Part I: Understanding the Benefits of a Voice over IP (VoIP) Solution

20
Oct

Converting from a standard wired phone system to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution provides businesses with various advantages and efficiencies. If you have not yet switched to VoIP or if you are not taking advantage of all the features now available to you, this blog series is for you.

Voice over Internet Protocol allows voice calls to be made using an existing internet connection instead of a phone line. Reliability, low capital costs, predictable on-going costs, and the ability to interface with systems are the key drivers to adoption.

Several years ago, I was content with our business’ phone system. We had an on-premise switch that was all paid for and working just fine. We had voice mail and an auto attendant, and we even paid a professional to record our on-hold messaging. So why did we discard that system and burden our company with a new monthly fee for VoIP service? Because we could serve our clients better, improve efficiencies, and recover from power or service outages immediately with VoIP. This is true if you are using a cloud-based VoIP system.

One of the problems that we encountered with our old switch system was the number of lines we needed to pay for each month. Our company needed enough lines so that we could handle conference calling. When we conferenced another party, we used the primary line and then required an additional line for each additional party on the conference. An extra phone line was also required when we implemented the ‘follow me’ feature. This feature allowed my desk phone to forward to my cell phone when I was away from my desk. This issue of requiring extra lines went away with the use of VoIP.

With a VoIP service, you can use a traditional desk phone or opt to use a “soft phone”. A soft phone can be a cell phone or any Internet connected PC, laptop, or tablet with a microphone or a headset/speaker. If you choose to go with a VoIP system you will still have the same features as a on-premise switch and more.

In addition to conferencing and call forwarding, other important features of VoIP include:

  • Auto attendant – clients expect this feature – it allows you to add a menu so your clients can transfer to a different department or a live operator.
  • Call Recording – Even if your industry is not heavily regulated, the ability to record a call for future reference, measuring client satisfaction, or sharing the conversation with a colleague, can be a helpful business tool.
  • DND – The ability to set your phone to Do Not Disturb when beginning a meeting and having the call route to a covering colleague is an extremely helpful feature.
  • Power loss – If the electricity is lost at your facility and your desk phone becomes unavailable, your clients can be forwarded to your cell phone instead of your voicemail.

Today, there is a myriad of companies to choose from when it comes to VoIP service. In this series of blogs, we will look at some of the most popular options and highlight some key features that differentiate them. Courtesy of The Daily Egg, here is a list of providers and a key feature that describes each provider’s primary strength:

  • RingCentral – Feature-rich and reliable
  • 8 x 8 – Great for employee collaboration
  • Intermedia – Excellent integration with third-party software and services
  • Nextiva – Works great for multi-location businesses
  • Jive – Best VoIP for encryption
  • Ooma – Best solution for very small business

Subsequent posts will dive deeper into each vendor’s product with the goal of saving you time as you consider which solution is best for you and your organization. If you are currently using one of these products, our blog series will provide you with some new information about features which you may not be leveraging today.

As always, for more information about VoIP or any office technology tools, give us a call at NetCenergy.

 

Authored by Donald Nokes