You receive an important business call – on your laptop – while you are sitting in an internet cafe. You get an urgent voice mail while you are out on the road – in your e-mail inbox. Your office is located in Montreal but your business phone number uses a Toronto area code.
This is the world of VoIP. When you have VoIP service, your telephone calls travel across the internet in the form of data, the way that e-mail does. This kind of service can lower your business communication expenses significantly and increase your productivity at the same time. Other useful capabilities and features are also provides that cannot be offered by conventional phone technology.
Although VoIP is gaining popularity very quickly, there are still some small businesses that are sitting on the sidelines. They are worried that if the electricity goes out their phone service might be interrupted, that the technology is to expensive or difficult to implement or that the audio quality of VoIP is substandard.
In truth, the benefits of VoIP greatly outweigh whatever potential drawbacks it might have. The following are things you need to know about VoIP in order to determine whether it is best for your business or not – in addition to tips for maximizing the use of your VoIP service.
1. Since first being introduced, VoIP service has made tremendous improvements in quality. With the first VoIP products both individuals in a conversation needed to be at their computers. This was quite limiting, and also the sound quality tended to be poor. The VoIP service of today has evolved and you can now make and receive calls through using a standard phone, or a feature-rich IP phone, which is even better. Sound quality has also greatly improved. As a matter of fact, numerous businesses have gotten rid of their traditional phone systems and switched over to VoIP. A lot of those business can leverage their data networks in order to carry phone calls that originate and terminate in their offices with added benefits and savings.
2. You can significantly reduce your telecommunication expenses by using VoIP. VoIP service providers have much lower operating costs than traditional phone companies do, which have to deal with existing phone infrastructure which is difficult to maintain along with expensive industry regulations. VoIP providers have lower expenses and are able to charge a lot less than their competitors can.
Also with VoIP, businesses don’t need to maintain separate networks any longer for data and phones – which also saves a significant amount of money. Costs that are associated with employee changes, adds and moves – which may cost $100 and more each time – are also practically eliminated. To move an IP phone (or a traditional phone that has a VoIP adapter) all you need to do is plug it into another broadband network jack.
3. VoIP service allows you to have a very flexible phone system. VoIP systems let you do things that aren’t possible to do with traditional phone technology. For instance, you are able to:
Move your phone system right along with you. You are able to use your VoIP system anyplace you happen to be, like a friend’s house or a hotel room, as long as you can access a broadband connection. Employees and customers are able to stay in touch through calling using your regular business number – it isn’t necessary to call you on your cell phone, so you can save your cell phone minutes.
Receive faxes and voice mail with your e-mail. Numerous VoIP services let you automatically forward faxes and voice mail into your regular e-mail inbox. So all of your messages can be stored in the same place, and you can easily archive or forward your faxes and voice mails to others. You can also have your emails “read” to voice mail.
Given all of the many benefits that VoIP offers, if you are thinking about switching over to VoIP service, the following tips can help you overcome or avoid any possible hurdles and maximize the use of your VoIP system:
Hire an expert, when in doubt. A business that only has a few employees can just implement an off-the-shelf VoIP system without too many problems. However, with a larger VoIP system, it might work best if experts installed and configured it. Speak with a network equipment vendor regarding VoIP services that have been designed to meet small business needs.
Try it out. Instead of having everyone switch over at the same time, have a couple of users test out a VoIP service first. After you are satisfied that the service is a good fit, then it can be rolled out to all of your employees.
Use call forwarding. When the power goes, it is possible that your computer network could go down, which takes your VoIP service down also (unless you happen to have an alternative power source you can use). For backup purposes, have your VoIP service configured so that it forwards unanswered calls automatically to a landline or cell phone number.
One thing is for certain: VoIP technology is continuing to evolve, with new benefits that are beneficial and compelling being developed all the time to help small businesses. For instance, new wireless phone/PDA combination devices let you use your VoIP service anytime you are close to a Wi-Fi network and when you aren’t you can use your cell phone service.
For small businesses that are somewhat larger, having one IP network for both data and voice can offer other advantages as well. For instance, an IP network may also support call center applications, affordable, high-quality, real-time videoconferencing and much more.
Whatever size your business happens to be, VoIP is an affordable and flexible technology that provides you with the same sophisticated communication tools that enterprise-sized companies have access to.
Speak to one of your sales consultant to find out how much our VoIP based systems can save you in telecom costs.