The purpose of any phone system is to connect people and allow them to communicate. For most of the 20th century, analog landlines fulfilled their purpose very well. With the advent of Internet-based technologies however, those systems are no longer sufficient. You need modern digital communication systems for your business in the 21st century.
Most people already know that using a VoIP phone system enables huge savings in monthly bills. Any VoIP phone service can help you cut costs. But the best VoIP phone systems do more than that. You can improve connectivity, collaboration, and productivity across your business with VoIP phones.
How can any business VoIP service provider help small businesses without charging high prices? The answer lies in the way VoIP technology works. Unlike earlier PBXs, you don’t have to commit to annual contracts, fixed resource quantities or expensive hardware. You can get enterprise-grade phone features at reasonable prices. Whether you have one employee or two dozen, there is a phone system out there for you.
So you’re excited about upgrading to a new phone system. You want to see how VoIP can help your business. Before we get into that, you need to know how VoIP works. Analog phones carry voice signals over copper wires between two points. The longer the distance between the two points, the more it’s going to cost you to call.
VoIP uses the internet to route calls. Voice signals are converted to data packets and sent over interconnected networks. Each data packet may take a different route to the destination. They are assembled and converted back into audio at the other end. Since they use existing networks, distance and location don’t matter anymore.
Few small businesses can afford to invest thousands of dollars on hardware and software. With hosted VoIP, you don’t have to. You can start using a hosted VoIP service today if you have a robust Internet connection and a computing device (laptop, smartphone, tablets, etc.). This setup is useful to test out VoIP. But any business needs more features from their communication systems.
There are a couple of options if you’re planning to switch to VoIP phones. Most businesses use a combination of physical phones and softphone apps. If you already have landlines, you can buy adapters to connect them to the network and make VoIP calls. Employees can also download and install softphone apps on mobile devices. As your landlines breakdown, you can replace them with VoIP phones.
Another alternative is to purchase VoIP phones at the outset. Basic entry-level models cost as little as $50. The more expensive executive models (including conference devices) can easily run into the hundreds of dollars. Most businesses use this option as you have to upgrade to VoIP phones sooner or later. You cannot use the more advanced features using older landlines.
And that’s all you need to start using hosted VoIP! You don’t have to buy any more equipment since the service provider will deliver phone features online. You can test drive the best hosted VoIP services for a few weeks before making a final decision as well.
At this point, many people are tempted to use the consumer-level Google Voice for their business. For a low monthly price, you can get many valuable features like visual voicemail and call forwarding. The problem is you will soon outgrow any consumer VoIP service, not just Google Voice. The moment you hire another employee (Google Voice is designed for single users), your existing setup won’t work for you anymore.
On the other hand, you can pull the trigger now and start using a service that will grow along with your business for years to come. You don’t have to buy that top-rated VoIP phone system if it’s more than you can afford. The right phone service is one that suits your needs and fits your budget.
When landlines first came on the scene, people love using it. You could pick up the phone and talk to someone thousands of miles from you. There were limitations of course – it could be expensive, both people needed to sit next to the device, you needed phone service from an operator, etc.
In any modern small business organization, employees are no longer confined to a physical location. You may have multiple offices across the country or around the world. Some employees may work from home, from client locations or frequently move between different sites. Others – especially salespeople and executives – need to work while traveling. You need a system that is cost-effective, flexible, mobile, and interoperable with other enterprise systems you have. In other words, you need a phone system that connects people and not just physical locations.
This is why hosted VoIP services have become so popular. Similar to landlines, you can pick up the phone and call anyone in the world. But this is where the similarities end. Small business VoIP phone systems eliminate or minimize obstacles hindering connectivity – cost, location, distance, cables, and even devices.
A fundamental difference between landlines and VoIP is that location no longer matters. You don’t have to think about whether the call you are going to make is a local, national or international call. Your location – or the other person’s – doesn’t make a difference to the cost or quality of the call.
You can call a customer using your work number even if you are sitting at home. Your workers can receive calls while they’re traveling. You can even conduct meetings and attend conferences without ever leaving your office desk. Your employees no longer have to worry about filing expense reports or going over budget for the month. When you switch to VoIP, you can make more calls and still get lower monthly bills!
In fact, the only distinction between calls is whether it is an internal or external one. Calls between your employees – no matter where they are – don’t cost you anything. You heard it right, calls within your network are completely free. You do have to pay for international calls. That’s because the call travels over PSTN networks for a small portion of the total distance.
If your company makes a lot of calls to a particular country, you can buy an unlimited package or bundles of minutes. This often works out cheaper than pay-as-you-go options.
Most adults nowadays have and use multiple devices during the day. A person might switch from a desktop at the office to a smartphone on the train. Others even juggle several computers and phones during the week. When you want to make a VoIP call, you can do so from any device with an Internet connection. As long as you have installed the softphone app and enter your account details, you can call anyone.
Similarly, you can set up your account to ring any or all of your devices for incoming calls. One option is to set up an order for your devices. For example, first your desk phone rings. If there is no answer, then your mobile device, and finally your computer. Or you could set it so that all your devices ring at the same time and you can answer whichever one is closest to you. You can set it up in such a way that the time of day or called ID determines which device rings!
For a long time, voice calls were confined to your phone system. It wasn’t possible to send a voicemail to your email inbox for instance. You couldn’t make phone calls from your browser. If a customer wants to call your business, they have to note down your number from the website. Then they have to use a landline or mobile phone to call you.
With VoIP, the distinction between channels is practically erased. You can send voicemails to your inbox. You can even send faxes through your email! Your customers can call your business by clicking on the number in their web browser.
Employees can set presence information (available, busy, in a meeting, etc.) so others will not disturb them during important tasks. You can send a text message, IM or email using a single application instead of struggling with multiple apps.
As you can see, VoIP phone systems improve connectivity in many ways. You don’t have to think about call costs, location, distance, or even what device to use. You just pick up the phone and call someone. They will get the message no matter where they are. So what are you waiting for? Contact VoIPstudio and start using the best small business phone system today!
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