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  • 7 Benefits of VoIP for Small Business 

    March 9, 2023

    VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) began in 1925 with the arrival of technology needed for its successful deployment. However, mass adoption had to wait for the internet, cellular services, and fibre optics before it became mainstream in 2010. Although many businesses initially adopted VoIP between 2010 and 2015, it wasn’t until 2019 that VoIP came into its own.

    Large corporations were early adopters of VoIP because they could afford the costs of operating a system in-house and realised significant cost savings on international and domestic calls. With the increase in cloud-based solutions, small and medium businesses can now reap the benefits of VoIP technology.

    VoIP Call Center

    What is VoIP?

    VoIP technology allows voice calls to be sent over an internet connection instead of analogueue phone lines. The technology converts voices into digital signals that can cross the internet. Calls can be initiated from personal computers or IP and traditional phones. Wireless services support the technology. 

    VoIP solutions can be on-premise or cloud-based. With cloud-based solutions, VoIP software resides in the cloud. When an employee initiates a call, the cloud-based solution is responsible for converting the voice signals into data packets that are sent over the internet. Companies no longer need phone lines, just a reliable internet connection.

    On-premise solutions require equipment to be installed at a company’s location. The hardware and software provide the conversion capabilities that a cloud-based solution offers. Although businesses must pay for the equipment and software maintenance, they do not need an analogueue phone line. Calls and data can be sent over the internet connection.

    What Are the Benefits of VoIP for Small Business?

    Depending on the size and industry, companies can gain an advantage over competitors who maintain a traditional phone system. It levels the playing field because small and medium-sized businesses can use the same features as larger organisations. Most importantly, the technology delivers cost savings over traditional analogue systems.

    Cost Savings

    The following statistics show that cutting communication costs is the primary reason organisations move to IP phone systems.

    • Small businesses can lower the cost of local calls by up to 40% with VoIP.
    • Integrating web and voice conferencing can lower costs by as much as 30%.
    • Small businesses can save as much as 45% per month over traditional phone solutions.

    While saving money may be the motivating factor, an internet phone system offers other advantages. These savings do not include indirect cost savings such as the following:

    • Companies do not have to maintain separate data and voice networks.
    • Businesses avoid landline expenses such as setup fees, PBX systems, and switches.
    • Organisations save on the cost of local and international analogue calls.

    Accessibility

    Most solutions have a softphone application that can turn any device into a business phone. You can use an IP phone as long as there’s an internet connection. You can manage your business communications from anywhere with features such as call forwarding and emailed voicemails.

    With more employees working from home or in remote locations, employers can give employees the flexibility they want without losing productivity. No one needs to wait until everyone is in the office. Colleagues are just a call away.

    Scalability

    VoIP can grow with your business. With a cloud-based solution, you don’t need to worry about added phone lines or costly equipment. Add more phones during peak times when call volumes are high. Or, consider the cost savings when you add another location — minus the analogue costs. 

    Companies no longer have to wait when they add employees. Phones will be available when the new hire arrives on the first day. When employees leave or relocate, connections can be reassigned or removed without worrying about expensive equipment being unused.

    Advanced Features

    Advanced features allow organisations of all sizes to have capabilities such as auto attendants. Whether a company has 20 or 200 employees, an auto attendant can be configured with the same number of departments. VoIP provides a small business with the following features.

    • Call transfer
    • Call hold
    • Call forwarding
    • Call hunt

    Call conferencing, another VoIP feature means multiple people can join a conversation without special equipment or added cost. With these advanced capabilities, small businesses can have the same communication experience as their larger counterparts.

    Productivity

    Beyond cost savings, VoIP facilitates virtual meetings and international conferencing. It increases productivity as employees can easily connect with customers and colleagues. With combined data and voice, video conferencing becomes a possibility.

    Employees can send and receive documents and images while on a call, making for more productive meetings. No need to email information to people after a meeting. Tasks can be sent immediately, whether it’s an in-person or virtual meeting.

    When tasks drag on, productivity goes down. VoIP makes communicating easier with multiple methods to stay in touch. Customers can leave messages or be forwarded to someone who can help them—no need for phone tag or never-ending voicemails.

    Security

    Phone systems are not typically part of a cybersecurity plan, but they should be. Hackers use social engineering to gain access to sensitive information. They may call and ask for personal information, which leads to identity theft. 

    More often, hackers compromise a mobile phone. Because mobile phones are used for emails, web browsing, and calls, breaching a phone gives them access to a wealth of information. If that phone is connected to a business, the company is at risk. 

    VoIP technology can reduce security risks through advancements in IP protocols. IP technology can provide encryption and monitor activity to mitigate the risk of a security breach. A VoIP provider should undergo security audits, enable automated alerts, and monitor call behaviour.

    Technology

    Two emerging technologies will impact VoIP: 5G and artificial intelligence (AI).

    • 5G. Cellular providers are moving to 5G networks because they are faster and have lower latency. That means no more talking over others when on a conference call. More bandwidth means more data and voice can be sent without increasing latency. 
    • AI. As machine learning advances, incorporating it into VoIP solutions enables more task automation. Calls could be transcribed, or meeting notes could be created automatically. Ai is currently being deployed in chatbots and virtual assistants that reduce the time employees need to spend on repetitive tasks.

    With advancing technology and existing functionality, more VoIP solutions will become available with more features. How do you know what solution is right for your business?

    Productivity Increases with VoIP

    How to Decide if VoIP is Good for Your Business

    With no shortage of options, small business owners need to identify what they need from a phone system before they start looking. It is easy to be persuaded by new functionality that isn’t what your business really needs. Consider the following as you make your list.

    • What are your calling patterns?
    • What locations do you call most often?
    • Does your call pattern fluctuate?
    • How reliable is your internet connection?
    • What calling features are most important? Call forwarding, call following, call transfers?
    • Do you need video capabilities?
    • How experienced is the VoIP provider?
    • How will the solution integrate with existing systems?

    These are just a few questions to ask as you look for a VoIP solution. You will also need to assess your existing infrastructure to ensure you can support a VoIP solution. If you’re unsure how a VoIP solution would work in your environment, contact TechSeek

    TechSeek Can Help

    As a managed IT services provider, TechSeek has the knowledge and experience to help small businesses evaluate their infrastructure and identify communication needs. They can assist small business owners in ensuring their technology needs are being met.TechSeek specialises in managed IT for small businesses because we understand that small businesses have big company needs.