Cutting-edge communication technology is crucial to businesses in Texas and all over the world. Without it, employees can’t develop strong relationships with clients and they can’t coordinate on important projects.
Although traditional landlines are an option for many organizations, they won’t get you very far if you hope to gain an edge over the competition. According to recent studies, landline phone usage has been on the decline for several years due to growing costs and lack of advanced features.
To future-proof communications, businesses need Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems.
What is VoIP and how does it work?
VoIP is a telephony system that enables users to make and receive calls using internet-enabled devices such as computers, handsets, smartphones, and tablets.
To get a better grasp of how this works, it’s worth knowing how old-fashioned phone calls operate.
Traditional phone systems rely on something called circuit-switched technology, which sets up dedicated circuits or channels between two points when a call is placed. These dedicated circuits use copper wires to carry analog voice signals from point to point.
However, calls made over traditional phone systems can be expensive because analog signals need to travel along a telephone grid composed of multiple towers, cables, telephone lines, and switchboards. The longer the distance, the more towers, cables, and phone lines an analog signal needs to travel — and that costs a lot of money.
That’s why telecom providers charge exorbitant fees for long-distance and international calls.
In contrast, VoIP phone systems use packet-switched technology. This converts your voice into data packets that travel to their destination through your internet connection. Data packets take different routes to reach a call recipient, but once they do, they’re quickly assembled in the right order and converted into sound.
Due to the ubiquity of the internet, a VoIP phone system will essentially allow you to make a call to anywhere in the world as easily as if you were sending an instant message online.
Also, since VoIP calls are transmitted via the internet, you don’t have to worry about paying hefty telephone bills. VoIP calls simply become another part of your broadband plan, covered by your monthly subscription to a telecom provider.
Core VoIP features
While VoIP allows you to call people using the internet, this merely scratches the surface of what it’s capable of. Effective VoIP phone systems also come with powerful features like:
- Voicemail – digitally records voice messages when the person called is away or in another conversation
- Call recording – catalogs VoIP conversations, which can be useful for coaching and training customer-facing staff
- Call forwarding – reroutes incoming phone calls to an alternate device or phone number depending on the time of day, specific area codes, who is calling, or if a particular device isn't answered
- Auto-attendant – fills in as a virtual receptionist that welcomes callers with an automated message and redirects them to the correct extension/department
- Do not disturb – allows users to block all calls when activated and sends callers straight to voicemail
- Conferencing – enables users to start group audio and video calls
The benefits of VoIP
Phone systems are usually not the first thing that comes to mind when improving your company’s efficiency, but switching to VoIP is one of the best ways to enable your company’s growth. Here are five distinct benefits you can expect from a VoIP phone system:
1. Massive cost savings
Since phone calls are transmitted via the internet, you won’t have to pay the hefty international and long-distance call rates associated with traditional phone calls. Calls from VoIP systems to landline phones have significantly reduced rates, while calls between VoIP systems are typically free.
What’s more, the initial setup and operating costs of VoIP phone systems are considerably lower compared to those of traditional phones. You don't need to set up a dedicated telephone line and maintain costly landline equipment. You can simply install VoIP software on employee devices for a small monthly subscription fee.
In fact, studies found that on average, businesses can save between 30% and 50% by switching to a VoIP service.
2. Greater mobility
With VoIP, your business numbers are not tied to a single device or location. If you have a smartphone or laptop that can connect to the internet, you can make VoIP calls from anywhere. This is particularly useful for remote workers who may be situated in different parts of the world and are currently coping with COVID-19 lockdowns.
3. Efficient client interaction
VoIP makes it easy to communicate with clients across the country. It’s also loaded with features that help you improve the client experience like automated attendants and integration with your customer relationship management (CRM) software. The former streamlines client onboarding, especially when your business deals with a high volume of calls. Meanwhile, VoIP paired with CRM allows you to analyze previous client interactions, schedule follow-ups, and better understand customer preferences.
4. Worry-free maintenance
Hosted VoIP services mean professionals will manage your telephony system and guarantee certain call quality standards. Should technical emergencies arise, a team of expert engineers will be on hand to sort out the issue for you.
5. Better call handling
Enterprise-grade telecom functions that previously were reserved for large corporations, such as voicemail and call forwarding, are now available to and affordable for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Choosing a VoIP provider
If your organization is considering implementing VoIP phone systems, it’s vital to thoroughly vet prospective providers. This doesn’t just involve looking at setup costs and subscription fees; you need to evaluate the provider’s service offerings, too.
Most providers offer similar solutions, but there can be differences in features such as call forwarding, recording, and video conferencing. Others may even provide VoIP-specific equipment like headsets, optimized routers, and IP phones. Compare each provider’s offerings and pick the provider that suits your needs.
You’ll also want to check the provider’s service level agreements (SLAs). These are contracts that specify the provider’s availability, response times, bandwidth and quality of service guarantees, and VoIP security.
For instance, a first-rate provider’s SLA typically promises 24/7 support, same-day problem resolutions, and proactive network maintenance to ensure crystal-clear calls.
Finally, verify customer reviews and testimonials. If a prospective provider has a track record of success in serving similar companies in your industry, they likely have the experience and expertise to replicate the same results for your company.
Partnering with a VoIP provider is a big decision that can have long-lasting repercussions. But if your Texas-based business wants to achieve the benefits VoIP has to offer, Lighthouse IT is the go-to provider. We offer top-notch SLAs and optimize your phone system so you can deliver quality service to your clients and stay connected with your workers. Get in touch with us today to implement your very own VoIP phone system.