Whether it’s the fear that next-level technology is out of your financial reach or a lack of knowledge about the benefits, you may have procrastinated on upgrading your communications systems. As a small business owner, you are no stranger to challenges. However, choosing a small business VoIP solution shouldn’t be one of them. Technology is advancing rapidly, making efficient and effective communication more accessible and affordable than ever.
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is the technology used for communicating through video and voice calls over an internet connection. Today, 31% of businesses in the U.S. have switched to VoIP to boost their productivity and realize cost savings of 30–50%. Since every enterprise, regardless of size or years in business, has unique needs and goals, learning more about the overall capabilities, features, and benefits can help you see how the right VoIP solution can take your company to the next level.
How Small Business VoIP Solutions Can Work for You
VoIP technology operates by using packet-switching protocols. You can think of voice data as packages being sent back and forth virtually. These protocols move the parcels of data very rapidly over any VoIP-compatible network, carrying information to enhance and support your business’s communication needs.
Along with traditional voice services, VoIP also provides access to more advanced applications, helping your team become more productive and agile. Cloud business solutions have now evolved to accommodate unified communications (UC) platforms that include web conferences, email, voicemail, faxes, collaboration tools, video, and voice calls.
Accessing your small business VoIP solutions doesn’t require extensive and expensive specialized hardware. In fact, using the tools and features is as easy as logging into your desktop or laptop, picking up a VoIP-enabled phone, or using your smartphone.
Benefits Offered by VoIP for Your Business
VoIP solutions for small businesses provide a host of advantages. When you leverage the power of VoIP, you open up a world of possibilities that enable fast, effective communication and collaboration for any type of workforce. Whether yours is collocated, geographically dispersed, fully virtual, or a hybrid, you’ll be able to see the benefits.
With VoIP services, users can communicate at little to no cost with, at a minimum, only an internet connection and a computer. Small business VoIP solutions allow you to use your current phones or computers connected to the internet to make unlimited calls for a much lower price than traditional phone plans. By seeking the right service provider, you will find they offer unique packages that you can choose from, some that may be ideal for your business’s size, budget, and needs.
The first concern for many small business owners when discussing technological upgrades is cost. The good news is that VoIP and related cloud-hosted services require no specialized hardware, require minimal installation, and work using your existing equipment and a broadband internet connection. If you are an established company with an older phone system, you may need to upgrade your equipment to newer IP-enabled phones. These devices are easy to find and reasonably priced. Your service provider may even offer them with your plan.
Traditional phone lines will typically only allow you to speak to one person at a time. With VoIP, you can conduct several calls simultaneously, including group and conference calls. This is a significant advantage for most companies.
Increasing your call capacity makes it easier for business associates, management, and employees to collaborate and talk to clients as needed. Since it’s also much faster for clients to get in touch with customer support, VoIP improves the overall customer experience and helps grow your business relationships.
Your business is a living, dynamic entity. You must be able to respond gracefully and adequately to surges in traffic and demand without waiting days or weeks for increased capacity. Whether you have a seasonal rush, an emergency that requires all hands on deck, or the desire to take advantage of a sudden opportunity, you need to be able to collaborate and communicate at virtually a moment’s notice.
VoIP and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) allow your company to scale up or down as necessary with the simple act of making the change on your administrative dashboard.
Today’s working environments are much different than those of even 20 years ago when working remotely was only a reality for artists and writers. If you needed to work with others on a presentation or project, you had to go into the office. Collaboration with someone in another office meant emailing documents back and forth and having voice calls.
UC eliminates the lag and potential conflicts of emailing documents back and forth. Video calls and live editing allow you to finish projects quickly and efficiently regardless of physical proximity to teammates. Since all the features are designed to integrate seamlessly, you never have to worry about software conflicts or compatibility issues. VoIP and UC provide your employees with everything they need to communicate and collaborate quickly and efficiently in one place.
The best way to improve productivity for your workforce is to remove obstacles and empower them with the tools they need. VoIP services for small businesses are the ideal solution. They connect your employees with peers, contractors, suppliers, and customers anytime and anywhere there is an internet connection.
Gone are the days of waiting on salespeople or employees working offsite to return to the office to get answers, input, or respond to customers. Your remote or mobile teams can conduct business anywhere.
Online security is a top concern for companies in every industry around the world. Information theft and fraud can come from anywhere, and that includes international calling. Choosing the right provider means leveraging enhanced security measures like encryption and unauthorized call detection and response.
Encryption ensures that even if a cybercriminal intercepted your call, they could not understand it. Unauthorized or suspicious calls trigger an alert and can immediately terminate international calling in the case of fraudulent activity.
Finding the Best VoIP Service Provider
Now that you know some of the benefits offered by small business VoIP solutions, it’s time to learn more about finding the right service provider. Let’s look at some tips to help you with this critical decision.
Get to Know Your Options
If you choose VoIP, you have two service options. Hosted VoIP means calls are managed offsite through a cloud-based service. With this solution, you can save on upfront costs and only pay for the services you need and use. Your system is always running on the most up-to-date releases and security features, often with remote monitoring.
You also have the choice of hosting your own communications solution on-site, but you must purchase the hardware and software, as well as maintain security patches, software updates, monitoring, and maintenance.
Verify Call Quality
Having a quality VoIP service that provides clear calling with no issues projects a professional image. If customers are unable to reach you, they may get frustrated or turn to your competition. Be sure to check with a potential provider to ensure they can accommodate your call volumes. The best providers should guarantee a high percentage of uptime and availability.
Business continuity is an integral part of earning customer confidence and ensuring productivity. Frequent or unplanned outages can damage your reputation and impede progress, which is why you should pick a VoIP service that offers redundancy.
When the unexpected happens, like accidents, natural disasters, or other events that could derail your business, redundancy lets you gracefully switch networks so that you can keep serving your customers. Ensure your service partner offers routing via Tier-1 upstream providers for the best voice quality on a redundant platform.
The best provider for your VoIP small business solution is one that offers a wide variety of included or optional features and multiple plans that can fit any budget. Depending on your needs, it may work better for you to start with a basic plan and add only the additional services you need. Conversely, choosing a slightly higher level plan may give you more options for an even greater cost saving.
Get It in Writing
When you run a business, you can’t take chances when it comes to your communication solution. A quality VoIP provider needs to offer a superior Service Level Agreement (SLA). This document needs to specify the expected availability percentage, along with any scheduled downtime, and the remedies available to you in the event the promised levels of service aren’t met. This shows that the provider is professional, trustworthy, and actively working to provide the best service for their clients.
Be sure to work with a small business VoIP solutions provider that can meet your bandwidth needs and workload demands. Reliability and quality standards must be established so that your business can create a positive and professional impression when interacting with clients.
Getting the Right Small Business VoIP Solution
Small business VoIP solutions offer many benefits. The key to optimal success is ensuring you find the right service provider. SIP.US is a pioneer in the communications industry with decades of telecom experience and a deep understanding of SIP trunking and related IP technologies. Get started today and let us help find the ideal VoIP options to empower your business communications.