Once upon a time there were two independent departments in one office space. Although they operated separately from each other, they sometimes helped each other. In their absence, they picked up each other’s incoming messages in good consultation. Then an IT manager came and devised a new VoIP system. If no one was present in department one, all incoming calls automatically went to department two. The result: War in the tent!
Not fiction, but reality
Yes, it seems like a fairy tale, but unfortunately it is true. Colleagues in both departments were not involved and most conversations ended up in department two because department one has many people working in the field. Department two couldn’t answer many questions about department one and there was simply too little time for all those extra phone calls. The customer had to deal with the well-known ‘from the cupboard to the wall’. While the solution turned out to be simple: Do not transfer from department one to department two, but always transfer automatically to the smartphone of a colleague from department one in the absence of department one. War gone, everyone happy again, including the customers.
Six practical VoIP implementation tips
Such an example is more common than you think. To prevent the IT department from becoming ‘the big bad wolf’, I thought it would be good to share six practical tips about VoIP. Implementing VoIP seems so simple, but there is a lot involved, I know from experience.
Tip 1: Focus on people first, then on the technology
Sit down together. Inventory the needs, take enough time to understand the consequences of changes and map all important work processes. By focusing first on people and their daily challenges at work, you avoid fairy tales as described earlier.
Tip 2: Realize that VoIP is not a “simple product”
VoIP is not an IT product, like a laptop for example, that you unpack and turn on and off and it does or doesn’t work. VoIP is a complex symbiosis of data systems, network and infrastructures, users, devices and above all has a very large human factor.
Tip 3: Understand that telephony is ‘unforgiving’
By this I mean that non-functioning telephony is immediately irritating, for both customer and colleague. An e-mail that arrives a little later is less bad than suddenly not being able to understand each other. Or a connection that suddenly drops during the conversation. It must always work, and it is immediately noticeable when there are problems. If not, you will immediately have a lot of dissatisfied people at your service counter.
Tip 4: Appoint a project leader for VoIP implementations
VoIP implementations require social skills from a project leader who knows the corporate culture well. This project leader must be someone who can, for example, map out the wishes of executive secretariats and reception departments, but also the wishes of the production departments. Someone who is used to asking questions and who can therefore define the desired use and transfer it to IT specialists who have to set up the VoIP system technically.
Tip 5: Make sure your network is in order and the network structure is clear
Network expertise should always be readily available when VoIP is rolled out. From experience I know that more than 80% of the start-up problems with VoIP network are related: Such as firewall blockages or no proper separation between data and telephony traffic. Or too little bandwidth and no good QoS, Quality of Service, of the connections. If you don’t know your network structure or don’t have the expertise to adapt your network, never start a VoIP project! Otherwise, it will take a long time to properly implement VoIP and you will run from one problem to another. But above all, you will lose the trust of end users for good.
Tip 6: Pay attention to the communication policy
We wrote about it before in this blog . At the same time, the implementation of VoIP is a good time to pay attention to corporate communication. Because how do you want customers to experience and assess the contact with your company?
That is, in 90% of cases VoIP is about the users, understanding the work processes and understanding the networks. The actual installation is just the other 10%. With these six tips I hope to have made it clear that good VoIP implementations require a broad, joint approach. I am happy to help with this, supplemented if necessary with our partners from the Cronos Group .