Enterprises have always had a variety of tools at their…
VoIP in Business Communication
Enterprise voice communication is considerably different from the consumer experience in many ways. Most individuals and households use landlines to make and receive calls, occasionally checking voicemails along the way. Although many other features may be offered by their phone carrier, few people are aware that they exist and even fewer use them regularly. In fact, the rise of smart phones has significantly reduces the need for landlines in the consumer segment.
The story is quite different for businesses. Though large portions of business communication has moved to other formats and channels such as email, instant messaging and even corporate social networks, landlines – or rather voice communication – remains integral to most organizations. Whether it is a small business that relies on taking orders on the phone or a large corporation that needs to provide extensive customer support, voice calls are a crucial part of the enterprise.
It is part of the reason why organizations invest in quality systems that can provide reliability and flexibility. Even a few minutes of downtime can cause a significant dent in revenue through lost sales or contracts, tarnished brand image and result in angry or frustrated customers. However landline technology had not changed much over the decades until VoIP came along.
VoIP Changed Business Communication For the Better
Once people get accustomed to new technology, they start wondering how they managed to get work done with older systems. For instance, no one can imagine going back to the days when email was not extensively used for enterprise communication. A similar perspective is useful when analyzing how VoIP has affected business communication in the last decade.
VoIP Helps in Managing Business Costs
This is perhaps the first impact felt by businesses after they switch to VoIP. There are a number of factors that go into making VoIP significantly cheaper than traditional landlines including lower rates for local and international calls, free calls between employees even if there a different locations, the elimination of contracts and so on.
Not only are businesses able to reduce their monthly expenses for voice communication but they are also able to better manage exactly what features they get in return. The monthly subscription model favored by VoIP providers allows enterprises to estimate monthly expenses more accurately and plan cash flows accordingly. Companies don’t have to worry about sudden spikes in call charges or paying for equipment/features that they no longer use. VoIP frees businesses from being tied to annual contracts that benefit the vendor more than the client.
VoIP Makes Business Communication More Efficient
For a business organization, time is money in more ways than one. Every extra or unnecessary moment spent in setting up, configuring or troubleshooting problems with the phone system is time that is effectively wasted. Suppose the business spends a few hours every week keeping the PBX system working properly. This is time that could have been spent on serving customers , optimizing workflows, securing new sales etc. Depending on the size of the business, it can translate to hundreds or even thousands of dollars lost per week.
In addition to the above aspect, businesses also have to pay salaries and other incentives to employees who are in charge of maintaining the phone system. If the organization can reduce the number of people required for such routine tasks, excess personnel can be shifted into other roles that provide more value for the business.
VoIP systems accomplish this in many ways. Hosted services provided by an external contractor eliminate the need to frequently tinker with or troubleshoot bugs in the phone service. Required features can be turned on or off through conveniently accessible web dashboards, even by users with no knowledge of the technical intricacies. Managers are able to better control user access and workflows to optimize productivity.
VoIP Offers Valuable Business Features for a Digital Environment
For much of the 20th century, businesses were satisfied with the services and features offered by traditional phone operators. However the business environment has changed considerably over the last two decades, thanks to cloud computing, smart phones and even the concepts of Software As a Service (SaaS), Platform As a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure As a Service (IaaS).
In this changed landscape, organizations Increasingly found it difficult to manage voice communication as landlines didn’t fully utilize distant technology. Voice calling continue to exist in its own separate silo and valuable data was not transferable or interoperable with other enterprise IT systems. A business organization may have a separate system to manage phone calls, another for providing video and conference calling and yet another service that provides CRM software.
VoIP brings voice calling into the digital age through such innovative features like visual voicemail, digital faxing, IVR, auto attendant etc. Call recording, caller hunt groups, call forwarding etc. can all be set up in a few minutes for individuals, teams or even the entire office. In return, the payoff for organizations has been significant. Employees are no longer tied to a particular location or device. They can handle business communication from anywhere, at any time. VoIP automatically increases productivity among users and enables more effective use of resources. Organizations spend less time in managing their phone systems and are able to concentrate on increasing value instead.
VoIP has not yet reached the maturity of other business technologies and innovative features are being introduced continuously. Once it becomes the de facto standard for voice communication, it is likely that businesses will get even more value from VoIP systems in the future.
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