One of the biggest misconceptions about Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is that many people believe that this phone system is only ideal for big businesses. However, in reality, VoIP has many features that small business owners can take advantage of!
Now, before we move on to the benefits of VoIP, let me first answer the question of “What is VoIP?” for those of y’all who are not too sure what it is exactly. VoIP allows users to make and receive calls using a broadband internet connection instead of a regular or analog phone line. This technology converts sound into digital packets and transfers it through the internet similar to other types of data like the email.
And here’s the thing. When you’re growing a small business, you want to reduce costs wherever you can, but you also want to stay competitive and be able to provide the same type of high-quality service to your clients as larger companies do. This is where VoIP comes in and can help small businesses reduce costs while also increasing their capabilities.
So here are 16 benefits of VoIP for small businesses:
#1: Lower Maintenance & IT Costs
Cost is honestly the one factor that can either make or break a deal. And let me tell you this. Cost savings is one of the benefits of VoIP that virtually any business can appreciate. I mean, here’s the reality – you can only install so many analog phone lines before costs builds up, especially if your business regularly makes long-distance calls. Moreover, troubleshooting a problem with an analog phone system that’s housed at your office can be costly and time-consuming.
VoIP, on the other hand, is a “plug and play” technology, making it much easier to use and less expensive to maintain. Employees also tend to learn its features faster, requiring less training time. In addition, traditional phone lines typically charge for each minute of call time, whereas with VoIP, your only costs are your monthly charges from your ISP.
#2: Hardware Savings
There is a significant cost savings when you switch from a PBX landline-based system to a VoIP system. The analog phones, including hardware, can cost an average of $1,000 USD per user. Businesses switching to VoIP report experiencing savings in the 50 to 75% range, which is significant to their bottom line. With VoIP, there is no expensive hardware to purchase since the system runs in the cloud, and users can choose to use low priced handsets, computer headsets, or their mobile devices to access their VoIP phone line.
Moreover, operating costs for VoIP are significantly lower than the traditional phone companies. Here are specific instances where your organization can save money through VoIP:
- VoIP significantly cuts down domestic and international calls. A VoIP number, also known as a virtual number, isn’t connected to a physical landline telephone but appears to the person you’re calling or the person calling you to be so. For instance, customers and colleagues can call you at the local rate instead of the higher international rate as your virtual phone number appears to be within their local exchange even though it isn’t.
- Your organization no longer has to maintain separate networks for data and phones.
- As VoIP allows you to take your office extension phone anywhere you go using a smartphone, this slashes your company’s mobile phone costs.
- VoIP handsets are less expensive than traditional telephones.
In fact, according to a research, the global VoIP market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 10% during the forecast period 2017-2021.
#3: Easy Set-up, Management and Maintanence
Traditional phone lines can be difficult to set up and maintain, not to mention that they can come with a notoriously high price tag. VoIP, on the other hand, is relatively easy to install, configure and maintain. Basically, you don’t need to be a tech genius to get started with VoIP, as installing and using it requires very little technical know-how.
There are also VoIP software solutions and web browser options that can make managing the system much easier, especially when adding new users. Web portals also make adding, moving, and changing system configurations simpler and more convenient.
Here’s the thing – so long as you’ve internet access, you can use your VoIP system anywhere. VoIP allows you to make and receive calls from multiple devices, including your smartphone, ensuring that you can be contacted by customers or by colleagues wherever you are in the world.
It also allows you to transfer calls to your colleagues without requiring customers to call another number. This phone system also allows you to set your status to inform your colleagues whether or not you’re available to take calls.
#5: Excellent Call Quality
VoIP technology has evolved in such a way that the person you’re calling or the person calling you can’t tell whether you’re using VoIP or traditional landline. Today’s VoIP phone service has even surpassed traditional landline in terms of call quality.
And in recent years, VoIP technology has advanced significantly – especially in terms of voice clarity, so that it has become virtually indistinguishable from more traditional phone conversations. The earlier versions of VoIP often produced distorted phone calls, dropped calls, and lagging transmissions. This is no longer the case, however, which is why VoIP has become more appealing to SMEs and organizations around the world.
VoIP technology allows users to integrate a wide variety of software systems, such as remote conferencing, file sharing and email, which can be great assets as it increases the flexibility of your users.
It’s easy to see how this kind of flexibility and mobility provides a huge advantage for users who are always on the go, particularly corporate staff who travel frequently. And since long distance calls via VoIP is relatively cheaper compared to traditional landline or cellular phone calls, it’s also a great money saver, like mentioned in #1!
There’s more to VoIP than making and receiving calls. Modern VoIP systems incorporate other communication services like instant messaging, presence information, teleconferencing, video conferencing, receiving voicemail and faxes via email.
