While VOIP sounds like a character in the latest Transformers movie blockbuster for the school holidays, it’s actually a communication solution that could add value to your business.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is one of those rare technical terms that describes exactly what it does in the name. It is the ability to make and receive phone calls using an internet connection. This means that the “middleman” of the phone handset and associated infrastructure is cut out, and the data that more typically is translated to pixels and bytes on computer screens is simply converted to sounds so phone calls can be made.
The truth is that most people have already come into contact with VOIP systems in some capacity. Skype is a well-known service phone and video calling service that uses VOIP technology, as are Viber and FaceTime.
To help you make a decision about whether a VOIP solution could be the right fit for your business, you might like to consider the following:
Cost – The cost of VOIP systems is much lower than having a dedicated landline or mobile package. This cost differential comes in terms of lower monthly fees and lower costs per minute than traditional phone services.
Freebies – Traditional phone service providers typically have low calling costs and rates but offer bolt-on services like voicemail, call forwarding and call queuing for higher costs. The level of competition between VOIP providers means that many do these things for free. A solid and trusted reputation is vital for business growth. Cloud telephony allows you to pick up calls from wherever you are, giving small and medium enterprises access to features usually only used by large scale businesses; thus allowing you to continue delivering the very best levels of service to your customers.
Technological Improvements – VOIP also lets you do things that are impossible over traditional phone lines, like video conferences. These can be a great way to have meetings that still have the personal touch but which save on costs and travel time. By accessing one centralized software platform in the cloud, customers can request and take advantage of new features and capabilities, which can be added and made available to you at the same time without any disruption, effort or new hardware requirements. So, choosing a cloud based VoIP telephone system is one way to future proof your business.
Unlimited Growth – Because you are accessing your telephone system from the Cloud, you have the option to add extensions easily, and so the system grows with your business. All in all, it is much more efficient than an on-site system. With additions and deductions to the number of users being handled remotely, all it takes is a quick phone call to your provider.
Multiple locations serviced on one phone system – Many businesses operate more than one site, even in other countries. With Cloud Telephony, you have one system and cost across multiple locations. This saves both money and time; if you open a new location as your company grows, you can simply extend your Cloud system to that area.
Internet – VOIP typically only works well with a high speed internet connection. While this is less of a problem with Telstra’s 4G network and improvements offered by the NBN roll out, there are still challenges in some areas.
Power – VOIP systems use internet connections, internet connection devices require electrical power sources. If there is a blackout or power outage for a long period of time (i.e. when battery power has been exhausted), the system may also fail. The advantage of traditional phones is that they are based on a copper network, and therefore are useful even when the lights go out.
Customer Service – If you are with a traditional Telco, customer service is one of their priorities. In comparison, using VOIP services leave you at the mercy of technicians who are less focused on the user experience, and may only be contactable via email. They won’t be visiting you to fix the problem. However using a local firm to provide your VOIP solution can eliminate this issue as you are still able to see someone face to face.
VOIP is an incredibly useful technology that is lowering the barriers to communication worldwide, but assessing whether it is useful for your business requires an assessment of your specific circumstances.