Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology can help reduce your business’ communication costs and increase your productivity. However, it may not be the right type of technology for your business.
In the world of VoIP, you may have an office in Toronto, but your business phone number has a Montreal area code. You might be sitting in an internet café and receive an important business call, on your laptop. You may get an urgent email, in your email box, when you’re out on the road.
With VoIP service, you phone calls become a form of data that travels across the internet, in the same way, email does. This type of service can help you greatly reduce your communication costs while increasing your productivity. In addition, there are several useful features and capabilities that VoIP provides that cannot be offered with conventional phone technology.
Although VoIP has increased in popularity, there are still many small businesses that aren’t sure it’s right for them. They worry that is the electricity goes out they’ll lose phone service. They also have concerns about the cost of this technology and how difficult it is to implement. Some people believe the audio quality on a VoIP phone might be substandard.
Truthfully, the benefits of using a VoIP phone in your business outweigh the potential drawbacks. Here are some things you need to know about VoIP so that you can determine whether, or not, it is the best communication technology for your business. In addition, these tips can help you maximize your use of a VoIP service in your small business.
1. Since VoIP was first introduced the quality has improved significantly. To use the first VoIP products both parties had to be at their computers to have a conversation, which was limiting. Also, the sound quality was poor.
Today’s VoIP has evolved so that you can make your calls using a feature-rich IP phone or your standard phone. The sound quality it much better. In fact, many businesses have gotten rid of their conventional phone systems and moved over to a cloud based VoIP system.
Many of these businesses can leverage their data networks to handle calls that originate and terminate in their office. This offers added benefits while reducing costs.
2. You can reduce the telecommunication expenses for your business by using VoIP. Since, VoIP providers have a lower operating cost than a traditional phone company.
VoIP service providers don’t have to deal with maintaining the existing phone infrastructure and expensive industry regulations. Since the VoIP providers have a lower cost, they can charge less than their competition.
In addition, with VoIP, a business does not have to maintain a separate network for phones and data. This combined network usage can significantly reduce costs. The cost associated with employee moves, adds, or changes, which may be as much as $100 each in a conventional system, has practically been eliminated.
If you need to move an IP phone, or a traditional phone on a VoIP adapter, all you need to do is plug it into a different broadband network jack.
3. VoIP phone services allow you to build a flexible phone system that suits your business’ needs. VoIP systems can help you do things that are not possible with conventional phone technology. This gives you a variety of options when it comes to how you use your VoIP phone.
Your VoIP system can go with you. You can use a VoIP system anywhere you happen to be, including a hotel room, or your friend’s house. All you need is access to a broadband connection.
Customers and employees can reach you by calling your regular business phone number. They won’t need to call you on your cell phone so that you can save your cell phone minutes.
You can receive voicemails and faxes in your email inbox. Many VoIP services allow you to automatically forward faxes and email to your regular email address. That means all your messages will be stored in the same location.
This feature allows you to easily forward your voicemails and faxes to others or archives them. You can also have your emails “read” to the systems voicemail.
With all the benefits offered by VoIP, you might be thinking about switching over. Here are some things you should consider that can help you avoid or overcome any hurdles and maximize your VoIP usage.
Overcome The Hurdles
When in Doubt, Hire an Expert. If a business only has a few employees, typically they can set up an off-the-shelf standard VoIP system without many issues. However, a larger VoIP system may require a professional installer to configure it. Speak to your network equipment vendor about their VoIP services designed for small businesses.
Test it Out. You don’t have to switch everyone over at the same time. You can set up a couple of user tests. Have a few employees test out the system. If you’re satisfied with the results and believe the service is a good fit, then you can roll it out to your employees.
Use Call Forwarding. When the power goes down, it’s possible that your entire network may go down too. This means your VoIP service will not work unless you have an alternate power source. For backup, make sure your VoIP system is configured to forward unanswered calls automatically to a cell or landline phone number.
VoIP technology is continually evolving. New features and benefits are added all the time, making these systems more compelling and beneficial to small businesses. For instance, the new PDA/wireless phone combination devices allow you to use the VoIP service using a Wi-Fi network, even when you can’t use your cell phone service.
For a small business that is on the large side, having one IP network for voice and data can have its advantages. For instance, an IP network may support some call center applications, real-time high-quality video conferencing and much more.
Whatever the size of your business, VoIP can offer a flexible and affordable communication system. This technology can provide you with the same communication tools that enterprise-sized companies are able to access.