By Jim Gustke
Today, many contractors have switched to Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems from traditional phone landlines to run their businesses more efficiently. Unlike traditional phones, VoIP transforms business communications through numerous features and benefits already built into the system.
Here are five key advantages of a VoIP system:
NO. 1: IMPORTANT IMPRESSIONS
How clients and prospects view your business often depends on an initial phone interaction. Do they hear a welcome message with easy directions or are put on hold immediately? Whether your business has two, five or 20 employees, your business will sound more professional with a VoIP system.
NO. 2: EXCELLENT CALL QUALITY
With technology advances and increased internet speeds, VoIP phones provide the call quality you need to run your business efficiently.
NO. 3: REDUCED COSTS
Lower costs are one of the most appealing benefits for switching to VoIP. Those with landlines understand the significant expense associated with them—setup fees, monthly costs, per-line expenses and more.
NO. 4: CONNECT WITH REMOTE TEAMS
Employees today are working everywhere and VoIP provides tools to communicate with employees effortlessly, no matter where they are.
NO. 5: NUMEROUS BUILT-IN FEATURES
VoIP provides numerous features built-in that will help drive your business, including:
- Virtual Receptionist answers your phone providing a professional greeting to help direct callers on how best to proceed.
- Ring Groups ensures every call is answered, ringing everyone in a department or person to person until someone answers.
- Virtual Fax allows sending traditional faxes from your phone to fax machines. VoIP simply removes the need for fax equipment on the sender’s end.
VoIP phones use the internet to make and receive calls using analog phones plugged into Ethernet jacks. Businesses can also keep their current business phone number to make the transition seamless. Once connected, employees can make and receive calls easily. Customizing features is also easy through a web portal and login.
TIPS FOR CHOOSING A VOIP PROVIDER
Choosing a VoIP phone service is an important decision. Since VoIP technology has many features and l benefits, there’s a few considerations to review when switching. Here are the questions to ask.
Is the VoIP provider scalable?
With the increase in employee turnover, it’s important to have a VoIP service that can scale up or down with your employee base. Ask:
- How long does it take to add a new user?
- What’s involved in removing a user?
- How does pricing change as you add/remove users?
Is it easy to manage?
To monitor your VoIP service, you’ll need management tools and reports that depend on the size and complexity of your business. Consider:
- Is there a single cloud-based management portal or tool to make changes?
- Can you make updates, changes or customizations from anywhere?
- What types of reports are available (e.g., calling reports, VoIP call quality)?
Do they offer all the features you need?
VoIP providers vary on features and capabilities. Beyond making calls, your company may need additional features, including mobile app, chat and video conferencing.
To decide which VoIP features are most important for your business, talk with your employees who make the most calls like sales, marketing and customer service. Once you have a list of must-have features, you can better choose the VoIP provider and plan that meets your needs.
How is voice quality?
Voice quality is an important factor in choosing a VoIP provider. It’s important to know all the technology variables that impact this. For example, if employees have inadequate bandwidth, they may have problems during business calls; or if a provider routes calls through a data center that is far from where the call originated, that could impact voice quality. Ask:
- Does the VoIP provider offer HD voice? This can make it easier to understand people on conference calls.
- Does the VoIP service offer handsets? The hardware in VoIP phones affects the ease of access for many features. If headsets are important to employees, ask the VoIP provider what devices they support.
How easy is it to set up service?
Multiple departments may ask for IT help in setting up new technologies. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate how easy it is to set up the new VoIP service. Use the following:
- Do you have to buy additional hardware? Ask if you can use the VoIP service with your current hardware (e.g., desk phones, employee laptops and smartphones) to simplify setup.
- Review the VoIP provider’s documentation. Check to see if the VoIP provider has up-to-date manuals, videos and other online resources to make setup easy.
- Can you install the service yourself, or does it require a technician?
Does the VoIP service support remote work?
Remote working is much more widespread in the wake of Covid and should be fully supported by your new VoIP provider. Do they offer:
- Mobile apps making it easy for employees to place and receive calls from their preferred devices.
- Advanced features like video conferencing.
How much money can you save by switching to VoIP?
You’ll likely reduce telecommunications costs by switching to a VoIP provider. To find out how much you could save by switching to VoIP, use the VoIP Savings Calculator.
Does the VoIP provider have a good reputation?
Identify VoIP industry leaders by looking for high ratings from publications like PC Magazine to create your shortlist of VoIP providers. PCMag annually surveys readers and awards Business Choice Awards.
As businesses grow, having a phone system that aligns with public expectations is critical. Unlike traditional landlines, VoIP systems come with powerful features to help businesses make the right impression. To learn even more about VoIP, access the free VoIP Guidebook.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jim Gustke is vice president of marketing at Ooma and is responsible for all aspects of marketing and customer acquisition at the company. Jim is a marketing and Internet veteran with a wealth of experience at the intersection of consumer and technology marketing. During his career, he has spearheaded marketing initiatives at Intuit, Lexar Media, Ofoto, America Online and Polaroid Corporation. For more, visit www.ooma.com.