With the cord cutting revolution going at a rapid pace, it’s becoming more and more common to select software solutions over traditional cable connections. One such example of this is the growing usage of VoIP software among small businesses.
Built for flexibility & convenience, these platforms provide a full range of features and functionalities that will help you to facilitate conversations with your clients and teammates. Additionally, these are often cheaper when compared to traditional phone systems, making them great for small and medium-sized businesses.
However, selecting a VoIP phone system for a small office that blends well with your operations can be extremely challenging. To help you out, today we’ll be providing you with in-depth detail about the different features and functionalities of these software solutions as well as we’ll be providing you a rundown of some of the best solutions available on the market.
Effective communication is an essential factor in building powerful connections with your clients and enhancing team collaboration within your workplace. However, controlling and managing conversations on several channels can become taxing mainly for small businesses with limited manpower.
Because of this fact, small businesses need comprehensive tools like VoIP software systems that will help them unify these channels & optimize how messages are received, routed, organized, & archived.
What is VoIP and How Does it Work?
Technically speaking, VoIP turns your voice into the form of data packets that travel over the internet (as opposed to old phone lines). These pertinent packets of data are moved to the person you’re trying to call, and upon reaching them, they’re converted back into the original audible sound.
It’s as simple as signing up with any VoIP service provider, & all the calls that you send or receive from then onwards will be automatically sent over your internet connection. You’ll need VoIP-specific routers and VoIP smartphones to get things running.
VoIP vs. Telephone/Landline
Traditional Landlines have been serving the companies and businesses for quite a long time – way before the invention of hosted VoIP systems. However, their future now seems bleaker than ever.
This follows BT’s announcement in the year 2015 on its idea to phase out the legacy PSTN & ISDN telephone systems. The company said that it’ll cease supply of these communication technologies in 2021 while a complete migration is expected to be completed in the year 2025.
The major reason that BT opted for this move was to cut down on the high cost of running and executing these old-fashioned PSTN & ISDN networks.
What this suggests is that businesses and companies which still rely on these communication technologies need to start preparing for the instant BT ISDN switch off. A good place to start is to upgrade their traditional telephony services to more modern, effective and convenient alternatives like the hosted VoIP tech.
In this section, we are going to explain the differences between VoIP & landline services based on four key aspects – features, technology, cost, & reliability.
Landline phones are quite limited to the most basic phone feature – making standard calls. When using these old telephony services, employees need to be on their designated desks, and this makes them pretty unsuitable for remote workers or any other working environment where remote teams share data and collaborate.
On the other hand, VoIP systems provide unmatched flexibility & a massive range of features and functionalities. Some handy functionalities of VoIP include the automatic call forwarding, voicemail-to-email, auto-attendants and many more features. VoIP systems also provide video calling and conferencing facilities without the requirement of setting up dedicated equipment.
Here are a few more essential tasks you can do with the help of VoIP, but not possible with old landline telephony:
- Sending voicemails directly to the receiver’s email inbox.
- Assigning several DDIs to a single phone line without buying additional lines.
- Plug and Play capabilities because VoIP systems store your data & settings in the cloud. You can go offline, travel wherever you like, and still get the same features when your number is called.
- Creating the latest cloud-based private branch exchange (PBX) system.
- Assigning virtual FAX numbers without the need of a FAX machine.
If you really need a feature-rich service that works on multiple gadgets across multiple locations, then VoIP is the best choice and is the most feasible tech to turn to. It is incredibly versatile and integrates pretty well with a myriad of services, giving you more control over their communication.
While landline systems are likely to continue serving companies and businesses for a few more years, we definitely can’t ignore the fact that most of the telecommunication providers are no longer interested in improving this legacy system.
Digital communication with VoIP phone systems is now becoming the standard way of communication in both the business & consumer environments. Indeed, tech giants are showing a great commitment in enhancing the digital infrastructure. We can only expect to see more and more digital advancements in the hosted VoIP service industry as the technology continues to grow.
There is a great difference in the cost of installing and managing landline and VoIP systems, with the latter being about 40-80% cheaper than the ISDN & PSTN. If you’re to install multiple landlines in a single station, then a PBX, which actually costs thousands of dollars, is needed.
Considering the initial outlay for setting up this latest service, alongside the maintenance costs of this system – VoIP is by far, one of the most economical options. It works pretty well for start-ups or small businesses that need a few lines.
