You may have heard of Voice Over IP but what does that mean? VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It is a system of delivery for voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. Communication takes place through an internet connection rather than traditional telephone landlines. Because of this, VoIP is helping to change the workplace for small businesses by creating options and adding features they wouldn’t have otherwise.
VoIP comes with a wide selection of extra features like call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, caller ID, three-way calling and more. You can also send data like documents and pictures while you are engaging in a conversation. Some other interesting extras are:
“Find Me” Call Routing: For example, when someone calls your work phone, after two rings without answering, your cell phone rings. Then after two rings with no answer, your house phone rings. If there is no answer it will forward the caller to voicemail. Auto attendant is another feature which allows callers to interact with a menu and they choose where their call is directed.
Call Screening: You can see the caller-ID then decide to forward to a certain number/extension or just disconnect the call.
Voicemail to Email Transcription: This extension can translate your voicemail to text and send it to your email, making it easier to search for important information.
Music on Hold: allows you to choose which music or unique message your callers get to listen to while on hold.
Data Reports: This outline provides detailed reports on call history, duration, origin, destination and more for your business to track and adjust.
Coaching Tools: Two sub tools called Barge and Whisper. Barge allows you to listen/ monitor a call without interruption unless you choose to alert them. Whisper allows you to communicate with your co-worker without the person on the other end of the call being aware.
Conferencing: Take conference calls to the next level by managing invites, “hand-raises”, and muting parties.
Do Not Disturb: You can access a do-not-disturb period. This feature allows the caller to be forwarded to another line or sent to voicemail.
Call Group: This feature lets you dial one number/extension and have it connected to multiple users within that group. The group can be called simultaneously or in any order that you specify.
Low Cost: With traditional phone systems, you paid “carriage fees” which are extra costs for having your call delivered through landlines. VoIP generally does not require a contract like typical phone systems. For VoIP services, there are many different plans, such as pay-as-you-go, or pay-per line which also cut down on unnecessary fees and saves you more money over time. This also means there is only one account/bill for phone and internet.
Portability/Mobile Capability: With VoIP, you can take the phone to the new office and just connect to the internet with no number change when you move. Self-installation is as easy as just hooking the phone up to a power source and to your internet connection. Not in the office? You can still access your phones via internet apps or mobile phone (this is a part of your provider’s app/third-party’s app). From signing into your broadband account, business communications can easily accessible and centralized (instead of having different sources for social networking, texting, messaging, web video conferencing). If you are frequently on the road, or away from the office but wish to remain connected, you can do so at minimal cost. This makes VoIP more convenient than a traditional phone line.
Support: There is easier access to support through your provider for VoIP. Many services offer 24/7 support with live people.
Sales Potential: Sales and marketing generally require traveling as part of the job. With VoIP, you have internet access, so you’ll never miss a call or opportunity again. For example, with Auto Attendant, your caller can find the extension they need, instead of going through multiple different channels.
Bandwidth Dependency: VoIP competes for bandwidth with other business activities such as email. Unfortunately, VoIP is dependent on a steady supply of bandwidth. There also needs to be some sort of internet connection. For non-mobile phones, there is the need for a power supply. Voice and call quality: With minimal bandwidth, calls can appear delayed or even disappear. Along with reduced voice quality making the call seemed muffled. Most providers will check to make sure you have enough before proceeding.
Power Usage: VoIP needs an internet connection. This may cause issues if there is a power outage or electrical problem in the area or in your business. However, if you have the cell phone app, you would still be able to make calls. Also, you can get UPS systems to keep your internet and phones running for a while in a power outage.
Security: Since VoIP is a phone service via the internet, there will be possible security concerns. The most prominent issues are identity/service theft and call tampering/phishing attacks. Using firewalls and other forms of web protection will help lower the chances of encountering these types of issues.
If you are interested or need help in setting up your VoIP system, the nerds at #TechStarters can help you!