Were you aware that cloud systems enable start up businesses to trim down initial costs by up to 90%? As
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) allows you to make phone calls to your consumers via the internet instead of traditional landlines. As a result of its wide range of advanced features, businesses can:
- Reduce and consolidate IT infrastructure
- Discontinue traditional phone line service
- Cost savings on phone bills
“Voice over internet protocol” (VoIP), also known as cloud-based telephony, has become the new norm for modern corporate communications. VoIP enables crystal-clear digital phone calls at a much lower cost than the traditional landlines and phone networks.
What is VoIP?
VoIP is a virtual phone system that enables businesses to make and receive calls over the internet while also performing advanced customer support activities such as call forwarding, call monitoring & analysis, call queuing, call routing, etc.
VoIP makes business communication is a seamless and smooth experience. Its premium features simplify your business communication system, including chat, SMS, call recording, video conferencing, auto attendants, conference bridging, and much more.
Multiple calls are managed on the same phone number using VoIP. It is unnecessary to worry about operational location when clients sign up for VoIP support since it works on the internet connection, which provides omnipresence or international accessibility to users.
Overall, it is a phone system that is very dependable, adaptive, cost-effective, and portable.” You don’t have to spend a fortune on equipment, installation, and maintenance because VoIP is a cloud-based phone system, which means that the service provider handles everything.
Also Read: Best VoIP services for small businesses
How VoIP call and how does it work?
You may be wondering, “what is VoIP call?” Well, let us tell you all about what it is and how it works. VoIP services convert your voice into a digital signal transmitted over the internet. Voice calls are translated into data packets using VoIP technology.
Public and private Internet Protocol (IP) networks transport these data packets the same way as any other data. These packets are transferred between your phone and a VoIP provider using internet telephony.
- Your VoIP phone connects to your LAN router.
- When you dial a phone number, your IP phone sends a signal to the VoIP provider, who then connects you to the other party.
- VoIP service exchanges data packets from your IP phone to make a call.
- Your business VoIP phone system converts these signals into audible sound.
Using VoIP, voice signals are digitized and transmitted over an IP network. Using software called a codec, the analog voice data is encoded, while another codec is used to convert the digital signal back to analog.
VoIP systems must route calls to and from other users or the outside world to function. Your VoIP provider manages a cloud-based virtual PBX that handles this for you. Because these companies use multi-tenant segmentation, your PBX appears to be exclusively yours, even though you’re sharing it with the other customers of that service provider.
Routing calls on your VoIP network and out to other networks is handled by this engine. However, many small businesses make every effort to avoid any on-premises PBX components. This is partly due to cost savings and the fact that the capabilities provided by all-cloud systems are more than adequate for their requirements.
VoIP can allow you to call directly from a computer, a mobile app, a desk VoIP phone, or a traditional phone connected to a special adapter. The intriguing aspect of VoIP is that there is no single way to make a call. Today, there are three different types of VoIP service in widespread use:
ATA (analog telephone adaptor) is the most common method used for making a VoIP call. The ATA allows you to connect a regular phone to your computer or Internet connection to utilize VoIP on your phone. ATA is an analog-to-digital converter (ATA) that converts your phone’s analog signal into digital data and transmits it via the internet.
To use VoIP, all you need to do is take the ATA out of the box, plug in your phone’s wire that would normally go into the wall socket, and you’re good to go. When it comes to setting up an ATA, it’s a simple matter of loading the appropriate software into your host computer.
2. IP Phones:
They are like regular phones, with a cradle, a handset, and buttons but highly specialized. Instead of using RJ-11 phone connectors, IP phones use RJ-45 Ethernet connectors. The IP phone, which connects to your router, contains all the technology and software required to make an IP call. Subscribers can use Wi-Fi phones to make a VoIP call from any Wi-Fi hotspot they want.
This is the simplest method of using VoIP. Long-distance calls are free, and several companies provide free or low-cost VoIP software. An Internet connection such as one provided by cable or DSL modem plus the necessary software is all you need to get started. Computer-to-computer calls are often free of charge, except for a nominal monthly ISP fee.
Cloud phone system vs VoIP
Often, people confuse Cloud Phone Systems (Hosted PBX on the cloud) with Business VoIP (Virtual PBX). Even though cloud-based and on-premises phone systems help cut TCO (total cost of ownership), they are not the same. As far as functionality goes, the distinctions between business VoIP and a cloud-based phone system are substantial. Hosted corporate VoIP phone systems are full-fledged phone systems that may be used for business and personal calls.
As part of a business VoIP service, an internet connection is used instead of a standard PSTN landline to transport voice, video, and data over the internet. By eliminating the requirement for physical hardware and copper cable, VoIPs have made analog PBXs obsolete.
With business VoIP, you can reduce costs such as equipment, installation, repair, maintenance, and per-minute and per-feature expenses. You can use enterprise-level services normally reserved for larger corporations as a small or medium-sized business.
