No matter how much of your business is conducted online, customers still rely on the telephone more than you’d probably like – over a third (37%) default to the phone when they have a query. That said, 66% of customers have spent more with businesses who deliver great service, so investment in a decent phone system will eventually pay for itself.
But before you rush out and buy a traditional phone system, you need to know about VoIP.
What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol, VoIP, converts voice calls into digital signals that are then transmitted securely over a standard Internet connection, cutting out the traditional phone network. It sounds complicated, but if you’ve ever used Skype, Google Hangouts or Apple’s FaceTime, you’ve already used a variant of VoIP calling.
But why should you choose VoIP over a traditional phone system?
1. VoIP is low-cost
Virtually every aspect of VoIP will help you save cash, without compromising on call quality. Bypassing the traditional phone network means that your business is not charged fees for routing calls, helping to dramatically reduce the cost.
VoIP calls are routed via an online exchange hosted in the Cloud, doing away with the need to install a costly switchboard unit (also known as a PBX) in your office. Again, you cut out the capital spend required to purchase the switchboard and the associated running costs (support, maintenance, electricity etc).
Using standard broadband connections, capacity can be added to your system quickly and easily, and at far lower cost compared to traditional ISDN-based (an older, more expensive phone line technology) alternatives.
2. VoIP to VoIP calls are free
As you would expect, calling internal extensions on a VoIP system is completely free. The genius of VoIP however is that the phone handsets can be located anywhere in the world, allowing you to build a distributed workforce, constantly in contact by phone, but never paying for calls – even internationally.
The same goes for calling clients or suppliers who use VoIP telephony – calls to them are also completely free.
3. Take-anywhere phone numbers
VoIP systems are not reliant on the traditional desktop handset either. Most can be accessed from apps on your computer or smartphone, allowing you to make and receive phone calls from anywhere in the world at significantly lower cost than using a mobile – all you need is a decent WiFi/broadband/3G connection.
With a take-anywhere number, your employees can be called when out on site, simply by dialling their extension number. They can also easily join conference calls or similar at no extra cost. It’s like your phone system is available any time, any place, any where.
4. Localised calling
In certain circumstances it may be desirable to maintain a range of geographic numbers to indicate close proximity to customers. In this way, customers in Manchester can call a Manchester number, before being routed seamlessly to your office in Birmingham.
This helps your customers keep their calling costs down, and provides some psychological reassurance that your business is nearby, ready and able to help.
5. Simplified management
An on site switchboard can be confusing and time consuming to manage. Overseeing office moves and re-routing extensions are the stuff of nightmares, dragging you away from other, vital tasks.
The Cloud management system used with VoIP systems on the other hand is incredibly simple to use; assigning extensions takes mere minutes, and the phone number travels with the app or handset, so you never have to switch configuration when your employees switch desks.
And in the unlikely event you run into a problem with the web-based console, your VoIP provider is on hand to help.
6. VoIP is future-proof
Perhaps most importantly of all, VoIP is future proof – the technology needs nothing more than a reliable, fast broadband connection because all of the clever routing functions are carried out in the Cloud.
A traditional phone system uses ISDN lines to provide connectivity which are both expensive and outdated. The PBX used to route calls will also require routine maintenance and eventual upgrade or replacement to cope with the needs of your growing company.
Cloud VoIP solutions scale almost infinitely, so company growth will never be limited by the phone system.
Take your phones into the Cloud
When it comes to balancing cost, functionality, and the future telephony needs of your business, traditional systems cannot even come close to VoIP. To discover exactly how much your business could benefit from VoIP telephony, please get in contact and we’ll happily discuss your options.