12 Powerful Business Benefits of VoIP
What Is VoIP? How Is It Different from Cloud PBX?
Before we get started, let’s get clear on something very important. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is also referred to as Hosted VoIP, Business VoIP, Cloud PBX, and a variety of other terms with similar meanings.
For example, at WideCC we refer to our internet-based communications offerings as Cloud PBX, but we provide nearly the same features and functionality (with the same benefits) as what others refer to as VoIP or Business VoIP.
To avoid confusing the matter any further, we’ll be referring to all of these offerings under the term “VoIP” in this article. Now that we have that cleared up, let’s get to the good stuff!
1. Lower Costs
Cost savings is one of the benefits of VoIP that virtually any business can appreciate. You can only install so many phone lines and costs quickly add up, especially if your business regularly makes long-distance calls.
With communication data being modified into data packets and sent over the IP network, the issue of a single phone line being able to be utilized by only two callers is eliminated. The IP network could be a direct IP connection to your phone service provider or simply your existing internet connect (or a combination of both).
Traditional phone lines typically charge for each minute of call time, where with VoIP your only costs are your monthly charges from your ISP. In fact, many providers offer inexpensive or even free calling to, for example, the contiguous United States.
Cost-Effective Hardware and Software
One of the additional cost benefits of VoIP is the limited costs associated with hardware and software required to operate the system. Quality providers ensure their clients always have the most up-to-date software and provide current hardware. This eliminates the need for businesses to purchase their own phones and infrastructure, which can result in additional cost savings.
2. Simplified Conferencing
Without the need for dedicated phone lines, conferencing is simplified considerably. Traditional phone systems allow for conferencing, but you’ll end up paying for an additional service and hosting multiple callers each time you need to conference.
With a converged data network, these features are typically native and the cost is built into the already lower price of the VoIP service that you’re already paying for.
More Than Just Voice Calls
An additional benefit of VoIP is that it makes video conferencing far simpler as well. In fact, you can transfer various media formats (images, video, text) during your phone or video calls to dramatically improve your ability to conduct presentations or solve issues on the fly.
3. Worldwide Access
More employers are discovering the benefits of having their staff work from home in exchange for smaller office spaces, decreased utilities costs, etc.
What they’re also discovering are the benefits of VoIP that allow their employees to telecommute so effectively. VoIP allows employees to remotely utilize the voice, fax, and data services of your office via your intranet.
VoIP technology has become extremely portable, allowing users to connect from home offices and abroad. What’s more is that your employee’s number follows them to their new home office when they make the change.
Mobility of Your Service
While telecommuting is one thing, one of the lesser mentioned benefits of VoIP is that the entire service is highly mobile. Whereas traditional phone systems require a unique number to be assigned to each line and transferring those numbers can be complicated, VoIP is different. In the event that you outgrow your current office or need to change locations for any reason, your VoIP system can be easily transferred.
4. Better Use of Bandwidth
On of the little known benefits of VoIP is that it makes for a more efficient use of your existing bandwidth. As roughly half of voice conversations are made up of silence, VoIP continues to fill those information gaps with other data from other bandwidth consumers to make better use of your resources. What’s more is that VoIP allows for compression and elimination of speech redundancies to further improve efficiencies.
5. Extensive Additional Features
Many businesses don’t fully understand all of the benefits and additional features that are included in a VoIP service. VoIP systems allow you to connect a wide variety of devices to keep your business’ productivity high.
VoIP services typically include features like caller ID, virtual numbers, contact lists, voicemail etc., but these features can all be used in more sophisticated ways to boost operational efficiency. For example, voicemails and messages can be forwarded to multiple colleagues with a single click, and voicemail-to-text transcriptions can be sent directly to your inbox so they can be reviewed while on the go.
Many features are included in various provider packages and, due to the flexible nature of the service, custom VoIP services can be designed based on the unique needs of your business.
6. Network Flexibility
One of the benefits of VoIP that your IT team will enjoy is that its underlying network need not be a part of a specific technology layout. That means your existing ethernet, SONET, ATM, or even your WiFi can be used as the foundation for your network.
The complexity of PSTN (traditional) phone networks is virtually eliminated. This allows for a more standardized system to be implemented that supports a variety of communication types while being more tolerant of faults and requiring less management of equipment.
7. Fax over IP
One of the additional benefits of VoIP is that most providers include Fax over IP as a part of their service. Fax over IP all but eliminates the high costs of long-distance facsimile, as well as improves compatibility between machines and reliability of service.
Once again, fax information is transmitted via data packets that dramatically improve efficiency. In fact, VoIP doesn’t even require a fax machine to send or receive a fax.
8. More Effective Communication
With your personnel working from various points within the office, their home, or around the world, keeping them within reach is critical. One of the more interesting benefits of VoIP is that you can have a single call ring to your desk phone for the first few rings, then to your mobile phone, tablet, or laptop if the call goes unanswered. This way urgent calls are answered more often and less time is spent checking voicemail or corresponding over other platforms.
9. Highly Reliable
One of the most common (and inaccurate) objections to VoIP is that if a business finds themselves without internet for whatever reason, they’d be without phone as well. One of the benefits of VoIP flexibility is that in the event of an office phone going down due to lack of network, calls can always be forwarded to mobile phones and other devices. That also means weather issues and power outages no longer present the risk they once did.
10. Ease of Installation, Configuration, Maintenance
One of our favorite benefits of VoIP is that IP phones are incredibly easy to install—even for those who are less technically savvy. There is no need to have expert technicians running phone wiring throughout your office. Instead, IP phones are virtually plug-and-play.
Hosted VoIP software also makes it incredibly simple to add new users, and a web portal makes moving, adding, or changing your systems configuration much easier. All of this simplicity means maintenance is straightforward and rarely requires professional support.
Highly efficient business systems scale with the needs of the business, but traditional phones systems are far more difficult to scale. Scalability is one of the benefits of VoIP that supports your efficiency and productivity while remaining highly cost effective at the same time.
VoIP systems allow you to add a line as you hire a new employee and eliminate lines in the case of downsizing. You’re only ever paying for what you need.
12. Easy Integration with Other Business Systems
Your business likely utilizes various other systems and technologies to enhance your operational efficiencies. VoIP easily integrates with a wide variety of existing business systems.
That means you’ll realize all of the benefits of VoIP without requiring modification of your existing applications or IT infrastructure. For example, outbound calls can be placed via Outlook or other email systems and customer records can even be viewed during the inbound call with said customer.