Why Your Business Should Switch to VoIP
What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is technology that lets you make and receive phone calls over the Internet. It works by sending and receiving voice signals as pieces of digital information called packets through a broadband Internet connection the same way that email, text, images, and videos are sent and received.
VoIP calls can be made and received using either a hard phone or soft phone. A hard phone is like the one you use for a traditional landline phone with a handset and a cradle. It’s connected to the Internet through a router or access point, and it’s always ready to make and receive calls. A soft phone is a software program you can install on your computer. Using audio hardware like a headset or speakers and a microphone, you can make and receive calls from your computer using a soft phone application. Your computer must be on and connected to the Internet for the soft phone to work.
History of VoIP
VoIP was introduced in the mid-90s when email was becoming popular and people wanted new ways to communicate electronically. Early VoIP phone service was low quality with distorted audio, lag, and dropped calls. However, modern VoIP technology combined with high-speed broadband Internet connections provides high quality calls that many users say is even better than traditional phone service. Today, VoIP is more popular than ever. Frost & Sullivan estimates that over 20 million VoIP phones are shipped each year, and that number will continue to grow over the next 10 years.
Benefits of VoIP
Switching your business from traditional landline phone service to VoIP can help you reduce costs, increase productivity, secure sensitive information, and make your work day go smoother. Here are just a few of the many benefits of VoIP.
Traditional phone companies have to deal with the existing cables, which are expensive to maintain. They’re also expected to follow industry regulations. These costs can add up, leading to high expenses for the phone company and higher phone bills for you. Because VoIP service uses the Internet, the expenses are much lower, so customers save money. While traditional phone service charges high fees for long distance calls, VoIP long distance charges are much lower. On average, businesses who switch from traditional phone service to VoIP save about 30 percent on local calls and 75 percent on long distance.
Additionally, traditional phone companies often charge extra fees for features like call waiting, voicemail, and caller ID. With VoIP, these features and many more come standard at a low monthly rate. You can customize your plan and choose the features you need, so you’re not paying extra for anything you don’t use. You can also bundle your VoIP phone and Internet service through the same company and save even more.
Old fashioned phone cables often have problems, and they can be costly to install and repair. With VoIP service, installation is simple. All you have to do is set up your VoIP account and plug your phone into your router or access point. You can even convert a traditional phone to a VoIP phone using an adapter. Also, you don’t have to worry about repairing any faulty cables. VoIP companies handle the installation and manage your phone system, so you save time and money.
With VoIP, you can use your phone anywhere there’s an Internet connection. All you have to do is plug it in. That means that you can still take important calls at home or on vacation. You can even install an app on your smartphone and make and receive calls on the go. Your phone will still use the same number, so your customers can always reach you. If you bring your laptop to a meeting or a coffee shop on your lunch break, you can use your soft phone application to make or receive calls.
You can also set up call forwarding on your VoIP phone in multiple ways. You can have calls to one number ring on more than one phone so that whoever is available can answer it. Or you can have a call ring through a list of phones one at a time. If no one is available to answer, the call can be forwarded to voicemail. This voicemail can then be automatically sent to your email inbox as an audio file, which you can save or send to someone else. You won’t have to worry about calling into the office every few minutes to check your voicemail while you’re out of the office.
VoIP can help save your customers money too. If you have customers who live in other parts of the country, you can create virtual phone numbers with their area codes. You don’t have to stick with area codes from your location. You can create a virtual phone number for each location, so your customers won’t be charged long distance fees when they call you.
VoIP phone systems are easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to manage. You can login to your VoIP company’s online dashboard to see your phone usage, statistics, and account information. You can easily change or upgrade your account with just a few clicks.
Moving is also easy with VoIP phones. When you’re ready to relocate or move to a bigger office, all you have to do is plug your phone into your router or access point at your new location. Your phone number will move with you.
VoIP phone service can help your business be more productive. A study by Sage Research found that businesses who switch to VoIP increase their productivity by an average of 3.9 hours per week per employee. Features like call forwarding, soft phones, and smartphone apps save on hold time because anyone can answer calls from anywhere. Other features like video calls and conference calls make it easy to hold company meetings, no matter where you are.
With virtual phone numbers and soft phone applications, you can hire remote workers from anywhere in the world. All they need is a computer with Internet access, a headset, and a webcam for video calls. This opens up your hiring process to a whole new pool of qualified candidates. It can also help save on office space and equipment.
Many VoIP services offer the option to integrate your VoIP phone with your CRM (content relationship management) software. When you receive an email with a phone number, you can click it to automatically call it using your soft phone. When a customer calls, their account can automatically open on your screen, saving you time searching.
Traditional PBX (private branch exchange) phone systems require the installation of expensive hardware and technicians to install it and fix it whenever problems arise. With VoIP service, you’ll have a cloud-based PBX system, meaning it’s all stored on the Internet. Your system can be managed remotely either by the VoIP company or you, so you save on hardware and installation fees. To manage your PBX system, just login to your VoIP account dashboard. VoIP companies include support with their service, so you don’t have to worry about paying a technician to come out and make repairs. When something goes wrong, support is just a phone call or email away.
VoIP helps protect sensitive calls and confidential information. Because VoIP calls are sent as digital data over the Internet, they can be encrypted using a virtual private network, or VPN. This protects your confidential information from eavesdroppers or hackers.
A VoIP system can also use something called a proxy server to keep unauthorized users from accessing it. Before a call is connected, the proxy server will confirm their identity. If the user is not authorized, the call will be disconnected or re-routed.
Comparison Chart: VoIP vs. Traditional Landline Phones
|Cost||· Extra fees for long distance and extra features
· High expenses of maintaining cables and meeting regulations
|· Save 30% on local and 75% on long distance
· Many features come standard
· Low expenses through the Internet
|Quality||· Can be poor quality depending on the area and weather||· High quality over broadband Internet|
|Flexibility||· Must be plugged into a live phone jack and manually forwarded or transferred
· Must use an area code from your location
|· Works anywhere there’s an Internet connection
· Calls can be automatically forwarded to your cellphone or co-worker or ring multiple phones at once
· You can send and receive calls on your computer or smartphone app
· You can create virtual phone numbers with area codes from other locations
· You can hire remote workers from anywhere in the world
|Simplicity||· PBX system requires expensive hardware and must be managed onsite by a technician
· Complicated and costly to move or change
|· Easy and inexpensive to install
· PBX system is managed remotely and can be easily changed or upgraded
· Moving only requires plugging the phone into a router or access point
|Productivity||· Customers must be placed on hold while calls are forwarded or transferred
· You can’t take calls when you’re not in the office
· Checking your voicemail requires calling into the phone system
|· Call forwarding ensures low hold times for customers by ringing multiple phones
· Calls can be forwarded to your cellphone or computer when you’re out of the office
· Voicemail can be sent to your email inbox
|Security||· Anyone can use the phone service or pick up the phone and eavesdrop||· Calls are encrypted via a VPN and protected by a proxy server to keep out unauthorized users, hackers, and eavesdroppers|
Why Should Your Business Switch to VoIP?
VoIP is the future of phone service. It uses the Internet to provide high quality service at a much lower cost than traditional landline phones. It can help simplify your work day and increase productivity.
It’s easy to get started. Contact a VoIP company to learn more and set up your VoIP system in no time.