Across the country, small to medium-sized businesses are participating in collective belt-tightening. The global downturn is reaching our shores, with some news outlets predicting a recession in 2023. While some companies are looking to cut travel costs and make other cost savings, could there be a more straightforward win that actually improves the way you do business? VOIP for businesses offers just that. It’s a service that can reduce your overheads and improve the quality of your internal and external communications.
But what is a VOIP, and what are the benefits of this upgrade? Let’s explore the answers to these questions in our in-depth guide.
What Is a VOIP?
VOIP technology allows you to make calls over the Internet instead of a traditional analog telephone line. It stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and converts voice signals into digital signals. The result is a line that is just as responsive as a regular phone connection but has many extra advantages.
VOIP is so successful that it’s in danger of making analog phone systems obsolete. This technology is crucial to the post-pandemic, hybrid working environments that are fast becoming the norm. The only caveat is that it relies on a stable broadband Internet connection to deliver quality calls.
VOIP Is Cheaper
A VOIP phone system is cheaper than a traditional phone service. It achieves this by reducing costs in two ways—hardware and calls.
A traditional analog phone system requires a PBX box as well as phones. The PBX or private branch exchange allows extensions within an office to connect to each other. In the past, this was the standard small business phone system.
First, there’s an upfront cost for the PBX box, which can be pretty significant as you may have to pay hundreds of dollars for each extension. Then, there are other hardware costs, including hubs, switches, and adapters.
With a PBX, there are ongoing maintenance costs to consider. The business typically pays these charges rather than the phone company.
With a VOIP system, there’s no need for a PBX. Plus, your employees are no longer tied to a desk phone- but more on that later.
Only One Network to Maintain
With a traditional office setup, you must maintain telephone and data networks. One of the most significant VOIP benefits is being able to scrap your telephone network. By migrating everything onto your data network, you reduce maintenance costs overnight.
In the past, businesses had to negotiate hard to get affordable rates for business calls. However, with a VOIP small business phone system, calls costs are essentially free. This is because they use your broadband internet connection, and there are no call charges.
This applies whether you’re calling locally or internationally within your organization. There may be a charge if you call a landline or cell phone. One report noted that, on average, businesses could save the following amounts on call costs:
- 90% savings on international calls
- 40% savings on local calls
- 30% savings on phone bills
- 75% savings on operational costs
These are savings few small businesses can afford to ignore. Discussing your current setup and goals with a professional technology solutions company is a great start. They will be able to provide a detailed breakdown of cost savings you could enjoy with a VOIP phone system.
Excellent Call Quality
As we all know, call quality over analog telephone connections can be patchy. But as long as you have a good internet connection and sufficient bandwidth, you will enjoy high-quality calls with VOIP.
Another benefit is that rather than using desk phones, you can make calls using a headset. This makes it easier for employees to hear the calls as they can easily adjust the volume. It also provides a better experience for your customers.
Plus, your team members can use both hands for data entry and other tasks while talking to your customers.
Easy to Use
Traditional phone systems were prone to outages and were often not quick – or cheap – to fix. This can lead to immense frustration for your workers and customers alike. But VOIP technology is much more user-friendly.
With cloud hosting, it’s easy for technicians to work on any issues remotely. Choose a company that provides 24/7 technical support so they can address any issues promptly. The problems that arise are often related to the quality of your Internet connection.
Integration With Other Services
VOIP is a tried and tested technology that is here to stay. Integrating it with your existing PBX system may even be possible, resulting in a seamless transfer for your team with no need for training. Alternatively, you may migrate your entire phone system to VOIP and benefit from additional services.
For example, VOIP can form part of a UCaaS system. This stands for Unified Communications as a Service. It consolidates all business communications into a single platform.
Along with voice calls, UCaaS can:
- Business SMS messaging
- Video conferencing
- Online faxing
- Social media messaging
UCaaS doesn’t mean changing all your systems. Instead, it can often be integrated with existing platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, providing continuity for your employees.
Traditional telephone systems relied on desk phones; if you weren’t there, you missed the call. Although you can use desk phones with a VOIP system, you can also use softphones. A softphone app lets you make calls through a desktop or laptop computer or a cell phone instead of a traditional dial pad.
This means that your employees need never miss a business call again. Whether they’re in another part of the office, working from home, or on a business trip, they can make and pick up calls as though they were sitting at their desk. The only requirement is a reliable high-speed internet connection.
