The marketers of the world deserve a round of applause because they have (on too many occasions) successfully convinced me that I absolutely need to have something.
Whether it’s the newest iPhone upgrade, hand soap at Lush that smells like vanilla shea butter heaven, or sleek new waterproof hiking gear from REI; I’m guilty of buying them without truly needing them. All of these things, while fun to have, are ultimately unnecessary—aka I won’t die without them.
But it can be hard to convince yourself of that when you’re in the moment and about to make a purchase. In my experience, consumer marketing teams have done an excellent job persuading people that a product will make their life better.
Marketers of the tech world put just as much energy and creativity into selling their products as marketers for consumer-facing brands. And it can be hard for businesses and the people on buying committees to sift through the marketing materials and jargon to figure out if their business actually needs to purchase a new piece of technology.
This article goes over 5 tell-tale signs that your business is ready for a modern business phone system in plain (non-market-y) language. VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology enables users to place voice calls over the internet, rather than relying on traditional landline phones or cellular phones. Like most things in life, switching to VoIP has its pros and cons. I’ll highlight some of the biggest caveats to purchasing a VoIP solution at the end of this article, and provide a suggested list of products to help get you started researching different products.
5 signs that your business is ready for VoIP
Below are 5 signs that your business should consider moving to VoIP for voice communication needs. If you find yourself thinking ‘good golly, all of these describe my business!’ while reading this article, check out our VoIP category page to learn more about this software and take a closer look at VoIP products.
#1 Excessive communication costs
If your communication needs have increased to the point where it’s becoming too expensive to make calls via traditional landline phones or cell phones, then VoIP services might be right for you. For example, if you’re trying to grow your sales team or customer support/service team, the volume of calls your reps will be making is going to increase.
International calling is also typically more expensive using standard phones compared to VoIP lines. Many VoIP providers have both desktop (or softphone) and mobile applications that allow users to make voice calls directly from the app without requiring additional phone hardware.
#2 Access to more features
VoIP business phone systems have a wider range of calling features than traditional phones do. Many VoIP services include voicemail transcription capabilities, the ability to send and receive faxes via email, and the ability to route incoming calls to multiple locations using one digital phone line. If you’re looking for a business phone service that includes more features for an affordable price, VoIP technology is the way to go.
In addition to more voice calling features, some vendors offer VoIP software that is embedded in larger unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platforms. These platforms typically include voice calling, audio and video conferencing, messaging, and team collaboration (e.g. screen sharing) capabilities. Vendors that offer UCaaS platforms typically allow businesses to purchase whatever level of online communications capabilities they need at the moment.
Mobility is likely a top priority if the nature of your workforce is very mobile (e.g. construction field teams, teams of traveling nurses or doctors, or realtors that spend much of the day evaluating properties with their clients). VoIP services provide a cheap and portable way of staying in contact with your employees, prospective customers, or clients. As mentioned above, many vendors also have VoIP mobile phone apps, which makes staying in touch while on the go even easier.
If you work remotely or travel frequently for work and talk with clients or customers on a regularly, a VoIP business phone number may be right for you. Individual VoIP lines allow users to have a secure business number they can give out to their contacts without needing to worry about handing out their personal phone number. Many VoIP services also allow users to set ‘working hours’ during which they’ll receive call or message notifications. This can be helpful if you’re trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance and don’t want to be receiving voice calls at all hours of the day or night.
#5 Transitioning to cloud-based technology
If your business is in the process of transitioning to cloud-based technology and need to set up a business phone system, you should consider cloud-based VoIP software. Relying on cloud applications hosted by a third party (also called software-as-a-service) can help decrease a lot of costs associated with hardware, routine maintenance, and upgrade fees. Of course, these services have drawbacks as well. But the bottom line is: VoIP is the way to go if your business is looking to invest in a phone system that will be accessible from anywhere with a strong internet connection and requires little to no physical hardware.
Disadvantages of VoIP
Though VoIP services are a good fit for many businesses and individuals, there are a couple of general drawbacks that apply to all VoIP products that you should be aware of before delving deeper into product-level research.
The first big disadvantage is that the quality of the VoIP service (i.e. call quality and reliability) is only as strong as your internet connection. Landlines are still more reliable than VoIP phones because they’re physically connected to the PSTN, cell phones are also usually more reliable if you’re getting service through one of the major carrier networks that have nearly complete coverage in the US.
This means that if there’s a power outage and the internet is down, your VoIP services won’t work. If you need access to a completely reliable phone system, one that will work even during a power outage, traditional landlines may be the best option for you business.
Another disadvantage is that access to emergency services is not guaranteed for all VoIP services, you’ll need to check with the VoIP provider to see if these are offered. This is especially true for non-fixed VoIP numbers that aren’t tied to a specific location or address. On the other hand, vendors are more likely to provide emergency services access for fixed VoIP lines since they’re linked to a specific address.
Latency can be another issue. Calls may have a short delay, or sometimes get dropped, due to bandwidth requirements associated with certain VoIP providers.
Read to check out some VoIP products?
If you’re wondering which VoIP software to start looking at, here’s a list of some of the highest rated products on TrustRadius. Certain products below are better suited for individuals or small businesses (e.g. Google Voice, Jive Hosted VoIP) and others are better suited for enterprises (e.g. Fuze, Cisco Unified Communications Manager), all of them can be found on our VoIP Providers TrustMap:
- 8×8 X Series
- Cisco Unified Communications Manager
- Google Voice
- Jive Hosted VoIP
- Skype for Business
Check out our free Buyer’s Guide to VoIP Providers to get an even more in-depth look at 7 leading VoIP solutions.