Cloud Phone Systems
If we break the term “Cloud Phone Systems or Hosted PBX” down, the cloud refers to the technology in which the server that provides the PBX services is located in a data center with internet access. When it comes to making and receiving phone calls, the “Phone System” or “PBX” is responsible for providing all of the functions that you require as a user.
Rather than relying on actual phone lines, a cloud PBX will use a VoIP provider to make and receive calls. You can use a PBX with many VoIP service providers, which allows for greater flexibility.
Cloud-based phone systems are VoIP-based phone systems hosted in a data center either by yourself or by a third-party service provider. They allow you to migrate your corporate telephony service to the cloud via an internet connection. As long as you have a steady broadband connection and a reputable VoIP service provider, you can get started with cloud phone systems.
Advanced telephone capabilities like auto attendants, extension dialing, and conference bridges are included in Cloud phone systems. For small and medium-sized enterprises, cloud phone systems are a highly scalable and cost-effective professional phone system that removes the need for expensive phone hardware installation and management altogether.
Top VoIP features in 2022
The importance of the VoIP business phone features will vary based on specific needs. For a business, these are the most commonly used features of VoIP.
1. IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
With an IVR for the incoming calls, you can project a professional image. Interactive voice response (IVR) is a standard feature in most cloud-based phone system platforms. It greatly reduces the need for manual staff because automated voice menus can direct customers to the appropriate departments or extension numbers. As a result, your service will never be delayed, and you will be able to give the best possible support to your customers.
Companies don’t have to spend money on a front desk to handle incoming calls. Customers can use interactive voice responses to get answers to their questions at any time of the day.
2. HD call quality
VoIP provides HD sound quality. Calls made using VoIP technology are twice as clear as those made using a regular phone. Many VoIP headsets and phones feature noise-canceling technology for a more immersive audio experience. Even on long-distance calls, the high-definition sound clarity is audible.
3. Mobile and desktop apps
You can download an app for your PC and mobile device from several VoIP providers. This helps you attend to the calls even when not in the office. This is especially beneficial if your team’s ability to work from home is increasingly dependent on having a VoIP solution available. These apps allow you to make phone calls, participate in conference calls, send text messages, and do various other things.
4. Unified Communications
VoIP improves your team’s workflow by utilizing the Unified Communications concept (UC). Your company’s communications platform is fully integrated rather than relying on several disparate apps. Employees can now connect and with customers even more easily.
You can also switch calls between mobile devices. Meeting via video and screen sharing allows your team to complete tasks more quickly. UC simplifies and organizes real-time communication.
Here are some of the key features of a UC platform:
- Team chats
- Instant messaging
- Screen sharing
- Video meetings
- Conference calling
Call encryption and VoIP security
For business owners, VoIP security is a major concern. Credit card numbers and HR conversations are among the most sensitive data possibly contained in phone calls. You must protect these assets at all costs. Even as data packets travel across the internet, VoIP remains safe and secure.
IP phone systems have built-in security to prevent bad actors from listening in on your calls. Inquire with your VoIP provider about call encryption. TLS and SRTP are VoIP technologies that scramble call data, making eavesdropping nearly impossible.
1. Call recording
Another useful feature is call recording, which allows you to record calls between customers and your employees. Call recording through your phone system reveals areas where your team can improve. It’s also secure, so only authorized personnel have access to it. The benefit of VoIP call recording is that it is invisible to all parties. In addition, unlike traditional landline PBX systems, it does not necessitate any additional hardware.
2. Seamless call management
You can prioritize, hold, route, and block incoming calls using hosted VoIP without any difficulty. All this can reduce the customer wait time. Allowing customers to opt-in to receive a call back when it is their turn in the queue instead of wasting time on hold is a great feature of call queues.
Pros and cons of VoIP
As per the nature and usage of VoIP, there are many pros and cons, and you need to be aware of both to make an informed decision about the system. So, let’s delve into both the pros and the cons:
Advantages of VoIP
VoIP has a slew of advantages. Here are a few of the most popular reasons why businesses choose to use VoIP:
Using VoIP solutions for business reduces overall costs significantly. There are lesser implementation costs as the hardware requirement is reduced. You can save money on phone systems and services, as well as other business expenses.
- Staff cost: While traditional phone systems require PBX experts and receptionists, VoIP phone systems don’t. Your current IT team can easily manage it because it is based on the internet.
- Equipment cost: You don’t need an IP PBX system with VoIP in the cloud if all you need is a phone system. Savings for small businesses can be used in many ways, making this especially beneficial.
- Switching cost: It’s possible to save a lot of money by switching. Cloud VoIP systems do not necessitate any special hardware because the provider hosts all the equipment.
- Call costs: VoIP eliminates the issue of long-distance call costs. For long-distance and international calls, telecom providers often charge hefty fees. Furthermore, VoIP providers offer practical plans that allow long-distance calls to be made at a low cost.
