VoIP phone systems have already been around for a surprisingly long time.
(Really – VoIP is the same age as Pharrell Williams.)
But the big rush to adopt VoIP only took place in the last fifteen years.
So what is a VoIP phone system, and why is basically every smart business using it?
What is VoIP?
Put as simply as possible, VoIP means making and receiving phone calls over the internet.
Traditionally, businesses used phone lines within the public telephone network.
Now, instead of sending voice data down copper wires, it’s broken into packets. Then it’s delivered by a VoIP phone system via an internet connection .
There’s more to know about VoIP. If you want more detail read up on ‘What is VoIP’.
What are the benefits of a VoIP phone system?
There are huge benefits to using VoIP – more than we’re going to look at today.
In fact, these benefits are so big that they represent a major strategic advantage over businesses without VoIP.
The benefits we’re going to look at are:
- Cost savings
- Ease of integration
#1 VoIP saves you money
This has to be the most eye-catching benefit for any business.
VoIP calls costs a fraction of calls made using the traditional phone network. That’s because a VoIP call uses an existing internet connection – no extra infrastructure needed.
The initial costs of installing phone lines – including a PBX for multiple landlines – is one of the biggest savings. Businesses typically save around 90% on setup costs when opting for VoIP calling.
Another big saving is the cost of long-distance calls, usually an expensive part of doing business. However, the internet is pretty much ‘distance neutral’. Your call can cross the globe – and the only cost comes from connecting locally.
The other benefits on this list – scalability, portability, reliability and ease of integration – also save money. More on that below.
VoIP saves money because:
- Each call is cheaper
- Long-distance calling is much cheaper
- Setup costs go way down
- Various business efficiencies are found
#2 VoIP helps you to scale
Another big winner for VoIP is the ease of scaling services.
Most call centers have to adjust their headcount at some point. This is often seasonal or based on specific campaigns.
The main obstacle? If you’ve paid for phone lines that you’re not going to use, you’re throwing money away.
Cancelling phone lines – only to get them back later – is time-consuming and needs a lot of forward planning. It means contacting providers, outlining requirements, waiting for technicians to come out to you…
A good VoIP provider makes that far simpler. There are more flexible ways to pay – like per-minute – and adding or removing lines carries either a negligible cost or no cost at all.
It also tends to be easier, and many providers will let you adjust your lines via an online portal with a few clicks.
Think about it this way: getting a traditional phone line is a hassle, like installing a satellite dish. Getting VoIP is easy, like getting a Netflix account.
#3 VoIP is reliable
Like a lot of tech, VoIP phone systems came to market a little prematurely.
(After all, VoIP is the same age as Monica Lewinsky.)
Some keen early adopters brought VoIP into their businesses too soon and ended feeling that it wasn’t a reliable option.
They were right. VoIP wasn’t reliable straight away, largely because the internet infrastructure didn’t exist.
But it does now!
You can absolutely guarantee decent VoIP audio for your office phone systems.
For more general reliability you need a high-speed internet connection which I’m willing to bet you already have.
You can boost your uptime even more by securing a backup power source in case of power outage. (Of course, if you don’t have a backup power source for outages, your office won’t work anyway.)
#4 VoIP is highly portable
Portability might be a slightly niche benefit – but it can be huge news for businesses.
So what does portable mean?
VoIP phone numbers aren’t attached to a specific location. That can benefit you in two ways:
- Your team members can go anywhere (with internet) and still be available.
- Your business can move across the street or across the world and keep the same numbers.
Why would you need your team members to move around? Well, plenty of professional salespeople travel as part of their role. If yours don’t – maybe you should get VoIP so they can start?
Alternatively, you can have agents working from home. It still sounds like a huge challenge to a lot of businesses but the virtual call center is already a reality. (Probably because they sell more, retain staff longer and get better CSat scores…)
Being able to move a call center – without worrying about moving phone lines – well, that benefit speaks for itself.
#5 VoIP phone systems are easy to integrate
Last but not least… integration.
This is one of the biggest challenges for modern call centers. In fact, call centers say that integration with existing systems is the single biggest barrier to getting the most from their investments.
Buying into VoIP isn’t the full story, but it will sure make integration easier.
So what should you integrate with your VoIP phones? We say ‘everything’. Think about the systems of record you use, like BI or CRM. When your telephony is integrated with those, each incoming call can be linked to existing customer data.
Not only will you know who’s calling, you may get a pretty good idea of why they’re calling.
IVR integration is a must because it can bring a huge increase in the number of calls resolved in IVR.
There are almost limitless applications to this kind of integration. Or, look at it the other way; where exactly do you not want integrated systems?