If there was a system that promised to both cut your telecommunications costs and boost productivity, it would surely make good business sense to switch over and give it a try. This is exactly what Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology can offer.

In using a VoIP service, calls are carried over the internet, in a similar manner to e-mail. In addition to substantial cost savings, VoIP can also offer additional features that conventional technology does not. VoIP is rapidly growing in popularity and yet some small and medium-sized businesses remain on the fence, worried that the audio quality of voice calls using VoIP is not up to scratch; that it may be costly to make the switch; or that the availability of their phone service could be put at risk if there is an interruption to their internet connection. In truth, the potential benefits of using VoIP far outweigh any possible problems.

Here we look at the factors to consider when assessing whether VoIP is right for your business, and the safeguards you can put in place to make sure the system works well for you.

1. Quality

Since the early days of the technology, there have been dramatic improvements in the quality of VoIP voice calls. Gone are the days when both parties taking part in a conversation had to be in front of a computer, and sound quality can now compete with the quality of calls on the traditional PSTN platforms. This evolved and improved service now allows you to place or receive calls using either a standard phone or an IP phone handset packed with useful additional features. This has led to many businesses ditching the conventional phone system completely in favour of a thoroughly modern solution that lets them leverage their existing data network to carry calls.

2. Cost

VoIP will almost invariably result in a dramatic reduction in your telecommunication spend because the operating costs of VoIP service providers are a great deal lower than those of traditional phone companies. The latter must contend with existing, high-maintenance phone infrastructure plus punitive industry regulations. VoIP providers can pass on these savings and charge a great deal less than their PSTN competitors. In addition to this, your business no longer needs separate data and phone networks which saves money and eliminates the costs associated with moving or adding phone points. All you now need to do is plug in your VoIP adaptor or IP phone handset to a broadband network point.

3. Flexibility

VoIP gives you a highly flexible phone system which can do things that a traditional phone system cannot. You can use your system literally anywhere you have access to a broadband connection. This means that customers or colleagues can reach you on your work phone wherever in the world you may be. You can also have voice or video conversations using your laptop via a headset or microphone.

4. Extra Features

Most VoIP services allow you to get voicemail and faxes sent automatically to your email inbox and to have your emails ‘read out’ in voicemail. You can also make use of virtual phone numbers using any available area code, no matter where you are based. This can be particularly appealing to customers who see you as a local business. Other useful features include call recording and a variety of management and analysis functions.

5. Productivity

VoIP numbers can be set up to ring simultaneously on multiple devices, perhaps your mobile and your landline, before they are sent to voicemail. This eliminates time-consuming phone-tag which has been shown to increase productivity by almost four hours each week per employee.

VoIP wholesale carrier: How to get the best from VoIP

With all of these potential benefits, if you do consider making the switch to a VoIP service, here are a few tips that can help you pre-empt any potential pitfalls and make the most of your new system:

– An experienced VoIP service provider such as IDT will advise you and tailor the solution to your individual needs. Shop around to make sure you are properly supported.
– Test the VoIP service initially using just a few users, keeping your old system running for backup through the transition. When you’re satisfied with this, roll it out to your other employees.
– Make use of call-forwarding. Should you lose power, your computer network will go down but any VoIP calls will be automatically forwarded to a mobile or landline.
– Make your network secure. VoIP is attracting the unwanted attention of hackers, so stop them in their tracks by using thorough, up-to-date security.

Regardless as to the size of your business, switching to VoIP can give you a flexible, affordable system which offers you the same sophisticated communication tools enjoyed by your larger competitors.