Small to mid-sized businesses typically use a standard phone system, but what happens when calls go unanswered because you need to tend to other more important items like managing cash flow? A VoIP service can save your business cash in a few ways and provide an answering service so your customers feel taken care of without getting a busy signal.
A recent MarketResearch.com survey estimates that just half of worldwide telecom needs are serviced using internet-based technology. VoIP uses the internet connection to place and receive calls so if you have a connection, a VoIP set up is easy.
When starting out, here are some tips to find the right phone systems for your business.
- Cost savings is the number one reason business owners use VoIP. VoIP service providers provides advanced features (call forwarding, call transferring, etc.) at a cost traditional landline systems can’t match. Phone calls can’t be geographically routed so long distance charges are not applied no matter if you call across your own country or to another country.
- Maintenance for this type of phone system hardly applies. A hosted system routes your calls to a provider’s location first and then your business using an internet connection so the expensive equipment can be hosted off-site. If you decide you want a PBX or KSU system, you’ll need to buy new phones and / or adaptors. New equipment is one of the easiest items to negotiate on with a provider and most often salespeople will use this to make a deal.
- Remote access using a VoIP system is easy. If you travel or have other employees in another location, a VoIP system makes it easy to join conference.
- Through a VoIP phone system, you can monitor your calls including talk time, calls placed and hold times. If you have a consulting company, or provide legal advice billing by the hour, your phone system can track each call time so billing is easy. Make sure this feature is added in your contract ahead of time.
- Security can be an issue because the system goes through the internet. Providers generally won’t remove this from your contract (and do charge a small amount) so it is better to negotiate on equipment and contract terms instead.
Customer service with VoIP providers is important. Internet connections can drop and service can get interrupted. The provider should be able to guarantee a certain number of minutes a month that your service will not be interrupted. Most of the time, you won’t be able to negotiate this number, but make sure you are comfortable with it before signing.
Image by Scott Clark.