Hosted VoIP services are often seen simply as a way to reduce the cost of business telephony. But while that’s certainly a significant benefit, it’s not the only one by any means and arguably, it is way down the list when it comes to the reasons any organisation should seriously consider switching to IP-based telephony services.
The real benefits of VoIP are to do with productivity, improving customer service and making your operation more agile, flexible and responsive. These benefits may not be as immediately and obviously apparent as the reduction in the cost reduction you will see almost immediately, but they are what really make committing to a hosted voice service worthwhile.
VoIP gives you more for less
With a VoIP service, you get an amazing choice of telephony functions. Most of these, are what you might expect to get with an ‘traditional’ PSTN phone system, such as direct dial, call transfer and forwarding, auto-attendant and voicemail.
But there will be a long list of additional functions that you could not have got with a PSTN system without paying a lot of money, or just could not get at all, such as ‘follow-me’, which will enable a user to be called wherever they are and whatever handset or system they are on at the time. There will be advanced group calling features, and voice recording is available on many services.
With a business VoIP service, you can turn these functions on and off at almost any time and give some users more functionality than others. And while you will have to pay a little more for them – as you would have on analogue systems, they can be turned on and off at almost any time, and the additional cost will be small in comparison to the extra you’d have paid with an old PBX system.
VoIP means anyone can work anywhere – and are just as accessible too
Everyone likes the idea of working flexibly and from any location, but that can present some challenges. When some one works at home, they can just log onto their hosted voice account and they’ll be able to make and take calls on their usual number, and access directories and all the features that they can use when they are in the office.
This means they are always available on their usual number – and that saves time and improved productivity for everyone, because there is no longer any need to divert phones or to record messages asking people to call a mobile number.
It also means that when people are working at home, they are still logged-on, so they can’t ‘pretend’ to be working and you’ll have a full record of all the calls they make and receive.
VoIP improves availability and responsiveness – and thereby customer service
As well as working at home, people could also be working on the move, and most VoIP can be set up to find the individual wherever they are and whatever device they are on. It won’t matter whether they are in Manchester or Mumbai, on a train or at a customer location, they will still be available on their usual number.
As well as saving time – because people can be contacted straight away – it also means your business can be more responsive. There is less chance of calls being missed or abandoned, which means there is less chance of customers and important contacts getting frustrated, hanging up and seeking an alternative solution. In fact, because you can be more responsive, you can deliver better customer service.
VoIP brings teams together
Collaboration between remote teams is made easier by VoIP. Many hosted voice systems come with options that allow you to make video calls and also share screens, and thus in themselves provide a platform for simple team conferencing.
For those who want to get more serious and are using advanced collaboration apps, like Cisco WebEx Teams and Microsoft’s Surface Hub and Teams software, hosted VoIP provides the platform into which these systems can plug straight in.
VoIP makes your business more agile
With VoIP, you can expand or move your business at any time, without changing your numbers. You can set up a remote or temporary site anywhere and set up extensions or direct dials very quickly. This is ideal for businesses that work on projects in the construction or events management for example. You can also set-up ‘local’ numbers and have them divert to a central location if you wish, so a business that is serving a particular region. All this means you can be more agile and make maximum use of your resources – and different parts of the business can support each other more effectively too.
In all these different ways, VoIP makes your business more productive and while these benefits might not always be as immediately obvious as the cost savings, they are certainly worth more to the business in the long run.
If you are looking to become a VoIP reseller, check out our post here.