Because most of us walk around with computers the size of a deck of cards in our pockets,, it’s easy to we forget that old-style telephones even exist. However, if you go into a well-running office of any kind, you can observe that they are using an integrated phone system. The convenience of phone systems that are designed to manage office needs can be critical to the efficient operations of your business.
Although it might be tempting to try and use your iPhones to handle everything, this is still unreasonable. Your secretary must be able to easily transfer calls, communicate via intercom, place people reliably on hold, and send them to appropriate voice mail systems. And when the satisfaction of a potential client is at stake, making errors due to an insufficient phone system is unacceptable.
Is there a modern solution for the needs of a cutting edge business? Must we simply accept old technology and antiquated methods of operations because office phones can outperform smartphones in certain tasks? There are some modern solutions and fortunately, they are powerful and usually cost-effective. Here are some things to consider when choosing a phone system for your small business.
Landlines used to be the only options when it came to office phone systems. You set your phone system up with the phone company, plugged in your phones and you were in business. Now, however, you can access the same communications via the internet.
This is called Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which is a fancy name for using the internet instead of analog phone lines to make and receive phone calls. Small business VoIP systems are a great way to manage costs, because most offices pay for internet already. If that’s the case, VoIP can be a cost-effective choice. Instead of paying for a landline and internet, use the internet as your phone line.
VoIP can also assist your office by providing services that a conventional phone line can’t. For example, with VoIP, there are no long-distance charges as you are using the internet. This is true of video conferencing as well, although there might be a service fee for the conference service you choose. There is often a digital assistant available which can be an effective and inexpensive way to handle your call traffic.
A digital or virtual assistant is available 24/7 instead of merely during work hours and can be an effective way to reduce staffing costs. A digital assistant is also a good way to help promote your brand. Hold music, as well as answering scripts can include the messages you want conveyed.
VoIP also makes it easier for your employees to work remotely. Because they don’t have to be connected to an in-office phone system in order to fully function with the call service, they can work from home or anywhere, really. With the need to travel for business or simply due to the increased production and lower expense having a decentralized workforce can provide, VoIP can be a great way to manage employees scattered around the world.
One potential disadvantage to a VoIP system is if you are unable to get a quality internet connection. VoIP relies on the internet and is therefore subject to the quality of your internet service. The ubiquitous access to the internet today almost makes this concern irrelevant except in extreme locations. Because it is a business situation it is usually necessary to get a dedicated connection.
This way, you don’t have to share bandwidth and have your service ebb and flow due to the traffic of your co-subscribers. Additionally, a traditional phone line can function during a power outage. Although there is a small amount of electricity required for landline phones, it is provided through the phone lines. If there is a power outage with VoIP, however, the system goes completely down.
Traditional phone lines operate with analogue voice service. This means that there is essentially no delay in the broadcasting of sound through the wires. This typically means high quality as well. When VoIP is working optimally it has high quality sound with less noise but can be susceptible to cutting out or delays. One issue that is difficult with this is that the delay can happen on either end of the call and is therefore impossible to completely eradicate.
The world is becoming digital. This is mostly a good thing. It provides more communications, more power and less expense. There are still some drawbacks, but ultimately, a modern office is well served to have its phone systems set up with a VoIP service. VoIP can provide services that traditional phone systems cannot, while reducing the operating costs. VoIP also shows that your business is operating in the twenty first century, and that perception can be valuable to your brand.
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