Organizations of every size are making the switch to hosted VoIP (voice-over-IP) as their business communications tool. Why is that? It offers many benefits, including flexibility, convenience, reliability, cost, and much more.
Depending on the size of your organization and what its specific calling needs are, you can save a lot of money on your monthly phone bills if you switch over to a hosted voice service. It isn’t surprising that analysts are estimated that the VoIP market is currently growing at a rate of more than 15% per year. Also, when VoIP gets bundled with fiber-optic Internet connectivity and other tools, you will experience major improvements in your up-time and reliability.
It can be very tempting to just stick with what you are familiar with, especially for companies that don’t have large communications budgets or in-house technical experts. Your traditional telephone provider might not be perfect, but it can be a bit scary to risk the unknown. If you are trying to decide whether or not the benefits offered by VoIP are sufficient to justify making the switch and investment, you have come to the right place to learn more.
Advantages Of VoIP Versus Traditional Phone Systems
Although hosted VoIP, or hosted PBX, is preferred by some organizations, others decide to internally host their VoIP, which is referred to as “on-premises” VoIP. Although this gives you more control over your system, it does require a significant upfront investment and technical expertise.
For simplicity’s sake, we will analyze the difference between premise-based PBX and Hosted VoIP, or VoIP systems that are managed by vendors, while focusing on the business risks and benefits that are most important for organizations of every size.
1. Simpler Management
To have a traditional phone system installed in an office requires having a service technician come out to run specific wiring for the phone system and install the equipment. It is usually not an ongoing problem, but it can be a real pain when you are getting set up the first or need to make major changes to your phone system or lines.
It is very easy to get started with VoIP. You just need handsets that are able to share the same switches and wiring with your LAN. Although vendor support may vary, very little internal skills and expertise are required by hosted VoIP services.
2. Contact Center Benefits
Fur businesses that provide customer service by telephone, Hosted VoIP is well-suited to meet the needs of all sizes of contact centers – ranging from a handful of customer service reps to hundreds of agents who operate on a 24/7 basis.
When you have a hosted VoIP vendor supporting your contact center needs, you can enjoy the following:
Unified communications (UC): Your reps can communicate with customers via email, chat, phone, and much more.
Monitoring and reporting: Many contact center VoIP service solutions provide easy access to oversight and metrics that you need to make good training and staffing decisions.
Interactive voice recognition (IVR): When you allow your customers to tell you what their needs are, your old push-button phone tree can be thrown out and your calls can instead be routed directly to the right person or department.
Smarter call routing: Extreme routing flexibility is offered by VoIP, which allows you to optimize how many calls are received based on factors such as skill level and CSR training.
3. Add-On Features
Hosted VoIP is very flexible and can be scaled to meet your changing needs. Some new startups might just need a minimum number of features in order to get started as affordably as possible. Well-established, larger organizations might want to use as many features as possible to provide them with a more comprehensive integrated communications solution.
No matter where you might fall on the spectrum, hiring a provider that offers an entire suite of VoIP add-ons can fully transform the communications of your business. Some of the most popular add-ons you will want to consider include the following:
Data Integration: Voicemail-to-email transcribing
Automated Call Distribution: Designed for high call volume or contact centers
Interactive Voice Recognition: Intelligence built directly into the system for smarter call routing
Remote Management: Add phone lines using a web-based administration
Chat: For external and internal communications, which can be integrated with a CRM (customer relationship management) system.
Teleconferencing and video chat
4. Scalability And Flexibility
When you use a PRI or analog phone service provider, it isn’t always easy to add another phone line. You will need to schedule an installation, and have to sometimes spend a long time with customer service on the phone and may have to wait a long time for the installation.
It can be annoying, expensive, and slow.
VoIP allows phone lines to be easily added within minutes at a flat-rate monthly fee. You can often do this right from your management portal. You just need a handset and be able to make a couple of clicks. The scalability and flexibility of VoIP are perfect for companies that are growing rapidly or have seasonal fluctuations in their staffing.
5. Data Integration
To create a positive customer experience, your communications need to be integrated across channels. That may require you to bring together chat, voicemail, email, phones, social media and other methods that are used by customers for communicating.
When you choose a VoIP that can integrate with your CRM system, you can be provided with insight into all communication that your customers have with your company. It can include the following:
Social media messages
Voicemail to email transcribing
6. Potential Of Unified Business Communications
You may not be prepared to get started with unified business communications right now – and that’s fine. A VoIP provider that provides a comprehensive selection of business tools allows you to take the leap when you are ready. You can achieve the following when you place your phones, internet connectivity, add-on services, and data onto one network:
Improved customer service
Improved customer satisfaction based on transparency
Improved team collaboration
Higher employee productivity
7. Cost Savings
VoIP has massive cost savings potential. There is the initial expense of the handset, however, a flat-rate monthly rate can be paid for each phone line and the add-on services that you choose. It is estimated by researchers that an average company can save about 40% on hosted VoIP compared to analog, and companies that have significant international calling requirements can save as much as 90%.
Another important thing worth noting is VoIP can save money for your business in other areas as well. You will not lose productivity whenever your traditional phone lines go down. You eliminate the problem of data breaches (and associated cleanup expenses) from phone tapping. Overall, VoIP is a found financial investment.
Although all of the same VoIP service add-ons are offered by providers, mobility is one of the more common benefits that can be unlocked by companies when they switch over to hosted VoIP. Depending on the configuration and vendor decisions you make. you can allow your calls to ring at both mobile and desk phones simultaneously, unlock the transferring of mobile calls, and enable mobile failover for those rare times when your internet is down.
For businesses that have employees who travel or work remotely, VoIP offers great mobility benefits for customer service and productivity. You can completely eliminate all of the confusion of missed or lost voicemails or employees needing to juggle a mobile number and desk line.
9. Customer Service
Customers love VoIP. Having a good interactive voice recognition system helps to reduce people from feeling like they are being bounced from one rep to the next and allow them to immediately speak to the right person. With the right add-on features, it also means faster responses to questions, higher call quality, and fewer busy signals.
Having the right Hosted VoIP vendor also means you can achieve much better customer service than is possible with an analog phone service provider. You can enjoy a whole range of benefits, including better business connectivity, online knowledge-base tools, and 24/7 expert support.
With hosted VoIP, your employees can get more done. According to studies, the greatest productivity gains come with unlocking mobility. It will allow your employees to access voicemail transcripts via email, which allows them to immediately act on customer questions and needs. You will have fewer missed calls, and the risk of confusion can be eliminated by data integrations.
Analog phone services only include phones. However, VoIP can provide you with a comprehensive platform for your business communications to match how your employees work.