Customer service is the backbone of any small business, and good customer service begins with communication. The ability to easily contact clients and suppliers, and to be readily accessible to customers of all kinds, can be the difference between success and failure for any small enterprise. Traditional phone service has changed very little since its inception in the late 19th century. While there have been improvements in technology, the fundamental service has remained unchanged. Today, businesses demand a telephone service that is more dynamic, with more subscriber options and flexibility than ever before. That’s why many small businesses are turning to VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) for their telephone service.
What Exactly is VOIP?
At its most basic, VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), converts analog phone signals into digital data that can be transmitted over a standard internet connection. This does away with the need for cumbersome traditional phone lines and equipment, and allows for the delivery of multiple data streams along one Ethernet connection. VOIP can greatly reduce phone service costs for commercial users, and makes it easier for offices to expand their phone system to meet the demands of a growing business.
Traditional Phone Service vs VOIP
Traditional phone service requires offices to install a large amount of costly hardware. Not only is the hardware expensive, it is difficult to maintain and takes up a great deal of valuable office space. A typical office with multiple phone lines needs a phone switch, consisting of a bulky terminal with an array of physical phone wires running to and from all of the telephones in the office. The typical phone switch terminal can be plagued by delays and malfunctions, and repairs are difficult, time consuming and expensive.
VOIP telephone service does away with the need for an on-site phone switch entirely. In effect, the VOIP service is the switch, with calls being transmitted as data through the companies computer network. VOIP technology is easier to install, and easier to maintain, than traditional telephone equipment, and requires fewer on-site service visits. A business’ VOIP service provider can address most performance issues online, eliminating the frustration of waiting for mobile service technicians to arrive on site. As a web-based service, VOIP also makes it much easier to modify, streamline, and upgrade a business’ telephone system.
VOIP In the Office
While VOIP phone service may be easier to install and maintain, and less expensive than its traditional counterpart, what matters most to growing businesses is performance. Using VOIP phone technology offers a wide array of features that make it perfect for office use.
Anyone who has worked in an office knows how difficult it is to successfully master the internal call forwarding system. Many calls can be missed, and that can lead to a loss in productivity. VOIP’s web-based technology makes it easy to forward calls with its integrated ‘find-me follow-me’ features. This makes it possible for employees to access calls from their mobile devices, or from anywhere with an internet connection. Employees can also access voice mail and email from their mobile phone or laptop, without the need for passwords or phone codes.
With VOIP each employee, or sales representative, can be given their own dedicated phone number at a fraction of the cost offered by traditional phone service. This makes it easier for clients and customers to stay in touch, which translates to improved customer service and greater productivity. Assigning dedicated phone numbers to each employee also allows management to monitor their sale personnel’s performance.
VOIP phone technology also makes it easy and cost effective to add any new features to a business’ phone service. New applications are constantly being developed, and these features are easy to integrate into existing VOIP services. With traditional telephone service, these new features and upgrades would require the expensive installation of new hardware, but with VOIP upgrades can be made quickly, efficiently and inexpensively.
For small businesses, VOIP technology offers everything they need in reliable telephone service. VOIP is cost efficient, user friendly and easy to upgrade with new features. For the small business owner, VOIP phone service is more than just a way to save money. VOIP is the pathway to better customer service, improved productivity and greater success in a competitive marketplace.