- Setup cost: Finally, setting up a VoIP phone is considerably cheap because it is so simple to do so, and it only takes a few mouse clicks to get a new customer set up.
Organizational change necessitates the need for scalability in businesses. Traditional phone systems are less adaptable in this respect. With VoIP, you can easily increase the number of phones and phone lines in your business. With VoIP, businesses can easily add or remove phone lines without disrupting their operations. VoIP enables you to only pay for the services that your company uses.
VoIP is a reliable proof technology. As a result, users can still receive and make calls during internet outages.
4. Easy Installation
Even if you’re not the most tech-savvy person, getting your VoIP system up and running shouldn’t be a problem. You don’t have to worry about tinkering with any hardware components when you have reliable dashboards to make changes or add users. You can even manage your VoIP services from your mobile.
5. Remote accessibility and mobility
Regardless of where you are in the world, you can access VoIP phone service whenever you need it. There is no need for any technical setup. Teleworkers and remote teams can use their office phone to make and receive calls. A remote office phone system will keep your business running smoothly in this day and age of working from home. Now and in the future, you can easily meet the ‘work from home’ criteria.
6. Customer service efficiency
You can improve customer service by using VoIP. Recording phone calls can be used as a training tool for calling agents.
7. Sales growth
VoIP is an excellent tool for sales training. It enables sales managers to personalize their feedback in one-on-one meetings. You can grow more quickly if you have the right tools and leadership.
Disadvantages of VoIP
There are some downsides to VoIP as well. These concerns, however, are minor enough to be addressed if we pay attention to them.
1. Robust internet connectivity required
Your VoIP service will not function properly if you do not have a stable internet connection. However, all you need to do to solve this problem is find a reliable service provider.
2. Power outages might affect VoIP services
If there are frequent power outages, it can impact the VoIP services, which rely on external power.
3. Increasing Cyber Attacks
Given the increasing prevalence of cybercrime worldwide, VoIP security has become critical. VoIP is thought to be the most common source of cyber-attacks. However, when systems are deployed without proper expertise in this type of technology, this is often more of a risk.
VoIP systems should have provisions to encrypt your traffic, maintain a firewall and network security, and take proper precautions against potential security breaches and DDOS attacks.
4. Audio quality
The quality and reliability of VoIP connections may not be as good as traditional phone connections if your broadband, hardware, and services aren’t up to snuff. Common problems during phone calls include delay, noise, and echo.
Best VoIP solutions for your business
Some of the best business VoIP phone service options to consider are:
For small and medium-sized businesses on a tight budget, Nextiva is the best option for VoIP service. It’s easy to manage a large number of phone lines, even if your employees are spread across the globe, thanks to Nextiva’s mobile and desktop apps and online administration platform.
Additionally, Nextiva’s business call management system offers a wide range of useful features, including unlimited calling, unlimited text messages, and faxes, as well as call queuing and instant conference calls. Audio, video, and text are all integrated into a single platform, including a mobile app and web collaboration.
Integrated messaging, limitless video conferencing, and cloud-hosted VoIP are all included in RingCentral’s work-from-home solution. RingCentral offers price matching on plans with fewer than 50 lines, so businesses don’t have to worry about being overcharged for their cloud-hosted VoIP service.
RingCentral is very dependable and gives a 99.999 % uptime guarantee. Unlimited internet faxing, phone conferencing, and videoconferencing for up to 100 people are also available through RingCentral’s services.
Businesses with employees working from home will find Ooma’s Office and Office Pro plans are among the best VoIP phone service options available. While working from home, you can use your office phone, cell phone, and the Ooma desktop app to call and be called. The service plans offered by Ooma are also less expensive than those offered by other providers.
Grasshopper’s VoIP capabilities are especially useful for mobile businesses like food trucks and pop-up shops. Like many other VoIP phone providers, it is possible to make and receive business calls via Grasshopper’s iOS and Android apps. However, unlike its competitors, you can configure call forwarding rules for each phone extension on your account with this service. If your company has multiple locations, each employee or member of your staff can answer phone calls in the way that best suits them.
8×8’s simple and feature-rich plans can help you save money while still providing the VoIP tools you need. Virtual meetings, faxes, telephony, real-time analytics, and other services are included in the package.
VoIP phone systems boost your business’s credibility and reliability. Consider your company’s specific needs before deciding on a business phone service. Decide what your company’s goals are before deciding on a VoIP service plan for the company. Think about what you need now and in the future.
Assess your present and future requirements:
- Staffing and resources
- Incoming call volume
- VoIP functions
- Video conferencing requirement
It’s important to know how much VoIP traffic your line will see. A virtual phone system may be a good fit if you have a team dedicated to making sales calls or providing customer service. If you want your small business to grow smoothly, consider scalability.
With your team, identify the features that are essential to your business. This cutting-edge technology will not only help you improve your business operations but will also assist you in automating repetitive processes and organizing a structured workflow that ensures maximum output with minimal error.