VoIP phone service for business
VoIP definition: What does VoIP stand for?
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a type of communications technology that enables users to call one another by using the internet instead of traditional phone lines. For this reason, it’s also called internet calling.
When you use the microphone on your device, the audio information is converted into data, which will be sent to the person on the opposite end of the line. This is made possible by Internet Protocol.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the way to go for businesses
Businesses that streamline their workflows and optimize their operations are the ones that usually have a better chance at success. With massive, real-world benefits like the ones listed below, it’s easy to see that VoIP improves not only business communications but also business productivity.
A digital phone system without the huge capital investment
Legacy systems can get really expensive. In fact, they’re up to 30% more expensive than a virtual phone solution. All the system upgrades, changes, maintenance, and repairs can take their toll on your company’s budget. Setup and reconfiguration require time and are usually a cause of disruption. This is not the case when you’re using hosted VoIP phone systems, with which deployment doesn’t take time and all updates and repairs are handled by the provider.
Expect low charges, even for long-distance and international calls. Since VoIP calls are made over the internet, you aren't charged per minute, as is the case with traditional phone lines. So if your business makes a lot of outbound calls, you will see a significant reduction in your phone bill.
VoIP solutions wherever you go
If your business has multiple locations, you need just as many hardware units and phone lines to ensure a certain level of service mobility. This is not a problem with VoIP, which allows you to make and receive calls from any device. It practically follows you wherever you go.
As long as there is an internet connection, the sales manager can contact field staff for an urgent task and a customer service rep working from home can easily address a complaint to avoid the customer’s ire. If you have to transfer a call to a colleague who’s working remotely, you don’t need to ask customers to call a different number.
IP phone service that scales as you grow
So you’ve opened up a new location and need more phones for your employees. But how many will you actually use over the next year? You better estimate carefully so you don’t spend precious money on phone lines that’ll end up untouched.
VoIP solutions mean unmatched functionality
There is definitely more to VoIP than just making or receiving calls. Apart from the basic features you get from traditional systems, modern VoIP systems can incorporate a host of other helpful communications tools, such as instant messaging, teleconferencing and video conferencing, virtual faxing, call recording, and more.
And yes, VoIP is capable of supporting fax through virtual faxing. It allows you to send and receive faxes without purchasing an actual machine and, by extension, paper and toner. All fax messages, as well as voicemails, can be forwarded to and stored in a single location.
Gather your employees anytime using the video conferencing feature if you have to discuss important issues. You may also use real-time team messaging if you have to simultaneously work on a task and get things done fast. All these work no matter where your employees are and whatever device they are using.
The abovementioned features are just some of the things that make VoIP such an efficiency booster for businesses of any type and size. Having access to advanced productivity tools allows workflows to be streamlined and empowers employees to multitask as the need arises.
Let’s say one of your sales agents is on a call within a queue. While waiting, he or she can browse through voicemail-to-text transcriptions from their email inbox or maybe archive or forward fax with the click of a mouse. You’ll be surprised to see the numerous features and a brand-new world of possibilities with a sophisticated VoIP phone service.
VoIP solutions make for easy integration
Integrating traditional phone systems with other systems your business uses is no easy task. In fact, it is incredibly difficult—as any company that’s experienced it could attest. With VoIP, this issue is nonexistent.
One of the things that make the adoption of VoIP technology appealing is the fact that it is capable of integrating with many business systems you and your employees are already familiar with, especially when you have phones that work with VoIP. As such, onboarding would be a cinch. This is possible because VoIP calls harness the power of the internet. For instance, an integration with Outlook® allows you to send and receive a fax or make outbound calls through that program.
Integrating business analytics is also relatively simple with VoIP. With actionable insights at your disposal, your business will be able to monitor and improve processes to further enhance your overall efficiency, connectivity, and productivity.
Internet phone lines allow business continuity
What if the internet in your area stops working? This is a common apprehension among business owners and managers who are considering switching to VoIP. They think that if the internet stops working, there is no way to make a call. Let's not even get started on traditional phones, which use cables and other hardware that can be compromised by a fire or destroyed by an earthquake.
When disaster strikes or power goes out, your employees will have a hard time communicating with each other and customers won't be able to reach them. If you fail to recover quickly, you'll suffer a huge loss in terms of production and customer confidence and deal with regulatory fines.
Healthcare facilities, for example, need to abide by the provisions included in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Otherwise, they could lose a huge amount of money on sanctions and penalties.
