The VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system is rapidly changing the way companies do business. Whether you work alone from a home office or employ several hundred people, you want to present a professional image. VoIP can help you achieve this without the high cost of traditional phone systems. But how does VoIP service compare to a traditional business phone system?
You have to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both systems in order to make an informed decision about which system is best for your needs.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Both systems offer a rich set of features to help businesses run smoothly. What sets VoIP service apart from a traditional phone system is that businesses and employees are able to operate more efficiently. Rather than have a full-time employee redirecting calls, VoIP has the auto attendant feature that can automatically direct calls to different departments or individuals, at no extra cost. Traditional phone systems charge extra for most of the features they offer.
The call forwarding or “find me follow me” feature means any employee in the system can answer a call directed to their extension from anywhere. Each user is able to choose which number their calls will be forwarded to, including mobile devices.
The online fax feature allows anyone in the company to send and receive faxes from their computers, eliminating the need for expensive fax machines, toner and fax paper.
VoIP phone systems are more customizable and easily scalable to accommodate the growth of the business. With traditional business phones, the entire system may need to be rewired to increase capacity.
In general, traditional phone systems were considered more reliable because they aren’t subject to an Internet connection. However, due to increased bandwidth capabilities and improved technology, businesses are experiencing less and less Internet outages.
Installation and Ease of Use
A traditional business phone system is extremely complicated. It must be installed and maintained by a trained technician. This is not only inconvenient but very costly as well. VoIP phone systems can be installed by anyone. Most systems are plug-and-play, and each user can configure his settings to suit his needs.
A traditional system can also be very complicated to use. In many cases, employees need special training just to operate the phone. This adds to the expense, yet still doesn’t guarantee that calls will not be directed to the wrong department or accidentally disconnected.
Business VoIP phone systems are very intuitive. The user is presented with an easy to understand interface on his desktop, making every function available with just the click of a mouse. Employees can pull up call logs, access email, return calls, send a fax and anything else they need to do. This greatly improves efficiency.
International calls are expensive with a traditional phone system. Because the company is already paying for an Internet connection, international VoIP calls are practically free. Many VoIP providers include a certain number of international calling minutes with each plan. Additional minutes are charged very low rates.
Toll-Free and Vanity Numbers
Both services offer toll-free and vanity numbers. Toll-free numbers make it easier for customers to contact the company. Vanity numbers are easy to remember, allowing businesses to brand their phone number.
This is one area where VoIP service is leagues ahead of traditional business phone systems. A business needs to have high-speed Internet anyway, so that can’t be considered an extra expense. The monthly bill for a VoIP phone system costs a fraction of a traditional business phone system. And because the system is virtual, there is no expensive equipment to buy and maintain.
Other cost reductions can be seen in increased productivity and efficient use of time. Employees are able to complete tasks quickly and efficiently and waste less time re-routing calls, running to the fax machine and returning calls they may have missed while away from their workstations.
Efficient Customer Support
Consumer reports show that the number one complaint many people have about companies involves customer support. The more efficiently businesses can handle calls from customers, the happier the customers will be.
Outstanding customer support starts with a communication system capable of answering every call, and ensuring that each call is directed to the proper extension or department, every time, without fail. A sophisticated VoIP phone system can usually accomplish this better than a human.
Every call is answered immediately with a pleasant custom message. After this greeting, callers have options depending on how the system is set up. Of course, many traditional business phones also have the auto attendant feature, but at a much higher cost. With VoIP service, this cost is included in the low monthly fee.
In the early days of VoIP, traditional phones would win on this front. However, that too is changing. Most VoIP providers now have voice quality as good as or better than traditional phones.
All in all, VoIP business phones offer much greater value and more convenience for businesses of any size. Although traditional phone systems might not become obsolete in the near future, more and more people are switching to VoIP systems every day. Shop around and compare the top VoIP providers to find the one that is just right for you and your business.
This article was written by David Waring from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.