Guide to Hosted VoIP provider for your Small Businesses | Medical Offices

Guide to Hosted VoIP provider for your Small Businesses | Medical Offices

With influx of hosted VoIP providers available touting various feature set, it sometimes gets confusing on what features to look for.

When someone mentions VoIP or Voice over IP phone system, I usually get a response asking if it is similar to consumer level service providers. I always answer with an astounding Yes and go on with more details on the features and benefits of the VoIP system that was designed with Small Business / Medical Offices in mind.

While I have personally used them with good results when I was a consumer, it is limited in value when you are a business due to the limited Business Class features that are missing from their service. These Business Class features are what sets the traditional analog phone lines you get from a local phone company apart from PBX systems that costs tens of thousands of dollars that are used in larger businesses.

This article will go over the Business Class features that are available on ExpressVoice PBX Hosted VoIP service in comparison to other VoIP provider or lines provided by your Cable / Phone companies.

DISCLAIMER: Yes we have a Hosted VoIP system designed for Small Business | Medical Offices and Yes I am biased and think that what we offer is the best. With that being said, I will provide both PROS and CONS of features that are often available by various vendors in comparison to our ExpressVoice PBX Hosted VoIP Plans.

ExpressVoice PBX Hosted VoIP service:
ExpressVoice system has been designed from the start to be a Business Class phone system with proven Business Class features. With plans ranging from five users to twenty-five users all tied into one sysstem, it offers full PBX feature set with minimal upfront cost.

PROS:
– Local Number Portability so that you can trasnfer your existing Phone Number
– One Direct Dialing Number to be used as a Main Number
– Direct Dialing Number per Phone Available
– Toll Free Numbers Available
– Unlimited Concurrent Calls allowing any number of phones to be online at the same time
– Full Conference Call Bridge to host Phone Meetings with callers both inside and outside of your organization
– Call Routing features to allow specific Call Forwarding based on criteria you set
– Call Transfer to other phones in the office or to an External Number
– Follow Me: Rings multiple phones (another office, cell phones) at the same time or in Sequence
Auto Attendant to route calls more efficiently using Voice Menus which can accomodate multiple options based on time of day
Call Parking available to hold an incoming calls in place to be answered by dialing the parking extension at a later time
BLF is Available to monitor other extension status
– Voicemail to Email to a specified email address or multiple email addresses
Calls can be transferred directly to Voicemail by anyone
Video conferencing capability within the office phones
– Plans range from 5000 minutes to 20000 minutes Available
– Fairly inexpnsive for the Features and Minutes provided

CONS:
– Unlimited Minutes is not Available
– Cannot reuse your old Analog Phones
– Only works with SIP phones which are industry standard
– Call is routed through the Internet so it can be unavailable during Internet Outage

Standalone VoIP providers:
Most VoIP providers features plans that are independent of each other. This means that if you have a five person Office, you will normally order five lines with five phone numbers from your provider. Since these phones and numbers are independent of each other, their feature set if limited as they cannot communicate with each other for transfer, forwarding, etc. Therefore, these services cannot be considered to be Business Class.

PROS:
– Local Number Portability so that you can trasnfer your existing Phone Number
– Direct Dialing Number per Phone
– Toll Free Numbers Available (usually only on Business Plans)
– Call Waiting to indicate a second call coming in
– Three Way Calling to be used as a Conference Bridge
– Call Forwarding to one Number
– Simultaneous Ringing: Rings multiple phones (another office, cell phones) at the same time
– Voicemail to Email to a specified email address
– Might be able to Reuse your existing Analog phones
– Usually offers Unlimited Minutes
– Fairly inexpnsive

CONS:
– Each line can handle one conversation at a time
– No Centralized Number for everyone to call into as everyone has their own Direct number only
– Conference Bridge is limited to Three Attendees using Three Way Calling
– Call Forwaring to one Number ties up the line until the call is terminated
– Calls can ring multiple phones all at once and not in sequence
– Unlimited Minutes sometimes restrict use if call volume is above normal per their discretion: Make sure to read their Terms of Use
– No Call Transfer between phones in your own office
– No Auto Attendant for routing Calls effectively
– No video capability within the office phones
– No Call Parking available
– Cannot monitor phone status using BLF (Busy Lamp Field)
– Cannot have multiple greetings based on time of day
– Call is routed through the Internet so it can be unavailable during Internet Outage

Phone service from your Cable / Phone company:
Similar to Standalone VoIP providers, these phones are NOT designed to co-exist together. Therefore, they are limited in Business Class features and cannot be considere to be Business Class either.

PROS:
– Local Number Portability so that you can trasnfer your existing Phone Number
– Direct Dialing Number per Phone
– Call Waiting to indicate a second call coming in
– Three Way Calling to be used as a Conference Bridge
– Call Forwarding to one Number
– Simultaneous Ringing: Rings multiple phones (another office, cell phones) at the same time
– Voicemail to Email to a specified email address
– Might be able to Reuse your existing Analog phones
– Usually offers Unlimited Minutes
– Fairly inexpnsive
– Not tied to your Internet Connection

CONS:
– Each line can handle one conversation at a time
– No Centralized Number for everyone to call into as everyone has their own Direct number only
– Toll Free Number is not available unless you have a more expensive Business Plan
– Conference Bridge is limited to Three Attendees using Three Way Calling
– Call Forwaring to one Number ties up the line until the call is terminated
– Calls can ring multiple phones all at once and not in sequence
– Unlimited Minutes sometimes restrict use if call volume is above normal per their discretion: Make sure to read their Terms of Use
– No Call Transfer between phones in your own office
– No Auto Attendant for routing Calls effectively
– No video capability within the office phones
– No Call Parking available
– Cannot monitor phone status using BLF (Busy Lamp Field)
– Cannot have multiple greetings based on time of day
– Even though the phone circuit is not directly tied to the Internet service, it can go down with the provider or modem failure

NOTE: If you have multiple phone lines coming in via a cable company or phone company, we can set up a Asterisk IP PBX server in your office that has minimal noise and footprint. This server can tie all of your analog circuits together so that you can have full PBX functionality.
With the information stated above: Our recommendation for a One Person office with very limited needs would be to order a service from a Standalone VoIP provider or your cable/phone provider. However, if your business needs to have a Professional Appearance, even for a one person office, and can take advantage of Advanced PBX Features, our ExpressVoice PBX Hosted VoIP service will provide you with a system you can grow with. Initial cost is minimal as quality 4 line business IP Phones start at $79.95 which is comparable, if not less expensive than business class analog phones.

 

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About Express Interconnect: We are a Portland, Oregon based Small Business VoIP Phone Consultant specializing in implementing quality VoIP PBX system based on Asterisk IP PBX. We can be reached at 503-820-3513 or via email at: support@ExpressInterconnect.com and can help with any questions you might have.

Due to Demand, we have finally branched out into Hosted VoIP Phone Service for Small Businesses.  Our Hosted VoIP Service provides full Asterisk IP PBX functionality in a simple Plug and Play system.

Also, please make sure to visit our on-line store at VoIP Phones Direct for all of your IP Phone needs. We carry Grandstream, Polycom, Snom, Aastra, and Yealink IP Phones with a 14 day money back guarantee and FREE UPS Ground Shipping.

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