Even though VoIP has been commercially available since 1995, there are still a lot of misconceptions about it. Some people think it’s only for big businesses. Others believe that VoIP is nothing more than Skype and Zoom, and it’s only for solopreneurs.
These views are not only conflicting, but they’re also inaccurate. Today’s VoIP systems are highly functional and customizable, so they’re ideal for businesses of all sizes.
If you’re not familiar with what VoIP is, it stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and it uses the Internet to transmit voice and digital data over any connected device. If you’ve used Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, Housparty, Facetime, Google Hangouts, etc., then you are already familiar with the basics of what VoIP does.
A VoIP system for small businesses takes this communication method a step further and integrates it with every aspect of a business. Companies that switch to VoIP are able to improve their productivity, boost their customer satisfaction levels, and save money in the process.
In this article, we’ll elaborate on how small businesses benefit from using VoIP instead of a traditional landline phone system.
Phone services can be expensive, especially if you have multiple employees that need a phone presence. Once you add up the cost of rollover lines, extensions, long-distance calls, maintenance fees, taxes, surcharges, and bundled and a la cart features, your bill could be hundreds or thousands of dollars.
There’s no denying that having a functional telephone communications system is a requirement for running a successful business, but you shouldn’t have to pay a fortune for it. Companies of all sizes are now discovering that they can switch to VoIP and save money in the process. According to a report by Tech.co, if you make international calls, you’ll see your calling fees decrease by 90%.¹
The reason calls are so inexpensive is that they’re using the Internet to send voice data instantaneously. By contrast, a landline uses the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), which is a network of cables that transmits voice data using an aging infrastructure that is expensive to maintain. Those maintenance costs are passed on to the user. VoIP eliminates those fees charges companies based on either the number of users they have, the minutes they use, or a flat fee.
Lower calling charges isn’t the only area where small businesses save money when they choose VoIP. VoIP users also ditch the hassle of buying and maintaining expensive hardware and equipment. VoIP, in general, requires less equipment and maintenance.
Businesses that choose hosted VoIP can save even more because there’s no equipment to buy other than optional IP phones for the front desk and executive offices. With hosted VoIP, the provider houses and maintains all of the hardware and equipment. All you need is a phone that connects to the Internet and a reliable Internet connection. "Amazing technology has simplified our patient communication immensely! We are fairly new and can't wait to learn even more Weave features... customer service and tech support is SPOT ON and can't be beat! " - The Eye Station
Weave Helps Streamline Business Communication
"Amazing technology has simplified our patient communication immensely! We are fairly new and can't wait to learn even more Weave features... customer service and tech support is SPOT ON and can't be beat! " - The Eye StationSchedule Demo
More than 50% of US households have ditched their landlines.² They have recognized that there are more advantages to having a wireless-only system that allows them to make and receive calls from anywhere in the world. Long gone are the days of sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring.
It’s taken businesses some time to follow suit and adopt this approach for their operations. Still, the need for portability is growing, which leads businesses to choose VoIP. This is especially true for new companies implementing their first phone system or for businesses that are looking to upgrade. Now that VoIP has evolved (thanks to faster Internet speeds and providers who have added more features and functionality), it’s the logical communications choice for most businesses.
Instead of your employees being tethered to their desks, waiting for the phone to ring, they can take calls from anywhere, as long as they have a device that’s connected to the Internet. This means they can take calls after hours or on the road. Instead of their smartphone being a standalone unit, it is instead connected to your business phone system.
With VoIP, your employees’ smartphones, tablets, and computers will function the same as your office phones. You can transfer calls among employees in different parts of the office (or the world) without making the caller hang up and place another call. You can also set up DND (do not disturb) functionality and automatic call distribution so your team knows who’s available and calls can be distributed accordingly.
Though landlines also offer advanced enterprise functionality, they can come at a hefty price. Having multiple lines that you can transfer calls to and from, recording phone calls, conducting three-way calls, and allowing employees to set presence information requires fancy phones and a robust system that is outside the budget of many small businesses.
Thankfully, most of these features come standard with VoIP, and it’ll cost you less than you think.
In addition to receiving functionality that was previously reserved for expensive landline systems, VoIP also provides businesses with digital functionality, including:
- Video conferencing
- Voicemail to email
- Internet faxing
- Instant messaging and chat
These features are just the tip of the iceberg. Different VoIP providers offer a variety of features, many of them at no extra charge. We encourage you to shop around and compare functionality.
If you have a traditional landline (or you’re trying to run your business through your cell phone), the experience that callers have after hours is probably not ideal. At best, they’ll get a voicemail greeting with an invitation to leave a message. You or your team will check the message the next day and then call the person back as soon as you can. But what if the caller isn’t available? Now, it’s your turn to leave a message. A frustrating game of phone tag has begun.
This scenario is all too common for landline users, but small businesses can do so much better than that! A VoIP system will give your business a more professional presence, starting with an automated attendant. The auto-attendant functions similarly to a voicemail greeting, but it is more interactive.
Callers can be given the option to reach any available party, and if no one is available to take their call, then their voicemail message can be transcribed to a voicemail or email message and delivered immediately to the intended recipient. If the caller’s need is urgent, then it can be addressed by the right person at the right time.
Another feature that has tremendously helped small businesses provide five-star customer service is missed call texting. Some VoIP systems have this functionality, and it’s changing the game for companies that don’t have a team available to take calls 24/7.
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say you’re a dental office, and John Smith is calling you as a new patient to make an appointment. He’s new in town and wants to find a dentist he can trust to take care of him and his family. He calls your office during his lunch break to see when he can make the necessary appointments. Unfortunately, your office is also at lunch, and there’s no one available to take his call.
If your office had a traditional landline system, then John would be invited to leave a voicemail and be told that someone would get back to him “as soon as possible.” John might leave a message, but he’s likely to dial the next office on his list. When your team comes back from lunch, you call John back (assuming he left a voicemail), but he’s gone back to work already and misses your call.
With a VoIP system, John could receive an automated text message when your office misses his call. The message could tell John that you are out of the office until 1 pm and ask John to reply with a time that is convenient to receive a return call. The message could also prompt him to describe what his need is. If he wants to make an appointment, the text series could offer a link to your availability so that he can schedule it at his convenience.
Instead of missing the opportunity to serve a new patient, you were able to win the patient and provide fast and responsive customer service in the process.
In the early days of VoIP, there was a lot of concern about security. After all, when you transmit voice data and other media over the Internet, it can be vulnerable to hacking. However, if your VoIP system is configured properly, then it can be even more secure than a landline. Firewalls, encryption protocols, and network monitoring all function to keep your phone calls secure.
Landlines, on the other hand, are theoretically more vulnerable to security breaches. Basic listening devices can be used by unscrupulous parties to tap into a phone system with ease. Therefore, if security is a concern, your best bet is a well-configured VoIP system.
Are you ready to see how your small business can benefit from using VoIP? We invite you to schedule a live demo today.