Last Updated: 10/29/2019
All businesses, regardless of sector, size, or focus rely heavily on telecommunications to connect with clients and partners, make sales, and ultimately grow. Find out how you can cut your business’s phone bill while also improving the quality of your telephone service.
In spite of the rapid growth of social media and other digital communication channels, telephony continues to be the mainstay of customer contacts for most businesses. After decades of relatively little change in the underlying technology, Voice over IP, or VoIP technology is rapidly becoming the standard for enterprises of all sizes due to lower costs, improved scalability, and richer features.
IP telephony is also being rolled out by a number of VoIP providers for home users. Major telecoms conglomerates are replacing the aging public switched telephone network (PSTN) infrastructure with internet-based solutions – for example, in the UK, BT has set an end-of-service date of 2025 for its PSTN and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) systems.
It is clear that VoIP is the future of telephony and that it brings significant benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These include reduced costs, improved scalability, and greatly enhanced feature sets.
The bottom line is important for all enterprises, but for smaller businesses, every cost-saving opportunity needs to be taken seriously. The margins between success and failure can be incredibly tight. VoIP providers can support healthy margins by reducing telephone charges considerably.
Call costs on VoIP networks tend to be substantially lower than those on PSTN networks. This is largely attributable to the decrease in data carriage costs. Gone are the days of broadband and enterprise internet bandwidth caps; these service improvements also enhance the viability of voice carried over the internet.
IP to IP calling can be terminated at negligible costs, sometimes even for nothing. Calls that terminate at landline or mobile numbers are more expensive, but established providers will have network carriage agreements to a number of destinations (these contracts are called “SIP termination” agreements).
SIP termination allows calls to ‘break out’ into the traditional telephone network at a point very close to the destination, substantially reducing the carriage cost. You probably wouldn’t consider any telephone solution that didn’t enable your business to receive calls from real-world phones or make calls out to landlines and mobiles. Fortunately, SIP termination integrates your VoIP service with all of the phone numbers that exist in the world today.
For businesses with international customers and partners, this can be especially advantageous, as VoIP providers with international networks can provide call termination to overseas locations at the cost of a local call.
The high-speed bulk transfer of calls over long distances is particularly beneficial to offshore businesses. Your call center can be accessed from a number in the countries where you want to do business, while being located in a country that has much lower manpower costs. Thus, your customers use a local number to reach your overseas center – and you don’t lose business by moving your call center to another country, because your customer base won’t even realize you’re abroad.
VoIP companies can provide telephone numbers in several countries and stream calls made to all of them to your offshore location. This is called a Direct Inward Dialling service (DID) and it will save you the need of having to operate offices in every country where you want to do business.
The Infrastructure of VoIP Providers
VoIP adoption eliminates the need for traditional telephone infrastructure, which is usually made up of ISDN lines. This allows businesses to consolidate their network into a single data connection at reduced costs. Instead of each concurrent call requiring a separate ISDN line, a digital telephone service can handle calls to a number of customers concurrently, allowing increased sales without increased expenditure.
Providing an integrated data and voice communication system usually involves contracts with several service providers. However, you don’t have to worry about putting in place agreements with each of these companies because your VoIP service provider will sort all of that out for you.
Typically, VoIP providers that present services to end clients bundle together all of the back end services and present customers with a complete service package. However, behind the scenes, there will be several different specialist companies contributing to the package that you sign up for.
VoIP services can empower small and medium enterprises to grow rapidly and painlessly by removing the up-front costs of telephony infrastructure.
To expand, businesses generally need to increase sales, which requires more simultaneous communication channels. This can lead to a ‘chicken and egg’ situation with traditional phone lines. More ISDN channels are needed to handle the increased sales and support call volume, but there is a substantial lead time on infrastructure installation, as well as significant costs.
In many cases, businesses can face a situation where they can’t afford more lines to make more sales – until those sales are already occurring.
With IP telephony, businesses can expand their sales volume without needing to put additional infrastructure in place; there will be no hard limit on the number of concurrent calls occurring. This means that sales and support can expand while the business makes arrangements for improving data infrastructure. Customers will never be met with a busy signal or delayed callback.
In addition to reducing costs and easing expansion, IP telephony services offer a host of options that are beneficial to growing businesses. These enable remote working, the integration of systems, and the future-proofing of any business.
With a traditional telephone system, a team member may be able to forward the desk phone to receive calls on other devices, but returning a customer call will still result in an unprofessional-looking home or mobile number.
This is not the case with VoIP systems. Users can log in from any location, desktop, or mobile and have access to the same library of contacts and the same phone number – for both calling and receiving. In this way, VoIP providers offer a consistent user experience regardless of the platform being used.
VoIP systems can also integrate seamlessly with many existing business tools, such as CRM (customer relationship management) platforms. This gives users instant access to customer information based upon the phone number, eliminating the waiting time and the potential inaccuracy associated with searching for customer records.
VoIP providers future-proof your business communication system because they give even the smallest businesses access to the new technology that all of the world’s major telephone service providers are switching over to.
VoIP systems can integrate conference and video calling seamlessly, providing the business with more professional communication tools. Salespeople know that face-to-face contact has strong selling power, as it enables bidders for business to establish trust more quickly than they can using letters, email, or even voice calls.
For a smaller business looking to invest in the future, it is hard to go wrong with IP telephone systems. There may be some costs involved in the switch from PSTN to IP, but these are quickly paid back through lower call charges and increased service quality.
Choosing a VoIP package
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you to hear that the VoIP market is crowded. You probably don’t have the time to investigate individual companies for your long-distance, DID numbers, and SIP termination needs. Instead, focus your search on VoIP providers that offer a complete VoIP packaged solution.
IDT Express, for example, can be a single interface for all of your VoIP needs. Whether you need a full VoIP telephone service or just a range of international numbers to channel calls to your call center, IDT Express has you covered.
If you need global reach, our infrastructure is a perfect choice, as we currently have more than 1,000 Caller Line Identification (CLI) routes and can provide telephone numbers in more than 70 countries.
Still not sure if our service is right for you? The team at IDT Express is so confident in the quality of our services that we’re happy to offer new customers a free trial. Check it out for free, so that you can sign up for your new VoIP subscription with confidence.