This is not a problem with a hosted VoIP system, which sits at a protected data center. It is monitored around the clock. So if something happens in your place of business, calls will be forwarded to another location.
VoIP’s advanced call forwarding feature gives you the capacity to choose where and how your calls are forwarded so you don’t have to lose productivity in case of a disaster or a power outage. So even if it’s impossible to answer your office desk phone, you still have a secondary device like your laptop or smartphone you can use to communicate with collaborators and customers.
The popularity of VoIP across all kinds of businesses has driven many service providers offering this technology to lower their costs in order to attract more clients. As such, it’s easy to fall for a VoIP provider that offers the cheapest solutions.
You as the consumer shouldn’t be looking at the initial price alone but at the total cost of ownership, which is the sum of acquiring, deploying, and operating a VoIP phone system over its entire life cycle. Be sure to look at the upfront, deployment, operational, and upgrade costs.
- Upfront costs
Comprehensive, high-quality systems naturally come with higher upfront costs, but they are more reliable and easier to maintain—and still offer 30% cost savings over legacy phone solutions. Outside of the VoIP service package, you should also take into account the cost of headsets, webcams, and a strong network connection to ensure call quality.
- Deployment costs
Get a service provider to design, implement, and configure your VoIP system. Then you’ll need to hire experts to teach your employees how to use the system properly and effectively. A more experienced, knowledgeable provider can have all these covered for you.
- Operational costs
Think of the monthly recurring costs, which may be dependent on the plan you choose. For instance, there are companies that offer long-distance calls per minute and there are others that provide unlimited calls for a fixed monthly fee. If you are managing your VoIP system on your own, you also have to consider the power, cooling, and maintenance costs on a monthly basis.
- Upgrade costs
Be sure to set aside some budget for when you need to make any upgrades. Then again, if you chose a hosted service provider, you don’t have to worry about anything.
What is VoIP service if it’s not from a trusted provider?
By hosting your VoIP phone system in the cloud, service providers are able to deliver feature-rich phone services anywhere there is an internet connection. You don’t have to worry about maintenance, repairs, security, other issues because they are all covered by the provider.
But not all VoIP providers are created equal. There are numerous providers on the market today, and the importance of picking the right one for your business can never be overstated. That’s because your company has unique needs and therefore requires unique solutions.
A trusted VoIP phone provider like RingCentral has years of experience as well as its own network and regular audits that help it maintain a high level of service, giving it the ability to deliver service that addresses your specific requirements.
It’s important that you get the communications system your business needs for a price that makes sense.
Signs to watch out for when evaluating internet phone companies
It’s not outside the realm of possibility for you to end up dealing with an internet phone company that is out there that does not maintain the service quality your business needs. This is why it’s important to do your research on various providers before settling on one. So, how do you know if you are talking to an internet phone company that won’t work for you?
For one, make sure you can work with the provider to determine whether your network can handle VoIP implementation. You can’t expect their VoIP phone service to work for your network without proper assessment. Otherwise, you can only expect a bad user experience somewhere down the line.
You also want to read the fine print when looking into their offerings. For example, there may be caveats and extra charges for certain features under particular plans. Always make sure you can clarify the details of your account with the service provider before you commit.
These are just a few things that should help you identify a internet phone company that might not be the right fit for you. You can do a bit more research or focus your attention on one highly reputable VoIP phone system provider with a sterling track record and a team of experienced technical professionals like RingCentral.
More on VoIP Technology
Internet Protocol in a nutshell
In simple terms, Internet Protocol (IP) is the protocol responsible for transmitting a message (e.g., voice and email) from one place to another. The language humans use is different from that of computers, so the messages we create need to be translated into electronic signals before they can be sent. Once broken down into packets of data, the IP protocol will deliver them to their destination based on an IP address.
IP telephony as it relates to VoIP
Many people equate VoIP to IP telephony, which can be confusing to some extent. Sure, they both leverage the internet to allow communication over a vast distance, but there are subtle differences between the two technologies. Making things even more complicated is the fact that such differences are so subtle, using these terms interchangeably can actually be acceptable in certain contexts.
For starters, VoIP is a component of IP telephony, which is a general term for technologies that utilize IP’s packet-switched connections to enable communication. Think of it as a method of digitizing a phone system to take advantage of the internet. VoIP, on the other hand, is simply referring to the way of transmitting the digitized voice signals.
This advancement in communications systems is the reason why VoIP solutions have increasingly gained popularity, especially in business environments where efficiency and productivity are paramount.