Cloud Based Phone Systems – Pros and Cons
Are you considering a cloud based phone system for your business? Before making your choice; educate yourself about these important considerations:
- What is a cloud based phone system?
- The current trends in phone usage
- The advantages of using a VoIP phone service
- The disadvantages of hosted phone service
- Where is business phone service going?
Keep reading to learn about cloud based phone sysytems pros and cons to make the right choice for your business phone service needs.
What is a Cloud Based Phone System?
The technological revolution of the last 20 years has affected almost every aspect of our lives, but has had the greatest impact in the realm of communications. From fixed line phones to Internet-based email and social media – the way business reaches out to the consumer has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last few decades.
The old rotary dial business telephone with its row of meaty, lighted, plastic buttons has evolved into the sleek handsets and digital display of modern handsets.
Cloud based phone service takes the old PBX system to the next level.
Rather than maintaining a complex collection of hardware and copper wire leading back to the phone company, or even maintaining a software based system on a server you own and keep on site – a cloud based phone system (also called an Internet based phone system) uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to route your calls over a broadband connection without the worry or expense of relying on costly hardware or time consuming maintenance.
Businesses will also enjoy a wide range of telephone applications – at a considerable discount compared to standard, analog, PBX systems.
This is the Trend in Phone Usage
Whenever a new technology is introduced there will be early adopters, and people who choose to wait awhile and see whether it works out for others before jumping in with both feet.
Current trends show that when it comes to cutting the phone cord; almost everyone has a pair of scissors close at hand.
According to a 2015 survey, only 20% of US households think having a landline phone is important!
This study also discovered that for the average American, mobile telephone service is almost 3.5 times more important than having fixed line telephone service.
You can see that for the majority of people, the old fashioned home phone is simply:
- Too limiting; because you can’t take it with you
- Too expensive; why pay for both landline and mobile service?
- Inconvenient: your smartphone is always available with its useful apps, your land line isn’t
For anyone still on the fence about considering Internet based business phone service – the boat hasn’t just arrived, but it’s leaving without you.
Cloud Based Phone Systems: Cons
This isn’t to say that cloud based phone systems are the perfect choice for every business and you’re a Luddite if you don’t switch over as soon as possible. No system is perfect – cloud based PBX is no different.
Here are some of the disadvantages to using a cloud based phone system.
Cloud Based Phone Service Disruptions
As stated before; cloud based means Internet based. As long as your broadband connection is stable – you won’t have any worries about call or connection quality.
If your ISP experiences a service stopping disruption, or frequently drops a connection, you will not be happy with the performance of your business phone service.
Of course, this isn’t a problem if you choose a reliable ISP that provides consistent service to your area. The worst case scenario is a widespread blackout that takes out service over a wide area. If this does happen, I assume everyone will have bigger concerns than conducting business over the phone; so service disruptions aren’t a serious disadvantage.
Upfront Costs of Internet Based Phone Service
Upgrading your fixed line or onsite PBX phone system will frequently involve purchasing new equipment. A hosted cloud phone system will require IP phones that connect directly to your routers (which you’ll likely need to upgrade as well).
Fortunately, IP phones and routers are relatively inexpensive at the low end of the spectrum, and the cost savings that your business can realize by making the change to Internet based service will quickly offset any money you spent initially to get up and running.
The Learning Curve of VoIP PBX
Many business owners are resistant to change. They spent however long learning to use the old fashioned business phone system they currently use and don’t want to be bothered learning the ins and outs of VoIP PBX systems.
This isn’t a disadvantage of Internet based phones service, rather a part of human nature. The best approach is simply to take a look at the comparative costs and benefits of both kinds of business phone service and decide if the benefits outweigh the hassle of learning to do things a new way.
Cloud Based Phone Systems: Pros
We’ve looked at the cons of making the switch to an Internet based PBX. What are the advantages to upgrading your business phone setup?
Significant Cost Savings
Businesses that ditch their archaic, copper line based systems can reap enormous savings over what they currently pay every month. The majority of cloud VoIP providers will charge much less per minute than landline phone service.
You can choose from unlimited minutes packages if you own a high-volume call center, or take advantage of pay-as-you-go pricing if your call volume varies widely month to month.
No matter which VoIP service provider you choose, you won’t spend a fortune on buying and maintaining an expensive collection of equipment to get up and running. As I explained earlier – Internet phones and routers are about all you’ll need (and they pay for themselves in savings).
By using cloud based phone service, you’re not tied to your desk anymore. VoIP phone systems let you work from anywhere in the world you can connect to the Internet. Just use a softphone app on your smartphone or fire up your laptop and you’re good to go!
Many service providers provide apps that will let you:
- Extension dial your staff
- See who is on a call
- Find out which employees are online
All from anywhere you happen to be.
The components of a cloud based phone system aren’t all kept at a central location, so disruptions in one center don’t affect your service. This redundancy virtually guarantees an incredible improvement in reliability when compared to keeping your hardware onsite.
Floods, fire, mechanical failure or obsolescence? These things won’t bother you anymore because cloud based service has built in redundancy; if one component fails, another one will pick up the workload without a hiccup.
Current Trends and Cloud Based Phone Systems Pros and Cons
The trends are clear; more individuals and business are choosing to ditch fixed line service for the incredible cost savings, flexibility, and reliability inherent in a non-centralized system connected to the World Wide Web.
Should you risk becoming uncompetitive in the globalized economy because you’re uncomfortable with change? Where do you see your competition going in the near future?
Carefully consider what you’re spending on a PBX system now – and the benefits you’re getting from it. Now compare that with what VoIP business phone service will cost and the massive range of features that you’ll take advantage of.
Take the information you’ve just learned and make the best decision for your business.