Modern technology – the internet in particular – has revolutionized how businesses operate. The internet has come to offer not only new services but also new solutions to old processes, including how we make a phone call.
VoIP solutions offer a range of advantages to businesses, from reduced call and operational costs to better collaboration and improved customer service.
What is VoIP and how does it work?
VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a service that is being adopted by more and more companies: US businesses had a total of 41.6 million VoIP lines in 2018. VoIP solutions allow you to host your phone line on an internet protocol network rather than a landline. In other words, calls are made over your business’s internet or intranet rather than a phone line.
VoIP, also sometimes known as hosted PBX, virtual PBX, or VoIP PBX, works by taking the analog audio signal of the phone call and turning it into a digital signal. This digital signal is then transmitted over the internet to an IP phone. IP phones look like a traditional handset, but they connect to the internet via an Ethernet cable or WiFi. Ethernet-connected IP phones are equipped with all necessary hardware and software to take the digital signal and turn this into an analog audio signal and vice versa.
WiFi phones work in a similar way, with the added advantage that users can make and receive calls from anywhere they have access to a WiFi connection. There are many programs now available, such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Facetime, that allow you to make and receive calls using WiFi.
Business VoIP systems can be run on on-site systems that form a dedicated IT resource for this purpose or using a cloud-based system managed by a third-party host.
VoIP solutions have transformed business communications in recent years. With the improvement of IT infrastructure in the early 2000s, this made VoIP accessible to all businesses, and companies of all sizes discovered the benefits of these systems.
The rapid adoption of VoIP systems has allowed businesses to be more flexible and more mobile while communicating better for a lower cost. Additionally, cloud-based VoIP systems have given small businesses access to higher levels of communication without needing to invest in costly phone infrastructure.
Benefits of VoIP
Adopting VoIP solutions has many advantages for businesses. Firstly, it can represent significant savings, especially when it comes to international calls. According to recent figures, VoIP saves businesses 90 percent on international calls and 75 percent on operational costs.
Along with saving businesses on costly long-distance calls, VoIP systems involve less hardware and wiring, which also greatly reduces costs. With VoIP, businesses do not need to pay for line rental, and the systems are usually cheaper to set up and install compared to traditional phone systems.
Another key benefit of VoIP solutions is its accessibility and mobility. Because these systems are cloud-based, users can make and receive calls from different devices, and anywhere with an internet connection, even when they are not in the office. This solution is well-suited to the majority of modern businesses that have partly or fully remote workers.
Finally, VoIP solutions are highly scalable, making them ideal to accommodate business growth. Equally, they can be instantly scaled down if your business needs change. Unlike traditional phone systems, it is easy to add or remove additional users to a VoIP system. In fact, these cloud-based systems are infinitely scalable.
Advanced VoIP features
Along with the key benefits mentioned above, VoIP systems have a number of advanced features that can offer a range of benefits to your business. Call forwarding, for example, is a common feature of VoIP solutions and is indispensable for many businesses. Small businesses, in particular, may struggle to respond to calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The call transfer and forwarding feature on your VoIP system allow you to answer calls and be responsive to your customers outside your office hours. Furthermore, these computerized systems can program your call forwarding rules to suit your needs.
Another advantageous feature of VoIP systems is the virtual phone number. Virtual numbers are assigned to a particular device and act like a normal phone number, but with all the benefits of being part of a VoIP system.
VoIP systems also allow you to record and monitor calls. Call recording can be very useful to businesses as it allows them to keep a record of their phone calls to clients, colleagues, or suppliers, whether for formal purposes or merely to be able to check back on details of the call later. Call monitoring, on the other hand, allows your business to check and rate the overall quality of calls made over the VoIP network to ensure quality levels are adequate.
Furthermore, VoIP solutions give your business access to a visual voicemail. This allows you to manage your voicemail on a PC rather than a clumsy voicemail box through your handset. A similar and equally useful feature found in VoIP systems is voicemail sent to email, which sends your voicemails to an email address, making it simple to listen and respond to messages from any location.
How VoIP can improve business processes
Adopting a VoIP solution can greatly improve your business processes, improving employee performance, and making your business more efficient and more effective. VoIP encourages better collaboration within teams and improves communication between your business and external stakeholders. Since an internet connection is all that is needed, you and your team can connect to others from around the world.
The flexibility of VoIP systems means that you can use a variety of devices to collaborate, making it easier to work together. VoIP also supports communication not only on a one-to-one basis but also with multiple parties, letting you easily connect many people on one call.
Additionally, VoIP promotes better customer service as it allows you to analyze customer call experience with call recordings. By assessing these call recordings, you can identify the strengths and weaknesses in your customer service, and make improvements accordingly. VoIP also makes you more accessible to your customers with call forwardin