How to Decide if Your Business Needs a Fax Machine
A fax machine? Doesn’t that belong in a museum? With the advances of email, cloud-based document sharing and eSignature systems, you’d think that fax would be obsolete and lacking a place in today’s business world. But before you toss out that fax machine, consider these eight reasons why fax may still have a place in your business:
Specific Customer Demographics
Many businesses are now getting contracts and documents signed via eSignature systems. However, you can’t impose this process on your customers if they prefer to sign and fax over a paper copy. This is particularly applicable if you service customers of an older generation who are accustomed to using fax, located in areas where internet speed is slow or living in countries where fax via the telephone network is more reliable than documents sent via the Internet.
Privacy and Security Concerns
With the increasing concerns of emails and websites being hacked, businesses that handle sensitive information (e.g., finance and healthcare) and therefore value confidentiality and security, find fax to be a more reliable way of communicating private information as it is close to impossible to intercept fax transmission and documents cannot be manipulated.
Companies that have been hacked and have leaked customers’ sensitive information not only lose their customers’ trust but can also face lawsuits and have to pay out a sizable sum of money to those affected.
If you work with law firms or government agencies, chances are they still rely heavily on physical documents. This means fax machines are still the best way to handle documents that require signatures — faxing them is often more convenient than having to print, sign, scan and then email both ways.
In some industries (e.g., banking, real estate, legal communications and medicine), and in certain countries, signed documents sent via fax are considered originals and are needed for transactions in which a written signature is required by law.
If you communicate with your vendors, partners or clients via hand-written notes or hand sketches, it may still be faster and more convenient to simply pop the pieces of paper into the fax machine, push a button and have the message transmitted than having to write/sketch, scan and email.
Confirmation of Receipt
When you send a fax, you can choose to receive a confirmation page to ensure that the message did get through completely and give you a record that the document has been received.
In many cases, the good old telephone network is more reliable than internet access which involves more “moving parts” — e.g., cable network, electricity, various servers. If your business deals with time-sensitive information, you may want to have a backup communication method in case there’s an interruption in your internet service or a loss of electricity.
Stand Out From the Crowd
If you’re in a competitive industry in which everyone is reaching out to their prospects electronically, your email could be ignored and deleted without anyone giving it a single thought. Same goes for press releases — in fact, some PR professionals believe that in the age of email, faxes stand out.
With fax, you can put a “hard copy” of your content in the hands of your prospects without having to pay for postage.
Many VoIP providers now include faxing service as part of their packages so you don’t have to worry about setting up a separate line.