Businesses that take benefit of VoIP products & services find themselves offering better communication options while decreasing their overall operating costs.
What About Emergency Calls?
Be aware that if there is any sort of a power failure you’ll be unable to make calls unless your phone, ATA, router & modem (or router with these built-in features) are all connected to an uninterruptible power supply (called UPS).
So if you are entirely replacing landline services with VoIP, you would probably need to ensure that when any individual is on the premises he has access to a mobile phone. Many VoIP providers explicitly said they don’t support calls to 000.
You will also need a mobile to contact your ISP if any problem happens with your internet connection – although unless the phone is on an unlimited plan, that could get a bit expensive if that ISP keeps you on hold for about half an hour or for more time. Of course, you could make a call without a fixed line altogether – doing all of your business work on a mobile connection.
Reasons Your Small Business Needs VoIP Services
Below are some of the top reasons why you should consider switching to VoIP today.
Save on Calling Costs
VoIP systems use the internet to ease the transfer of all communication data like the human voice. In the case of voice services, it does this by managing your voice into small data packets which are later sent over the IP network. Considering that about all of the IP networks are able to manage huge numbers of data packets at a go, several calls can be made simultaneously with the help of VoIP telephone systems.
This is quite different from the traditional phone systems which simply support calls between the two parties only. What’s more, customers have to pay for each single minute of call time unlike the latest VoIP where all your costs are included in the periodic data charges that the ISP bills your company or business.
Also, VoIP saves businesses the costs of getting a range of communication devices/gadgets and other infrastructure that are synonymous with old telephone systems. For example, small businesses can now install VoIP software in their gadgets and can use them for many basic VoIP functions.
Cut on Bandwidth Usage
Today, some of the VoIP software has voice compression functions to help utilise bandwidth more conveniently. In most conversations that small businesses have with clients, it’s not uncommon to search large parts of them that are made up of silent moments where no individual is talking.
Take a look at this simple example – your user needs some clarifications on a service your company is offering, but you’ve got no immediate answer. Most of the time you spend on hold while seeking for what to say or consult and talk with a colleague is chargeable on old phone lines. This isn’t the case with most latest VoIP software which can now cut your bandwidth usage automatically until the voice is detected.
Overcome Geographical Barriers
Let’s face this fact that old phone lines are one of the most expensive techniques of making international calls. Also, the fact that you may need to memorise numerous regional codes or keys, and you will see why more small businesses are switching to the more flexible and convenient VoIP systems.
VoIP methods place no geographical limitations when doing calls, as long as your new geographical location has access to the internet. This clearly means that you can easily move as your business demands & yet communicate conveniently with your clients regardless of where they live.
Enjoy More Functions
Dedicated VoIP systems provide a major upgrade for the traditional analogue communication systems. Some of the advanced features that these tech tools have is the multi-tasking functionality that helps you to attend to other business functions even while you are still on a call.
Others great features are call reporting and recording, convenience telephony hunt group support, & conference bridge among others.
At Telco Data, we specialize in keeping Austin businesses connected! We will consult with you to help you figure out the best VoIP services for your business’s unique needs. Contact us today to get a cost estimate.
FAQs About VoIP For Small Business
Is VoIP worth it for a small business?
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system is an excellent choice for small businesses. According to a recent research, more than one-third of all businesses are now implementing a VoIP phone system, with the vast majority of those being businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
How do I set up VoIP for my business?
You can set up VoIP by following these steps:
- Select a new phone number, or port your existing phone number.
- Add users to your new phone system.
- Create a simple call flow to route incoming calls.
- Set up users with IP phones or virtual phones.
- Integrate with other apps (optional).
What is the cheapest VoIP service?
Most voice-only VoIP services can start as low as $10/user/month.
Can I setup my own VoIP system?
Yes, this is something you can do on your own, but Telco Data is here to do all the heavy lifting during a VoIP deployment and we typically handle the setup on behalf of our clients.
Why would someone use a VoIP phone?
VoIP phones make communication effortless by allowing you to make phone calls over the internet. With the help of VoIP calls, you can make phone calls basically to anyone in the world with an internet connection. VoIP calls provides you with the facility for conference calls & VoIP meetings too.
How much is VoIP monthly?
VoIP cost can range from voice-only service at $10/user per month to a full contact center at $35/user per month.