If you own a business, you’ve heard of VoIP and if you’ve heard of VoIP, you’ve wondered if it’s right for your business. If you don’t have time to read the remaining article, here is the short version. Yes, if your business has a phone, your business needs VoIP.
Now, for the details…
What the heck is VoIP anyway?
Simply put, VoIP is the ability to transmit voice over a data network without relying on the circuits switched by PBX (Private Branch Exchange) equipment and public switched telephone network (PSTN).
So, Why Should I Switch to VoIP?
VoIP offers countless benefits, especially for small businesses. Let’s talk about the top three of these.
1. Increased Productivity
Traditional wired phone circuitry can’t measure up to IP networks when it comes to agility. This added efficiency offers more productivity in many ways:
• Integrated/Unified Communication
VoIP technology integrates with several business applications including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, email, voicemail, fax etc.
Just the CRM integration alone can increase productivity across sales and support functions. When a consumer calls, the service representative has all the necessary details at his fingertips. Knowing your consumer helps the support department easily solve their issues while the sales department can efficiently target a pitch.
With the conventional PBX telephone systems, most advanced features were either unavailable or a luxury. You simply missed or paid big bucks to enjoy videoconferencing, custom auto-attendant, three-way conferencing, advanced call forwarding and electronic messaging, and advanced call distribution.
When it comes to VoIP, all these features (and many more) are part of your basic package.
2. Mobility & Scalability
Take your business anywhere, as VoIP allows you to make calls from software on your laptop, desk phone, and VoIP enabled mobile devices.
For small businesses, VoIP – especially hosted service – can be immediately customized to their particular needs. You can change system options without relying on IT support, set call-routing preferences, install or remove phones, and even add new functionalities. And all that takes minutes usually, even for the non-techie types.
3. Lower Total Cost of Ownership
That’s probably the biggest and deciding reason: VoIP can save up to 70% in terms of monthly telecom bills. Major factors in the cost savings are:
• Lower startup costs
To setup VoIP services, it does cost a few hundred dollars. This cost, however, is far less than the cost of initial investment in traditional telephone circuitry.
Choose a hosted plan, and all you initially have to pay is the price of IP phones and a voice gateway connected to your router.
• Lower maintenance costs
High maintenance cost was the main reason PBX systems were reserved for big businesses, while small business could only dream of it. On top of that, expensive IT support was also mandatory.
The rationalized communication infrastructure of VoIP significantly reduces maintenance costs. If you purchase a VoIP plan, the service provider takes care of the hardware off-premises as well as on-premises. That’s priceless.
• Lower monthly phone bills
Finally, VoIP providers not only offer their services at a fraction of price of phone companies, but also allow small businesses to purchase ONLY the features they need.
• If your power is out or internet is down, so are your VoIP telephone lines. To avoid a halt in communication, get a backup landline.
In one line: VoIP is the future of business telephony!
Considering the growing popularity of VoIP technology, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if we see the traditional phones in the museums with the dinosaur fossils in near future. In the early days of VoIP, people criticized it for poor quality sound and frequently dropped calls. Over the past few years, however, the internet bandwidth has increased tremendously and there’s virtually no difference between the quality of a traditional phone or a VoIP phone. Not to mention, the technology will only get better with time. What are you waiting for?