VOIP stands for ‘Voice over IP’ and it isn’t new. As a matter of fact, VOIP technology has been around for the past 20 years but in recent years, it has rapidly grown in popularity. It is basically making a telephone call using the internet. As the internet grew beyond sending data over a dedicated landline, so did the possibility of how we communicate. In today’s world, using traditional landlines at all is rapidly becoming a thing of the past as businesses and even residential homes are making the switch to VOIP phone and for good reason. Not only do you get the same thing for cheaper, you get so much more.
There are an estimated 128 million subscribers using telephone-to-telephone VOIP alone. This doesn’t include computer-to-computer or the many other methods used by VOIP to connect people and companies. That number is expected to grow every year as VOIP becomes more popular for both residential clients and businesses alike. That alone is a persuasive number to make the switch to VOIP phone but, unlike a traditional landline, IT services can help your company utilize VOIP to stay connected. Because of the nature of VOIP, companies can do a lot more when it comes to sharing information. eFaxing, for example, is far less of a hassle than using a traditional fax and fax line. Not only is there an absence of hardware, but you don’t have to have wires and a landline to send important documents. With VOIP all you need is the internet. And, thanks to features like call forwarding, your company can provide customer support to your clients, or computer support internally, all the time.
As mentioned above, there are millions of VOIP users. As other businesses realize the convenience of it, they’ll be making the switch. But even without other companies or clients using VOIP, there are a lot of benefits within your own company. Those same benefits like efax or 24/7 customer support benefit the internal communications of any company as well. Follow Me and Find Me call routing means that you and your employees can reach one another much easier in the event of an urgent situation. This feature, when enabled, will ring a phone and if it isn’t picked up after a few rings, it will automatically go to another device and so on. It can be setup to go to voice mail or transfer to another office. Your IT support or a business technology company can help setup this handy feature. When using voice mail, many VOIP providers offer a voicemail transcribing service that’ll convert the audio message into text. This means that even if you are in the middle of a meeting, an important or urgent voicemail can be forwarded to another team member that can handle it. Another great feature for your company is coaching. Barge and whisper allows you to alert an employee during a phone call or, provide non-obtrusive tips and advice while an employee is interacting with a client that will make training easier. Conferences, even video conferences, are made easier and are a feature that can allow a conference with many different employees—all of who may have many different, strong opinions—to interact in a straight forward, organized fashion.
Though most residential users are likely more grateful for this feature than your company may be, but call screening is a big bonus with VOIP phone. Telemarketers are the bane of many homeowners’ existence but companies also deal with automated calling systems, prank callers, and various other intrusive call ins. Call screening can be a useful feature for many small businesses that do not necessarily have the staff to field unnecessary, unwanted phone calls during the day. And, those companies also can enjoy the perks of interactive menus. Most, if not all telephone users are already familiar with these systems as they are directed to dial or say certain things in order to be directed to the correct person. This isn’t a new technology, but it is invaluable for any company with several moving parts.
Coke, for example, utilizes the features listed above and have done away with voicemail all together.
Ultimately the biggest motivator for switching your company to VOIP is likely cost. With a traditional landline setup and hardware for each user it adds up very quickly, and it can continue to be costly as employees move onto other opportunities in other companies or to the corner office. IT support has to work to make these changes internally as well as counting on your service provider to do their part. Plus there are the ongoing expenses of making long distance phone calls or having dedicated fax lines and the equipment needed for that. Overall, VOIP can save a company between 40% and 75% annually on the phone bill. As VOIP technology continues to experience wide use and software companies create new ways to use VOIP (8×8 can integrate Microsoft Outlook with VOIP so that you can call a contact from the computer), companies will continue to experience benefits for a fraction of the cost of a traditional landline.
Even at 20 years old, VOIP is still a young technology, and it is still at the beginning of a new era. In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell got the patent for the first telephone. Almost 150 years later much of the world is still using that technology but, as VOIP phone gains popularity and with the internet available virtually everywhere, the era of Bell’s creation is coming to an end and being replaced with a system that can do the same job and more. And the trend isn’t a fad; it’s expected to explode in the coming years, as evidenced by this report published by QY Research, ‘VoIP Software Market Size, Application Analysis, Regional Outlook, Competitive Strategies, and Forecasts 2018 -2025’.
The sooner your company makes the jump to VOIP, the better. The world is changing and connecting in ways that we’ve never seen before, and at an affordable rate that any business can afford. The question is: Why not switch to VOIP?