For most people, using VOIP on their smartphones means they almost always have good access to a 4G or 5G signal. The only thing to be aware of is that you may need to verbally identify your location if you call 911 over a VOIP connection.
With a traditional PBX phone system, every additional connection cost extra and was difficult to add. Conversely, a VOIP phone system is easily scalable as your business grows.
If you have a new hire, adding a line is easy. If you’re downsizing, you can cut out unneeded lines with minimal fuss.
Secure and Constantly Updated
Data security is a massive concern for businesses of all sizes. For example, one report found that the average data breach cost of a data breach for companies with fewer than 500 employees was $2.98 million. Given this statistic, it’s understandable that business owners may have concerns about migrating to cloud-based communication systems.
You’ll benefit from various security features if you choose a VOIP phone system from a reputable supplier. This may include the following:
- End-to-end encryption
- Spam call blocking
- Two-factor authentification
Your provider can constantly update VOIP software with minimal downtime. This ensures that you always benefit from the highest standard of security.
Additionally, it pays to work with a technology company that offers cybersecurity solutions. As your business grows, it can provide the cybersecurity you need to keep company and customer data private.
Advanced Call Features
There’s no need to worry about losing functionality if you switch to a VOIP phone system. On the contrary, VOIP technology has moved forward in recent years, giving you access to a wide range of services. And the bonus is that they are more cost-effective and easier to install than they are on traditional telephone systems.
Call forwarding is crucial for small businesses with a reception function or multiple departments. It allows calls to be easily transferred to a desk or cell phone, ensuring streamlined communication between your employees and clients. You can also set up customized call-forwarding schedules, perfect for vacations or office closure periods.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
As your business expands, IVR can help you manage increasing call volumes and route calls more efficiently. You can choose from a keypad or speech recognition input system. You can tailor the responses according to your company’s requirements.
Call recording technology can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to improve their customer experience. For example, this technology can help with the following:
- Customer service – harness good examples by using excellent examples from your own team in internal training
- Troubleshoot issues—if you get feedback that your agent was hard to hear, listen to the call and pinpoint the issue
- Follow up accurately—have you ever taken a call on the fly and can’t remember what you agreed to do? Call recording lets you go back and make notes in your own time, giving the client what they want.
- Follow up on cocomplaints—eliminate “I said/they said” debates by playing back call recordings and using them for staff training and disciplinary action, if necessary.
When your business grows to have multiple customers waiting to speak to your agents simultaneously, you need a VOIP phone system with call queuing capabilities. They may not be our customers’ favorite things, but they let them know where they are and can even give an estimated wait time. In addition, they can help keep customers engaged so your business doesn’t lose out.
Facilitate Hybrid Working
A 2022 study by McKinsey found that 58% of Americans now have the opportunity to work from home one day a week or more. So if your business is looking to expand its remote or hybrid working solutions options, VOIP is a must.
VOIP makes hybrid work a dream, with access to your business landline wherever you are. Download an app to your cell phone, and you’ll be connected all day. Your customers or clients can reach you directly as though you were in the office.
A VOIP phone system also lets you keep your cell phone number private. So anyone who needs to contact you can use your regular business line. You can also transfer calls on your smartphone with simple controls.
Connect Your Entire Team
If you have team members in the office and at home, they can connect via conference calling on your VOIP system. If you choose a UCaaS platform, your team can hold virtual meetings via Microsoft Teams and other applications, keeping everyone on the same page wherever they are.
If you have colleagues on the road or even on overseas trips, there’s no need to lose your connection with them. They can communicate as usual as long as they have a reliable Internet connection.
Hybrid working has the potential to help businesses reduce costs while offering their employees a better work/life balance. Happy workers are generally more productive, which benefits your bottom line. It may even allow you to reduce your office costs by reducing your footprint or moving to coworking spaces.
Choose Cherry Networks for VOIP for Businesses
VOIP for businesses is the solution every SMB needs to reduce costs and prepare for the future. Give your employees the flexibility to work from anywhere while remaining seamlessly connected to the rest of your team and your clients. In addition, your customers will love the clarity of the lines and the advanced features that VOIP makes possible.
At Cherry Networks, we have over 30 years of experience in exceeding our customers’ expectations. We’re committed to finding the best professional technology solutions for your business. We partner with best-in-class technology providers to make this happen.
Ready to learn more about our VOIP solutions? Schedule a call with us today!