Should I install a VoIP phone system in a small business?3rd September 2018
VoIP – otherwise known as Voice over Internet Protocol – services have risen in popularity among small businesses. The proportion of small businesses using VoIP systems rather than more traditional, hardwired systems for their telecommunications needs has neared the 40% mark.
According to another statistic shared by Forbes, more than 20% of small businesses have taken up the hosted form of VoIP, which is cloud-based. Do these promising statistics suggest that you should follow suit for a small business of your own? The answer isn’t entirely straightforward.
Small businesses can quickly start benefitting from VoIP
In the corporate world, image can be crucial. Potential customers or clients can form an impression of your company even from its telecoms system. Imagine, for example, how off-putting it could be to dial a company only to hear crackling that distorts their voice on the phone line.
It wouldn’t lead you to garner the most positive impression of the company, which is why you should take note when Business News Daily says that VoIP systems can deliver even better voice quality than landline networks. For that, you can be grateful for advanced high-definition codecs which have significantly improved that call quality since the 1990s, when the systems debuted commercially.
That impressive call quality can help tempt people to buy from a small business – which, in using a VoIP phone system, could save money right from the start. As calls are made over an internet connection, they are effectively free and so result in savings potentially totalling 90%.
Not so fast! Checks to make before proceeding with VoIP
Given the much vouched-for benefits for small businesses that go down the VoIP route, you might wonder why you shouldn’t quickly act to implement such a solution for your fledgling firm. However, some small companies could still fall short of necessities for a well-oiled VoIP system.
As a VoIP phone service is online-based, ensuring a strong internet connection for your company is imperative. To this end, you should assess whether the firm’s upload bandwidth is sufficient for the volume of phone calls that it anticipates running concurrently.
The business will also need to spare enough bandwidth for other traffic on its network. To prevent VoIP phone calls cutting out inopportunely, you might need to check that the office firewall and router are capable of prioritising VoIP traffic above standard Internet traffic.
If your company’s network passes all of these tests, then a VoIP phone system is likely to be a viable option. In fact, that can be the case for many businesses, so don’t be despondent about your own company’s suitability for VoIP if you haven’t yet carried out the above checks.
Does your company often spend money redressing technical difficulties?
There are various examples of regular costs that can burn up much of a company’s budget to a potentially detrimental effect on that firm’s financial health. However, in our very technology-dependent world, it’s little surprise that technical issues can often account for such costs.
Frustration can easily set in if, when you use a landline, it goes down and leaves issues that need to be diagnosed and fixed. Those tasks can never be completed speedily or easily, meaning that your company could be bereft of a phone system on occasions when it really needs it.
Since missing out on even just a few calls can make a meaningful difference to a small company’s bottom line, this gives you another good reason to strongly consider a VoIP solution. It can enable you to significantly cut out instances of dropped calls and so, potentially, missed revenue as well.
Other ways your firm can avoid missing out on vital revenue
When running a small business, every little penny can count. For that reason, you don’t want to needlessly fritter away money on frivolous things or, for that matter, lose opportunities to add to your monetary takings. Fortunately, a VoIP phone system can help you on both counts.
The potential month-by-month savings bear repeat emphasis. Most businesses using a VoIP phone service from our telecoms business, Planet Numbers, shave at least 75% off their monthly phone costs. This service can also help your own business act more readily on money-making opportunities.
Let’s look at the scenario of brutal weather, like flooding or heavy snow, leaving your usual office – and, with it, your usual work handset – inaccessible. This doesn’t have to pose a big dilemma with hosted VoIP, which could automatically route incoming calls to a different phone outside the office.
You also shouldn’t overlook the tools which are provided with a Planet Numbers VoIP package and could help turbo-charge your employees’ productivity. Each such package comes with a menu of virtual switchboard options like call queuing and call tracking.
We will also provide an instant messaging facility for your staff’s day-to-day use. This facility could get them out of more than a few pickles. One possible example is that of an employee wanting to communicate something urgent to a specific co-worker without hampering their own success in a conference call that could win the company some valuable new revenue streams.
Pressing situations like this can especially effectively answer the question of whether your small business should be handed its ownVoIP phone system.
With a VoIP system, you can keep an eye on future growth
While your company might be small now, you shouldn’t scotch its chances of significant growth, which could happen sooner than you expect. Fortunately, VoIP can give you a very flexible office phone system for when you want to branch out to a second office…and a third…and so on.
This is because, as your company goes from strength to strength, it’s easy for you to provision new lines. It can be a matter of just clicking particular buttons on the system’s online interface, waiting for new desk phones to arrive days later and then plugging these handsets into Ethernet ports.
Yes, that’s all you might need to do to add a phone line for a recruit as they join the growing company. If your personnel carry iOS and Android phones, those can also be given apps allowing the devices’ integration with the office system. That’s ideal for when on-the-go calls are necessary.
You don’t even need to change any of the company’s numbers which you might have already printed on reams of publicity materials. With our hosted solution, you can keep all of those numbers or, if you favour, using new ones; memorable geographic and non-geographic ones are available from Planet Numbers. These are yet more examples of merits of VoIP for businesses that are just starting out.