VoIP For Business
We live in interconnected times. If you want to communicate with friends or family, you have a lot of options. You can send a text, type an email, WhatsApp, and if you are a bit retro, you can even try faxing someone. But it’s still the simple telephone that remains the backbone of communication for many businesses. Phones allow us to make a real human connection with customers and clients and, let’s face it, sometimes a phone call is much faster than other forms of communication. If you’re placing orders, trying to locate a team member, or dealing with a crisis, a phone call gets the job done.
But thanks to the internet, phones have changed a great deal. Many businesses are getting rid of their old landlines and using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which uses the Internet to carry phone signals and data. Through VoIP, the speaker’s voice is converted into digital packages that are then transferred online.
A VoIP handset also looks like any other handset. Take this Polycom for example; it is full featured and looks just like your regular handset.
The difference is that the VoIP handset plugs into your computer network instead of a phone socket. If you don’t have a spare computer network point, you can simply ‘piggy back’ your computer off of your phone!
So what are the advantages of VoIP solutions over traditional phones? Well there are quite a few, from lower costs to greater convenience:
Cheaper phone bills
All SMB owners keep an eye on the bottom line, so if your company makes a large volume of calls, you’ll appreciate how VoIP telephony can reduce your monthly phone bill considerably.
Often, VoIP providers can put together packages that include a certain number of free calls, or lower rates and more upgrades when you sign a longer contract with them. The cost of tech ownership can be lower too, as you are consolidating your company’s voice and data into one network.
VoIP telephony is not just overtaking traditional landlines because they are so much cheaper, they also offer innovative functions that can help your staff communicate more effectively with customers and each other. VoIP can also make it easier for customers to navigate your phone systems. The applications most commonly offered are caller ID, three-way calling, call forwarding and waiting, voicemail, multi-line calls and video conferencing. Some VoIP systems can also be integrated into certain software packages such as your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.
More scalable communications
With VoIP telephony you can integrate your communications with your IT and handle larger numbers of callers than you could with landlines. This enables even smaller businesses to compete with large enterprises. One feature of VoIP that growing companies and startups like, is that they can add features as their businesses grow or takes on new team members. The VoIP interface also makes it easy to add or delete users when you need, without having to call in an IT expert.
SMBs often have a phone number that clients have on record, as well as a number they use to promote themselves locally. So even if you decide to change your phone system, you need to keep your old phone numbers so you don’t lose loyal clients or risk missing out on new customers. All VoIP systems allow you to retain your old numbers, so you don’t have worry about printing new stationery, or paying for new signs and advertisements. Also, these same numbers apply wherever you are in the world – all you need is an Internet connection. For example you could be vacationing in France and your phone calls still come up as your UK caller I.D!
The modern workforce is a mobile one. We’re used to making business calls on the go. VoIP telephony fits in well with this way of working. It allows your team to stay connected to the company wherever they are. There are two ways of achieving this, either use an internet-enabled phone or laptop (and a headset) or use mobile twinning; when you know you’ll be out of the office, simply click mobile twinning and your mobile will ring at the same time your desk phone rings, perfect for sales people or ‘road warriors’.
More efficient problem solving
Traditional phones have always been highly efficient, but when something does go wrong, you could be unreachable for some time. Clunky ‘hang on the wall’ phone systems usually require an on-site visit and costly parts which in turn costs you time and money. But as VoIP phones are web based, hardware problems just don’t exist and if there were problems, they can be fixed remotely so you don’t have to wait for engineers to come and fix them.
There are certainly many benefits for a business using VoIP, but there are also some concerns. Many businesses worry they will lose sound quality, like when making a call on Skype. This concern however, can be avoided with a proper business broadband connection.
VoIP telephony only requires a small amount of your broadband speed, but it can be affected if users are streaming video. This again can be overcome by using a business broadband package or if you have more than 5 telephone users it’s recommended to have a dedicated broadband connection.
Lastly there are concerns that if the broadband fails, you lose calls. The most common way to avoid this is to have a failover broadband connection. This can be a standard broadband connection or even a 4G connection that uses the mobile network.
Would you like to know more about VoIP and how it can help your company? Talk to our experts at 01273 806211 and we can set-up a FREE VoIP system demo. We can answer any questions you may have surrounding VoIP and if it’s a fit for your business!