Digital telephone services, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), and IP Telephony (Internet Protocol telecommunications services offer many potential benefits to businesses in the all-important areas of cost and productivity. What those benefits are may not be obvious. And leveraging them for a specific business isn’t necessarily easy. First, let us review the basic telecom options all businesses have.
A Brief Review of Telecom Options
In the old days, you signed up with a provider of business telephone services and plugged in the phones. If you needed other telecom services, you subscribed to software for collaboration, videoconferencing, and so on. Some businesses only need the minimal functions available through plain old telephone service (POTS) technology. The old copper phone lines are rapidly going away as technology evolves and business owners’ expectations change.
This means that every business owner who hasn’t transitioned to IP telephone services has a good reason to look at digital options, namely VoIP (voice over internet protocol) telephone service. You will see VoIP and IP telephones, and similar terms, used interchangeably. That’s not wrong, but at the same time, IP telephony covers a wider range of communication tools and processes. VoIP is about phone calls and voicemail, while IP telephony is about a wider range of communications tools, including Web chat and online collaboration. So, think in those terms whenever “VoIP” or “IP telephone service” come up. These services offer numerous advantages over legacy POTS lines.
The Many Advantages of IP Telephony
VoIP phones and associated services offer numerous advantages over other telecom options. The most likely option a small business might choose is the option to just get by with phone service and email, and sometimes a separate fax machine. Another business might have a subscription to Microsoft Teams, plus email, phone service, and even a fax machine. Here are some reasons to seriously consider VoIP and related technologies:
- Saving money – A company that has a dozen phones and makes lots of long-distance calls will run up a substantial phone bill each month. A company with 20 business lines might be paying $2,000 a month or more. Switching to VoIP might save that company $1,000 a month while getting numerous advantages in quality, efficiency, and more.
- Better call quality – Analog phone lines offer decent, if uneven, quality. The same is true of cloud-based collaboration tools. If you’ve made a voice call through Skype or Teams, you know how things go. A cheap VoIP phone offers excellent quality regardless of where you and the other party happen to be located. All you need on both ends is a good broadband connection.
- Streamlining remote work – Portable, wireless communication through laptops, tablets, and smartphones will make it easier for workers to connect from multiple locations with other employees, with freelance talent (if you contract out some of your work) and, of course, with current or potential clients. Remote work arrangements are popular today, and remote work may improve productivity, while also decreasing your overhead.
- Easy service integration – IP telephone services offer the capability to send faxes via mail, to collaborate while video chatting, videoconferencing, conference calling, and file sharing without having to manage separate email, fax, chat, and conferencing functions.
- Higher mobility – Changing numbers, adding extensions, and setting up call forwarding or adding new lines are all minor administrative tasks, but they still take time and cost money. A VoIP phone can go with an employee anywhere by simply moving the physical phone. Many providers offer “softphones,” which is just software that simulates the functions of a real phone.
To summarize, getting away from older analog phone service offers, with help of an IP telephony vendor like DirecTech, is a great way for California businesses to save money, improve worker productivity, and more. It might take some planning and some time to leverage the features of IP telephony that deliver those benefits.
Leveraging IP Telephony
Making the most of IP-based telecom systems just takes some planning and decision-making. Do not miss a huge opportunity by treating VoIP phones as if they were digital versions of landline phones. You can leverage the digital systems’ additional features to save time, improve employee productivity, and even increase customer satisfaction.
Your digital phone system will give you easy access to data on callers and how employees respond to phone calls. For example, you can find out what percentage of calls get missed, how many of those people leave voice messages, overall call volume by day and week, cancellations, and more. The details vary with the type of business, but the basic idea is the same: You easily get detailed information that you can use to make various marketing decisions or personnel adjustments.
The second most important step, after understanding what VoIP can do for your specific business, is to make sure relevant employees know how to use the technology. You will want to give them tailored instructions on using collaboration, calling, and other features to streamline different workflows or processes.
Depending on the system, you may also be able to integrate email and customer relationship management (CRM) software into your new telecom system. Once this is done, recording interactions with customers and other sales and marketing functions will be faster. You may be able to upsell or retain more people this way versus your previous methods.
The Benefits of IP Telephony are Impossible to Ignore
Moving from analog to digital IP telephone service offers several advantages to the small business owner. If you know how to leverage those benefits you can save money, improve customer service, and make your employees more productive. Contact DirecTech today to find out how our VoIP phone systems and services can make your business more efficient.