There are always four questions that come up when people learn we help companies switch their telephone service to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution:
- What is VoIP?
- How does it work?
- Is it cheaper than what I am paying now?
- Is it better than what I have now?
I could spend an hour on each question, but I will try to keep it as brief as possible. Here are the typically four types of phones system you will find in business today:
- Traditional Multi-Line analog systems
- Hybrid VoIP and Traditional Analog systems
- VoIP solution
- Cell Phones
Each in their own way have both pros and cons and depending on how each of them are being used, will out shine its competitors; if they did not, they would not have a place in the market share.
We have been using VoIP in our business for several years now. During that time period we have had very few issues. Most issues, generally an Internet Service Provider (ISP) outage, were out of our control. Since a VoIP solution uses the internet to carry voice traffic, this is a crucial element to the system. Just a quick note here, in a traditional phone system you are dependent on the Phone Company being able to deliver your voice traffic. With VoIP there are multiple less expensive ways to reduce the risk of your phones being down.
So why do we use a VoIP solution, there are many reasons. First and foremost, we have the ability to configure the way it works for what we need it to do for our company. It is easy to use, easy to configure, easy to add and remove phones, adjust auto attendant, call flows, one Private Branch Exchange (PBX) for company with multiple locations.
A client of ours is using the same VoIP company and has offices in St. Louis and Chicago and both locations are controlled from a central location in St. Louis. They have the ability and freedom to open an office anywhere in the continental United States and put that new location under the same phone system with the ability to transfer calls between location by dialing phone extensions.
We worked with them to do a cost comparison between two individual Traditional Analog systems and the cost to upgrade their existing network infrastructure, while moving to a VoIP solution. Their Return on Investment (ROI) was 16 months. They are currently on month 9 and happy with the new phone system and its abilities to handle their needs at both locations. Their internal Office Manager can configure and make changes as needed.
When we are asked to do a cost comparison between Traditional Analog systems and a VoIP solution, cost alone for a VoIP solution is generally cheaper (This depends on the VoIP company you are looking at). It is critical to understand voice traffic goes over the Internal Network Infrastructure. If that equipment is not able to distinguish between data and voice traffic, users may experience voice quality issues. With the correct equipment in place, voice traffic can be given priority over data traffic. This does not imply that network speed will be affected, but does imply, how it handles data on and off the network.
Another area that VoIP has helped our company is with technician’s cell phone numbers being given out. The technicians are on the road or at a client location. With our VoIP solution vendor they have developed an application for cell phones. When making a business call for our company, the technicians will call out through the application. The caller on the receiving end of this call sees the company phone number coming in, not the technicians personal cell number. Calls from customers can be transferred, routed to the technician’s cell easily without call interruption. Technicians like that their cell number is not in the client’s phone, eliminating direct calls to them after hours.
I will leave you with some questions you need to ask yourself if you have every thought about switching to VoIP:
- Does my current system meet our needs?
- Will it grow with us?
- Is it easy to use?
- Can someone on staff make the changes we need?
These are a few questions to consider, if you answered no to any question, now might be the time to investigate a VoIP solution.
-Barry Herring, Owner