When VoIP (voice over IP) telephony was introduced many years ago we all got excited and visualised how this new technology would change telephony – forever!
VoIP meant phone calls could be made over the internet to any landline – no need for normal telephone lines any more. Plus calls were promised to be cheaper, especially if calling another VoIP phone.
The market then became flooded with providers offering various deals. But there was no service guarantee, connectivity couldn’t cope with the demand, people got too excited, and we peaked too soon.
The problem was that the connectivity at the time couldn’t cope with the data transfer needed to make reliable, good quality calls. Broadband at that time just wasn’t good or stable enough.
Consumers were sold a promise that couldn’t be kept, and many metaphorical fingers were burnt.
Understandably, as with video conferencing, this means many consumers still do not fully trust VoIP.
Even the tech-savvy Millennial might shudder at the thought of using VoIP telephony based on past experiences.
But connectivity has come a long way since VoIP first landed around a decade ago.
The government Connection Vouchers scheme has enabled SMEs to upgrade to superfast connectivity at no cost to themselves. And out-dated ISDN lines will all be completely phased out by 2025.
Superfast broadband means not only is VoIP here to stay, but it’s more advanced than ever before!
So why should businesses, of all sizes, small or large embrace this underrated technology?
A day out of the office doesn’t mean calls have to go unanswered.
Your phone number isn’t fixed to any particular location, it’s assigned to your account in the cloud.
As long as there is an internet or data connection, you can take and make those business calls on any of your VoIP devices.
You can take a call on your PC using a headset. Or download an app for your smartphone so you can manage your cloud telephony and take calls using a Wi-Fi or 4G connection wherever you are.
This is a massive advantage because when you’re out of the office or away from your phone you can still take those calls. They follow you around.
VoIP is fantastic for start-up businesses because if you move from your home office to business premises as you expand, you can just plug your VoIP phone into another broadband connection – your number goes where you go.
Also, research in 2014 found that around 1.5 million employees now work from home. So seamless and simple access to company telephony means employees working from home are an extension of the business – not out on their own.
VoIP helps businesses focus on work as an activity, not a place.
It’s an important part of maintaining productivity and profitability, especially when combined with other flexible working connectivity tools.
VoIP offers a fantastic range of options when it comes to answering your calls.
You can simply write the rules that allow your cloud-based system to determine the most practical and efficient way of managing your calls.
Calls can be routed how you choose, even at different times of the day – for example, to the next available team member, as opposed to waiting for the person at the end of the line to finish their call or pick up the phone.
If one person isn’t available, it automatically routes to the next.
Missed calls cost UK businesses an estimated £90m last year. So not only is it perfect for customer service calls, but it’s an opportunity to reduce the risk of missing a sale. VoIP ensures businesses can reach, and be reached as much as they need to be.
For SMEs with smaller teams, answering services and transferring calls may still be the best option. But these are included as standard with VoIP telephony and are just some of the masses of features you get by using VoIP.
As your business grows, your telephony service can grow with you. No need to install additional lines or set up expensive exchanges. Just simply add more numbers or users to your account.
Provided you’ve got the connectivity to support the volume of calls, your telephony system can easily keep pace with rapid expansion and changes in demand throughout the year.
If you suddenly need to reduce your numbers or team members – maybe you bought a number for a marketing campaign that has ended or in response to a lull – simply scale back your operations.
It’s that simple.
Plus, imagine you’ve decided to branch out into new geographical areas. It’s easy to buy geographical numbers to appeal to those people in that location. It all works its way through your cloud to your team, wherever they are.
A huge feature for VoIP is the continuity to services and security of your telephony system.
In the event of a disaster, all your calls are still routed through the cloud and can be managed and delivered to your team through an internet connection.
In the same way backed-up files on cloud-storage such as Google Drive or One Drive are protected if your laptop goes bang, the same applies to VoIP.
Even if there’s an issue with the broadband in your building, the fact you can manage your system from any data connection such as 4G still allows you to receive those calls.
It adds a level of security to your calls that’s difficult to achieve with a similar budget.
Connectivity – it’s what you do with it…
Superfast connectivity is opening up a whole host of opportunities for businesses of all sizes to be more productive, more efficient, and more profitable.
It’s easy to think “my normal phone works fine thank you very much”, in the same way you can still produce a perfectly good letter using a typewriter.
And people still think of the VoIP of 10 years ago: the VoIP that never delivered on its promises.
But the fact is, it was connectivity that prevented VoIP from really taking off. And now connectivity has gone superfast, VoIP is definitely here to stay.