Whether you run a restaurant chain or a financial brokerage, communication between employees and customers is crucial for your profit margins. The old standard communication was the landline, complete with multiple lines and hold buttons. Today’s fast-paced world demands a more modern approach to business calls. VoIP, or Voice-Over Internet Protocol, uses a broadband connection to move voice calls between callers. Customers will typically never know the line they called is being sent through Internet data packets. However, all technology has its advantages and disadvantages.
One of the drawbacks to VoIP is sound quality. If you’re employees are streaming video, accessing email or using the Internet for large downloads, the VoIP is negatively affected. Sound quality drops, making the caller sound far away or cutting the words in half with periodic silence. Companies would have to work with the VoIP provider to select enough broadband that supports all the employees’ Internet needs. The right hardware also needs to be considered. Poor sound quality reflects directly on the company, turning some customers off from the frustrating communication experience.
Long-distance charges used to plague businesses, creating a huge debt against otherwise stellar profits. VoIP doesn’t use any long-distance charges in their features. The Internet and broadband spans the globe to a certain extent. If your company works closely with Japan, for example, the connection is simply digital data packets passing back and forth. It would be similar to constant email passing between colleagues. Some VoIP providers charge certain fees for particular communication times and frequencies. Read over the contract before agreeing to the terms. All agreements are largely negotiable. There are many VoIP companies waiting to bid on your business. The key is to find the right fit for your profit goals.
One of the best parts of a traditional telephone line was its use during a power outage. You had access to emergency personnel or other employees. However, VoIP requires an electrical source at all times. If any power outages occur, your customers will be greeted by a dead line. In any business, that’s cause for concern, especially if the outage is for more than just a few minutes. To make matters worse, you must always have a strong Internet connection. Intermittent broadband or complete signal fading is a recipe for down telephone systems. Although these power and Internet problems are rare, you must consider their impact on your business if they do occur. Creating a backup plan may be necessary, such as keeping a traditional landline on-hand for emergency purposes.
No Costly Training Period
In the past, a new telephone system required extensive training for all employees, especially reception workers. VoIP systems may sound complicated, but they operate like a real telephone. Simply pick up the phone and start speaking. The system itself does all the work changing voice into digital data and vice versa. Companies will see a quick adoption of the system with little training necessary to get employees back to work.
Security and Emergencies
When you negotiate with the VoIP provider, verify if the company supports emergency calls. Many VoIP providers don’t have this feature, making it difficult to handle emergencies. There’s also concern about hacking into systems to listen in on calls. The provider should have a security system as part of each call to scramble signals. For businesses in sensitive fields, a hacked call could be disastrous to profits, employees and customers.
You may be used to voicemail as a basic feature for phones, but VoIP goes even further with its versatility. Those voicemails can be changed into email messages, forwarded immediately to the necessary recipient. For urgent needs, this feature gives the caller a chance to be heard if the recipient doesn’t check their voicemail for several hours. Email is often checked at least once an hour in business, making it an efficient way to notify workers of customers’ needs.
VoIP is slowly becoming a standard in business phone systems. When you contact a VoIP provider, they should evaluate your business as a unique entity. You’ll need specific features to serve both your employees and customers on a daily basis. Finding a VOIP company that listens is your best bet for a quality system that delivers clear conversations.