Has Your Business Explored VoIP Yet?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a revolutionary phone service that can help you transform your business if you have been relying on traditional landline service in the past. VoIP uses the Internet to transmit phone signals instead of traditional copper wire networks, saving phone companies a tremendous amount of money that would normally be invested in maintaining phone network infrastructure. You can obtain VoIP phone service as an alternative for your organization’s business communications system and for your own virtual call center or contact center communications. VoIP reduces costs, provides a range of great communications services and also helps you get more accomplished. If you have not explored VoIP yet for your business, you may be surprised what it can do to help your organization.

In this article, we will introduce the basics of VoIP and how it can help. We will also guide you briefly on how to use VoIP communications to grow your business, present a more professional image for a small business and how to get the most from your phone system.

By the end of this post, you should have a basic understanding of how to use VoIP and what it can do for your organization.

Article Contents:

1. What VoIP Is and How to Use It

2. Why VoIP Is Now An Industry Standard

3. Getting a VoIP System Started

4. Additional Considerations and Ideas

5. Questions To Ask Yourself and Possible Vendors

Although VoIP is not a completely new technology, many businesses are just beginning to scale using the power of VoIP–we hope to provide you with enough information to get your own new phone system going.

1. What VoIP Is and How to Use It

Using the Internet to send a variety of different types of phone communications, VoIP lets you text, call and chat with business associates, customers, prospects and the public. Anyone with a VoIP, cell or landline connection can be reached with a VoIP account. This technology renders other forms of phone communications obsolete. It is fast, inexpensive and effective. It is also a major source of disruption in the telecommunications industry as more and more customers turn to VoIP for cost-effective and high-quality communications. It offers a real wealth of features that cannot be found elsewhere. No matter how big or small your business is, you can find a great VoIP vendor that offers fantastic features and benefits for your organization.

2. Why VoIP Is Now An Industry Standard

VoIP originated early on–as the Internet was born, actually. While the very first VoIP call was placed in the 1970s, it did not immediately catch on because calls were initially low-quality. Wide-scale adoption of this technology did not happen until the 1990s when cost became a more important factor and technology improved enough to boost the quality of calls. Individuals and businesses began adopting it and using VoIP to reduce the costs associated with high-call-volume business operations such as call centers. At that point, VoIP actually began facilitating a massive shift to outsourcing in call centers, since businesses could now use telecommunications that were much cheaper, higher quality and independent of geographical location. Calls could be placed from anywhere in the world and appear to be local. Phone systems could be established for a single company and field calls to many different locations. All of this began to raise VoIP’s profile and make it more attractive to industry.

Today, VoIP systems are inexpensive and feature-packed. Small businesses and other smaller organizations are able to afford communications systems that rival the features and flexibility of what large enterprises have. This makes it incredibly easier to scale organizations, since you can readily upgrade to different features and service levels without sacrificing the need for lower costs. These factors have driven VoIP to become an industry standard for many large and small businesses. Larger businesses can take advantage of changing rates, differences in service costs among different vendors, and improved technology and features. Small businesses can leverage features and technology previously unavailable to them due to cost.

3. Getting a VOIP System Started

To get your own VoIP system implemented, you can begin by deciding how you will use your business phone system and by figuring out which features you need. You will need to identify a list of vendors to compare and choose one that is best for your business, including the size of business you have. Smaller businesses may benefit more from vendors that cater to small organizations and offer services to small numbers of users, but if your business has more than a hundred users, then it may make more sense for you to get a vendor that specializes in large enterprises.

Once you have some vendors picked out, then you can start choosing the vendor you need. Go through your list and find several vendors to compare. Pick a few choices you can use to help you find the right one for your organization. Even if you are shopping for a budget vendor, try to entertain fully-featured plans; many of them have a lot to offer you and your organization might be able to use them as you grow.

4. Additional Considerations and Ideas

You should consider setting up a system that closely matches what others in your industry use. From there, you could customize the plan or add services as your budget allows. A large enterprise probably has different phone needs from small businesses, for instance. A small law practice may not need a physical private branch exchange (PBX) box, but a big conglomerate with a large call volume might need one, for instance. Your vendor can help you decide on the right combination for your organization.

5. Questions to Ask Yourself and Possible Vendors

If you are starting your shopping process, writing down questions to ask yourself and any vendors you look at can help you compare plans and find the best possible options for your company. Use these questions to get started:

  1. What is my budget? How much does the feature list I need typically cost?
  2. What other features may I need later if my business changes or grows?
  3. How many users will be on the system?
  4. Can I add more users later?
  5. What features have a minimum or maximum number of users?
  6. How do I set up the system for a remote working environment, multiple offices, etc?
  7. What is the biggest priority I have: price, quality, or features?
  8. Do I have the Internet bandwidth to support that service?
  9. What is the most significant consideration for my organization?
  10. Do I need technical support onsite, offsite or only occasionally? Does the vendor offer this support?
  11. What training is needed? Can I get training for employees at my company, too? Is the system straightforward enough that I can teach myself? Are there tutorials and guides?

Start making a list of your own questions. Think about your budget, current phone needs and any future needs you anticipate. Find out if there are other factors you have to think about that are specific to your industry, region or the size of your company. Do not forget to ask all the questions you can and try to learn as much as possible.

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