VoIP’s multi-features hence allow you to keep in touch with employees to discuss important matters irrespective of where they are in the world. Through this modern communication system, your employees don’t necessarily have to be physically present in the office. They instead can work from home or work from abroad.
#8: Managing Messages
Gone are the days where you need to have someone write down phone messages for you on a post-it when you are away from your desk or on leave. Instead, VoIP includes advanced message features that allow call routing to a department-based or personal voicemailbox. Features also include automatically emailing a voicemail message, including the sound file and automated voice-to-text transcription. This streamlines the message taking process, making it both more accurate and less time-consuming.
#9: Call Attendant and Transferring
One of the VoIP features that allow small businesses to sound like they’re a large business when a customer calls is the call attendant and call transferring. This is typically expensive to set up on an analog phone system but is generally an included feature with VoIP. This allows you to provide better customer service without needing to add more staff. You can set up a general message that routes the caller to the appropriate department or person, and easily route them back to a staff member if the line they’re ringing isn’t answered.
#10: Customer Service Features
In addition to point #9, VoIP telephony is designed to help you provide a better experience for your customers when they call your company. For example, with a virtual receptionist, a caller will never get a busy signal. Other customer-centric features that can help small businesses enhance their customer experience include:
- Hold music
- Directory assistance
- Ring groups (so a call can ring for everyone in a department)
- Extension dialing
- Call routing (can find a user on their mobile if they’re not at their desk)
Answers to simple frequently asked questions can also be programmed to serve customers call after office hours. Holiday opening hours, regular opening hours and other important announcements can be programmed, providing your customers optimal service at all hours of the day and night.
#11: Scalability to Add or Remove Lines Easily
Let me just put this out here. It is not easy to determine how many phone lines you’ll need in let say 1, 5, 10 years’ time, especially not when you’re still growing as a company. But when you invest in hardware for a land-line based phone system, you’ve purchased a fixed number of equipment that is not scalable if you have to decrease or increase the number of employees in your company.
With VoIP however, you can easily and conveniently scale the VoIP system to meet your needs. The scalability of VoIP allows you to pay just for what you’re using at any given time and easily scale up or down in the number of phone lines you have whenever you need to. Basically, with this system, you can add a new line as soon as you add a new staff member. And when an employee leaves or transfers, you can just as easily reassign the existing line or remove it completely. You’re only ever paying for what you need!
#12: Remote Working Flexibility
One of the most beneficial features of VoIP telephony, especially for smaller businesses looking to be nimble and save costs, is that it allows your office phones to function from anywhere. They can be accessed from any internet connected device, including computers, tablets, and mobile phones. VoIP flexibility allows companies to:
- Hire remote workers, saving money on office space
- Keep their business going in the event of an outage or disaster at their physical office
- Make it easy to get calls while traveling
- Allows for more mobile security by using VoIP with mobile devices
And what’s a better time to install this than during this COVID-19 period, when most employees are working from home! In fact, working from home or having flexible working arrangements might just be the ‘new normal’ that companies and their employees are leaning towards.
#13: Increased Productivity
VoIP technology can help improve the productivity of everyone in your organisation, from executives to directors to managers to employees. Your VoIP system will provide users with the ability to host virtual meetings, conduct international phone conferences at very little cost, attach important company documents and share significant data through video conferencing.
One other way VoIP increases productivity is by eliminating “phone tag” – a phenomenon that occurs when two people are trying to call each other by telephone but neither is able to get hold of the other. Phone tag only leads to increased customer frustration, reduced sales and inhibits small businesses the capacity to grow. With VoIP, phone numbers can be programmed to ring on multiple devices before proceeding to voicemail, which thus reduces the likelihood of employees and customers experiencing phone tag.
Compared to the traditional analog telephone connection, VoIP is much more secure. This modern phone system has standardised encryption protocols, making your calls and data secure – something that can’t be done on a regular telephone connection.
#16: Greater professionalism for Small Businesses and Sole Traders
If you are a small business or a sole trader, VoIP is a great way to add professionalism to the way that your business is presented. Features such as a professional welcome greeting with department selection options (IVR), ring groups, call forwarding and voicemail to email streamline inbound enquires, give the impression that you are a larger organisation than you currently are and allow you to deal with incoming calls and messages efficiently and professionally.
TLDR? Basically, VoIP can easily grow and scale as your business does, and is a cost-efficient alternative especially for small businesses looking to reduce any additional costs.
Want to get VoIP for your business? Find out more about our telephony service here, or click the green button below to contact us today!
eVantage Technology is a professional and trusted IT solutions provider, dedicated to providing exceptional service to companies in Singapore and across Asia.