While small and medium-sized businesses think Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services are only for the big guys, the truth is the other way around. Tapping into a broadband connection instead of using Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) actually benefits the small player more than anyone else, and lets them compete on a more level playing field with larger businesses. Still not convinced? Let us break it down for you in this down and dirty guide to VOIP for small businesses.
How VOIP Works
The best way to think about VOIP is as a platform. This platform is seamlessly connected to your entire Internet network and therefore can be included as a managed service by a quality IT provider. What this means is that your phone service becomes not just higher quality but is overseen by the same experts that troubleshoot your entire system and is covered under your network monitoring and security.
Key VOIP Features for Small Businesses
According to AJ Agrawal in a recent article in the Huffington Post, VOIP is as different from POTS as a Point of Sale (POS) system is a from a pocket calculator. And that’s because it allows you to do many more things, things that benefit small businesses particularly. Here are the top 3.
- Increased productivity. Besides just better overall phone quality, VOIP services also allow functions like instant messaging, teleconferencing, and full email and fax integration, all of which will drastically increase the speed and ease of your workflow and customer interactions. Because VOIP can also be part of your managed services, all of this is also monitored and instantly upgraded and troubleshot as well.
- View and organize your company’s call history. VOIP services allow you to store information about phone calls made, including who was called, the length of the call, and what time the call was made as part of your overall Data Backup for the company. This allows you to access customer information and track exchanges in a way simply not possible with traditional phone service.
- Automated Assistance. With VOIP you can create and customize automated menus for your customers to navigate when they call you. This allows you to both share and collect important information since you can also set up a message-recorder at the end of the automated menu. Automated assistance both saves you time and provides a professional and useful service to your clients.
The VOIP Edge for Small Business Owners
As VOIP services continue to become more strategically significant over time, it’s a good idea to determine what will work best for your organization. While most people install VOIP services for practical reasons like better call quality, the fast-expanding menu of functional options means that soon they will be leveraging unique features like video conferencing and email messaging into a comprehensive communications strategy that dramatically affects the bottom line. This is because VOIP allows a small business to operate more like a big business, organizing your calls and other communication in ways that can be strategically utilized to increase contact and contentment levels and ups your retention and return rate. It’s a win-win situation.