A growing number of companies have found a way to make their phone calls more affordable. It's called Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a relatively new technology that lets you transmit voice messages and multimedia content over the Internet. Instead of a traditional, or analog, phone system, a broadband Internet connection is used. Your voice turns into a digital signal that is then transmitted to the other party. With calls made to a regular phone number, the signal turns into a regular phone signal while en route to its destination. Here are five ways a VoIP phone system can benefit your business.
We're all used to traditional phone systems and the features they offer, such as call waiting, caller ID, voice mail, and call forwarding. A VoIP system contains these plus a lot more. They include features especially favorable to businesses. You get a gamut of functions you'd expect from a phone system connected to the Internet. Voice messages from your phone, for instance, can easily be converted into email.
In many cases you can expect your VoIP provider to enable your customer relations management (CRM) software to integrate with your voice traffic. This lets you access customer data while on sales and customer service calls. If you have a customer on hold, you can provide them with music that customers enjoy listening to when they're on hold -- instead of traditional elevator music.
Other features include a coaching tool that allows you to listen in on phone conversations between employees and customers. That way you can train and advise your employees while they're on the phone, reducing or preventing snafus that could well be costly. Another noteworthy feature you can find in a VoIP system is one that allows you to converse with someone at the door before letting them in. You can also find in a VoIP system a find me/follow me feature that lets you create a list of phone numbers that will ring in succession before the call is either answered or sent to voicemail. For example, your home phone may ring twice before the call is automatically transferred to your office and then your cell before finding its way into your voicemail.
Through VoIP systems, businesses are able to fully integrate their Internet connection with a variety of existing apps and add-on features like CRM software, project management software, accounting systems, cloud backups, and workforce management/HR apps. One integration involves the caller ID feature, which can for one thing enable you to identify customers calling to place an order. It can immediately show all the required information about the customer: previous orders, contact address, consumer preferences, and other information that would allow you to cross-sell.
Data integration can provide your company with many benefits. For one thing, it can help your company get better quality data. When employees have all data at their fingertips, it becomes easier to make quicker, more informed decisions. They save time looking for information, doing manual research and calling on colleagues. Furthermore, the data comes in real time, ensuring that all employees are on the same wavelength. It allows employees to receive calls offsite through a smartphone or mobile app. Synchronizing data across platforms also means improved employee collaboration and, consequently, happier customers. One study found that 60 percent of people prefer to do their banking with a live human than through the services offered by online banking.
VoIP providers generally don't have to pay the same taxes as conventional phone companies. These older companies have also been notorious for passing the costs of interconnection charges and related fees to their customers. VoIP providers, on the other hand, don't saddle their customers with extraneous charges. Comparing monthly phone bills, one would find fewer charges associated with VoIP than with more established phone companies.
Moreover, VoIP systems use one computer network, bypassing the infrastructure costs typically connected to owning or leasing expensive hardware for individual voice communications systems. You don't have to make any expensive investments. Nor do you have to wait to install wiring. VoIP helps streamline the process by not padding your phone bill with inexplicable charges. Plus, your monthly phone bill already includes most charges that are not passed on to the consumer, thereby decreasing the operational costs connected traditionally to old school phone systems.
Business phones PBX hardware are generally part of the same package when a company orders traditional phone service. They're naturally more costly, however. In fact, the price tag could run anywhere between $500 and $2000 for each user. Even a low-cost system could be expensive since the hardware used to fuel it could cost a lot. Hosted VoIP systems don't require any added expenditures since all they need is an Internet connection.
For on-site PBX systems, expenses tend to snowball. Think maintenance and usage fees, plus taxes. However, VoIP subscription plans normally include those fees. You can get hosted VoIP for a very low cost per month, all fees rolled into one. What's more, employees can take calls anywhere, which helps companies save a lot of money in things like office space and utilities.
VoIP vendors are often flexible in terms of payment schedules. For a hefty upfront fee, larger companies may find it more cost-effective to simply purchase their own VoIP equipment and then install it themselves. That would save them money on hosted service. Companies choosing that route pay both installation and maintenance fees, and are further responsible for any upgrades. Premise-based VoIP systems come with all available features, though not every company will need all of them.
Perhaps the best bet for smaller companies would be a VoIP system that's vendor-hosted for a monthly fee, with an option to add more line extensions over time. The vendor in this instance would provide troubleshooting, maintenance, upgrades and, in many cases, onsite training. Companies can choose any of all available features.
VoIP systems also allow for more flexibility in terms of business growth. As your business grows, your phone system can grow along with it without the need for new wiring and headsets. Business expansion can be a cost-effective affair. VoIP phone systems also allow you to add more devices, users, and features with relative ease.
Portability and Mobility
Provided you have Internet access, you shouldn't have any problems concerning cost or connections, regardless of your location. All you need is your login ID and password, and you can log into the system from anywhere, working out of a portable office. You can even set up shop in a restaurant or coffee shop, a situation ideal for entrepreneurs and those who work remotely. Moreover, your area code is not contingent upon your location, as you can keep the same one regardless of where you work.
Given its malleable structure, a VoIP system would enable you to use a wide gamut of technologies, such as Ethernet, ATM, and SONET. Its flexibility also allows you to use WiFi with a diverse array of media. The complicated bundle of connections you get with a landline phone is absent in a VoIP system. In addition, since Internet Protocol forms the foundation of VoIP, the system can work with a slew of media types, including text, images and video. You may also be able to use VoIP on your cell phone, depending on your provider. Mobile apps are available in such cases for Android and iOS devices, which are able to turn each of these mobile devices into a handset. That way you can access all its features from a mobile device.
For more information on VoIP systems, please contact us.