VOIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is a form of internet phone service. If you have a strong internet connection, you can have your phone service delivered through your online connection rather than through a phone company. This is an efficient and affordable communication solution for your small business.
Some companies use VOIP instead of a traditional communications system because VOIP service providers usually offer this solution at a lower rate than a typical phone service. The only difference is that some VOIP services do not include 911 emergency calls, 411 calls, and directory listings.
How Does VOIP Work?
VOIP systems turn phone signals into digital signals so they can be sent over the internet. This function can be included in a VOIP phone or as a separate box known as an Analogue Terminal Adapter (ATA). VOIP is great for business use because it can be used along with traditional telephony applications such as IVR and call center apps.
Why Use Business VOIP?
The main benefits of business VOIP are its affordability, its increased functionality, and its adaptability. Here is a further explanation of each of these aspects:
- Business VOIP Cost: Typically, business VOIP phone services are less expensive than traditional telephony solutions. This is mainly because the services are offered by individual providers. You can also save money by using a single network to transmit both voice and data. In most cases, if you already have an internet service with unused bandwidth, using a VOIP service may not incur any additional charges.
- Business VOIP Functionality: Business VOIP gives your business more flexibility because it allows you to do things you cannot do with a traditional phone network. For example, all incoming calls can be routed to your VOIP phone wherever you are connecting to a network. This means you can take your VOIP phone with you when you travel and use it to make international calls. Business VOIP can also be used in conjunction with your call center, as agents can work from anywhere in the world as long as they have a strong internet connection.
- Business VOIP Adaptability: A business VOIP phone allows you to make more than one call on the same broadband phone line. In this way, VOIP helps you add multiple phone lines to your business without having to pay for the addition of physical lines. Many VOIP systems also have advanced features such as caller ID, call recording, call forwarding, and auto redial. You can also use business VOIP for messaging and video conferencing.
Additional features of Business VOIP are:
- Call Quality: VOIP technology has advanced so much that the person you’re calling cannot tell that you are not using a traditional landline. Many VOIP service providers offer better call quality than traditional telephony solutions.
- Security: Business VOIP is much more secure than traditional phone systems. VOIP phone systems have encryption protocols in place, so all your calls and data are secure. Such a high level of security is not possible with a traditional phone system.
- Automated Assistance: You can use business VOIP features to answer simple, frequently asked questions. This is useful for serving customers out of hours or during holidays, or for important announcements.
- Improved Productivity: VOIP numbers can be programmed to ring on multiple phone numbers before going to voicemail, which reduces the chance of employees having to play phone tag. By preventing a phone tag situation, a business VOIP system eliminates customer frustration and boosts employee productivity.
Business VOIP and Your Existing Phone Number
When you transition to a business VOIP service, you don’t have to worry about having to change your existing phone number. Most service providers will let you retain your current number. This streamlines the transition and helps to maintain a positive business flow. It also means that your website, business cards, and company letterhead will not need to be changed so that you won’t be incurring additional expenses.
The Downside of VOIP
The main drawback of a business VOIP communication system is that if for some reason, your internet or power goes out, you lose your VOIP service. If you have a hosted VOIP service, this problem is circumvented because incoming calls will be automatically routed to voicemail or to your mobile phone if your service should become disrupted. However, that doesn’t alter the fact that in this situation, you will be unable to make or receive calls using your business office phones.
Another downside is that many business VOIP service providers do not offer 911 emergency calling service. The ones that do, typically add on an extra charge for this service. These are the two main disadvantages of using a business VOIP system. Because of these drawbacks, many business owners prefer to retain a traditional landline phone system to augment their VOIP service.