition to their phone service offerings, Ooma also supports businesses through its powerful lead generation tool, Business Promoter, designed for small businesses to drive customer acquisition using search engine optimization. Through this service, “Ooma helps companies build, manage and optimize their online business profile on popular search engines, business directories, and mobile ad networks. Business Promoter charges companies based on the number of qualified calls that are generated for a business each month.”
For its residential customers, Ooma also adds two new services to its portfolio: the Ooma Internet Security and Ooma Home Security to give customers added protection and security in the home.
For more information on Ooma and their range of communication solutions for business, please visit their website.
Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Ooma (OOMA) strives to transform the communications experience of small businesses and consumers. The company was founded in 2004 with the mission of reinventing the home phone service. Following its success in the home through Ooma Telo, the company took on the business market with its launch of Ooma Office, an enterprise-level phone service for small businesses. Today the company now offers cloud-based telephony, internet security, home security and other connected services.