If you’re building an international presence for your business, communication costs will have a significant impact on your bottom line. Thankfully, there is technology you can use to bring your business telephony costs down.
When costing out your business operations, sales drives, and customer support functions, you won’t just be counting the costs of contacting customers in different countries. Think of all of the admin and development tasks that you need the phone for. In many cases, meetings need to be attended remotely and complex issues discussed during long calls. Imagine the cost of a two-hour phone call made between 20 people across three continents.
Use a VoIP Service
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the only serious alternative to traditional phone lines. By routing calls over the internet, a VoIP service can drastically reduce telephony costs. A VoIP system will also create increasing flexibility in other areas of your business, allowing the enterprise to expand with minimal infrastructure costs.
If you are able to utilize a VoIP-to-VoIP connection, then calls are essentially free. However, even if your customers are on traditional landlines, it’s still possible to achieve dramatic savings. This is because VoIP technology uses the internet for most of the connection’s route, then hops to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to complete the final stage of the link. As a result of this strategy, you’ll pay little more than the cost of a local call in that country for any international connection.
As an emerging technology, VoIP is constrained by fewer rules and regulations than traditional telecom operators. The VoIP sector is very crowded with tough competition and constant innovation, creating attractive pricing compared to PSTN services.
But although it may be cheaper, VoIP shouldn’t be seen as the bargain basement option. Early IP telephony systems were computer-based with low-quality sound and poor delivery. However, contemporary VoIP systems provide a call quality that can even exceed that offered by traditional phone lines. A VoIP service can be accessed from a phone handset and integrates more features, such as encryption and conference calling, than a standard telephone service.
Here are seven ways a VoIP service can save you money:
#1: Overhead Requirements
VoIP offers lower overheads because it is far cheaper to run than a traditional phone system. It doesn’t require its own wired network or backup systems. Combining the cost of telephone and data networks has the potential to result in significant savings.
#2: PBX Usage
Another cost saving comes from being able to channel several phone numbers to the same PBX (private branch exchange). These numbers can even be in different countries, giving you a presence in many countries without needing to set up offices there. These cost savings can not only bring down the costs of your telephone system. They can lower the costs of running your business premises as well.
#3: Options Elimination
The savings of a VoIP service aren’t restricted to the cost of calls. VoIP allows you to eliminate your reliance on the optional extras found in many phone contracts, such as call waiting and voicemail.
#4: Contract Flexibility
You can also wave goodbye to expensive mobile contracts for your globe-trotting sales force. With VoIP, calls can be taken via a laptop, and voicemails can be sent directly to email.
#5: Relocation Costs
Staff relocation costs can also be slashed. With a provider that offers flexible DID numbers (Direct Inward Dialling), you can scale a solution to fit any size of business at little additional cost. A DID number can be assigned to each employee and routed through to any device, be that a laptop, a mobile device, or the office desk telephone. Calls can be sent to the employee’s home phone, where telecommuting is implemented, or to a temporary overseas base when a key team member goes abroad for business.
The business VoIP number can be reallocated to different devices, turned on or off, be assigned to a user-owned device only during business hours only, or revoked and assigned to a new employee. The IDT Express VoIP service, for example, includes access to an online portal, which enables you to manage your VoIP strategy from anywhere.
#6: Marketing Collateral Reprinting
This flexibility is particularly beneficial to startups and growing businesses. You can keep the same number when your growing enterprise moves its HQ to new premises, saving the cost of having to reprint all stationary or update the company website.
The physical location of your staff ceases to be of interest to your customers. The same number can be applied to several locations, can follow an employee around, and can reach home-based or mobile staff. Routing calls is also far easier than with traditional systems, Forwarding calls internally to offices in different locations is seamless and conference calls are easy to set up.
#7: Applications Integration
As VoIP is a digital technology, it offers far wider benefits than would be possible using an analog phone system. For example, the right VoIP package will come with a robust set of APIs, offering the option to interconnect with your CRM system.
Any contact application can integrate digital telephony services because the VoIP service is accessed by software and not mechanical devices. Through an integrated VoIP system, every customer is identifiable through your phone system. This allows you to bring up their details as soon as they start calling, improving the speed and accuracy of your response.
A VoIP service is a better solution for conference calls, with better handling of multiple feeds than a traditional system. Further benefits include the ability to record audio and to identify each person as they speak.
The V in VoIP currently stands for “voice,” but there are good reasons to think that, in a few years, people will assume that it stands for “video.” Your VoIP provider may be able to help you harness the power of video in order to perform face-to-face product demonstrations, on-site walkthroughs, training seminars, or remote technical service. The potential travel savings are astounding.
Video conferencing is also a useful tool for internal communications. Now, “town hall” meetings no longer require a large space to hold all of your staff, and you don’t have to address employees by division in the case of a corporate-wide announcement. Interactive video conference calls enable you to inform all of your workforce simultaneously on new updates, and even run remote question-and-answer sessions.
VoIP technology is the next evolution in a long line of communications advances. As the letter gave way to the email, and the catalog to the website, so telephone networks are giving way to voice communication across the internet. Your staff and customers are crying out for the benefits on offer from this technology – and it’s time to listen.
Think about the ways in which you can deliver your services better, cut costs, and improve interaction with customers and employees by deploying a VoIP service to replace your old office telephone network. Once you have a vision sorted out, your next task is to identify a suitable VoIP provider.
A Quality VoIP Service
When you start to investigate the market, you’ll encounter a wide range of VoIP providers.
Many of the old national telecom corporations have recently diversified into VoIP markets. However, these great institutions may struggle with legacy costs and inflated overheads, as their cost structures are a lot heavier than those of agile startups. Although these longstanding telecoms giants have the authority, they can’t usually squeeze their margins enough to compete on price with challenger telco players.
The new entrants into the market focus on VoIP and nothing else. They are innovators in both technology and business practices. However, many new companies are underfunded and promise more than they can deliver. Be cautious about entrusting your company’s telecommunications to a newly minted service provider. They might not be around for long.
Instead, look for an established company with experience and a solid background, such as IDT Express (a division of IDT Telecom). Founded in 1990, IDT has a solid track record of success that has made us one of the world’s largest providers of VoIP solutions.
IDT offers customers a range of VoIP service levels, in addition to offering DID numbers, long distance trunking, cloud PBX, and bulk services to offshore call centers.
IDT Express’s standard VoIP commercial service for businesses is highly scalable; small businesses get the same quality of service per line as the big corporations. The IDT Express VoIP service cuts out the infrastructure costs associated with setting up a new office telephone system. What’s more, the system takes minutes to initialize – and you get 24-hour access to your telephone configuration through an online console, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Sound interesting? Check out our free trial in order to get familiar with the system before you begin putting your cost-cutting VoIP plans into action.