What Is VoIP and Should Your Business Use It?

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, refers to the system that is used through an Internet connection to exchange calls and videos.[1] More and more businesses have moved from using conventional telephone lines to this method of communication since its introduction in the industry, as it is a cheaper and more modern alternative to the outdated telephone system.

If your company still uses older communication methods, you may want to learn about VoIP and determine whether it’s time to make the move. Because VoIP services are managed online they are cheaper and more accessible than ever before. with more and more companies making the switch. VoIP services lower your spending cost by allowing employees to connect with each other for free, and they provide lower calling rates. Many VoIP services allow you to use your current internet-connected phones and enjoy unlimited calls at a lower price compared to the telephone companies charge per minute. Such service providers offer various packages to choose from, many of which may suit your business size, business needs, and budget.

If you have second thoughts about using VoIP because you’re concerned that using the hardware and software will cost you a lot, don’t worry. VoIP is fairly simple to set up and use. Little to no installation is needed of the vast majority of VoIP systems, and many can operate using existing devices. As far as hardware is concerned, businesses that choose to use VoIP via a computer need a working sound card that your computer probably already has, as well as a headset or microphone and speaker that you want.

Certain service providers may need the use of VoIP phones as well. However, the price of these phones isn’t that costly and in some cases these phones could be given for a nominal monthly fee by the VoIP providers.

Typically a normal telephone line only lets you talk to one person at a time. VoIP allows multiple calls, including group calls, which is a significant advantage for many organizations. It makes it easier for staff, supervisors and business associates to collaborate and communicate with customers. This is perfect for businesses that are looking to scale up and need to communicate with remote workers. VoIP also allows you to video chat and hold video conferences, depending on the provider and plan you select.

Customers also want to connect faster with customer support. As a result of installing a quality VoIP service, their issues can be dealt with and addressed more easily, which in effect improves the customer experience and strengthens the business relationship. You can create multiple business lines to use how you want, for instance, you can have a line for shipping, a line for basic customer inquires, a line for distributors, and a line for returns.

Case Study: Mens Supplement Company Raises Profit by 75% After Installing VoIP Software

A company that creates all-natural testosterone boosting supplements began marketing and selling their product online, only to continually lose thousands on refunds and charge-backs. Said company did not have a phone system for their quickly growing product and could not connect with their new growing customer base.

It turns out the most significant complaint the customers had was not the product itself. It was the fact that when they tried to learn more about the supplement, they couldn’t find anyone to explain it to them. After updating their site and adding a call number for customers to call for more information, charge-backs and returns dropped by 45%. In a statement by Today’s University, the best testosterone supplement companies are reachable by phone in case a potential client has specific dietary requirements or questions about ingredients.

The VoIP system not only allowed the company to reach more people but as they grew in popularity, it helped them scale up. With an increase in demand, distributors and health-food vendors were able to get in contact through a wholesaler’s business line. The new system also helped with logistics in shipping and tracking. As the company scaled up, remote workers and affiliates also had a private business number they could call to get back-end support from the company.

The company started shipping internationally in 2006 and was able to see a significant increase in sales. This meant more scaling up, and over the course of the study, researchers noted that the competitive termination rates (the cost to call internationally) was able to save them 30-45% more than if they had stuck with a traditional phone line.

What You Should Know Before Choosing a VoIP Provider 

If you do decide to break away from the traditional business phone system, you should consider these things before making your selection.

  1.  Double-check the company’s history and reliability. There are tons of up and coming VoIP providers, and not every one of them is built equal. Do your research and make sure you have a reliable provider who has been in business.
  2. Make sure the call rates meet your needs. If you’re going to make international calls, you need to check your provider’s international call rates.
  3. Make sure the quality meets your standards. Because there are tons of VoIP providers on the market, you won’t have any trouble finding a provider. What you may find, though, is that cheap providers offer cheap voice quality. If the whole point of you getting VoIP services is for customer service issues, then you want to make sure your calls are not getting dropped or filled with static. 
  4. Make sure your VoIP service also provides security. Because VoIP relies on the internet to pass data, it’s done on a public network. Make sure your provider employs high-level encryption, so your customer database cannot be breached. The best VoIP providers do regular audits of their data centers, have strong, secure networks, and often support MFAs (multi-factor authentications).
  5. Consider what type of business phone number you need. Meaning, do you need a toll-free number, international number, local number, or do you need a plan with all three?
  6. Consider the type of calls you’ll be making. Does your business make a ton of outbound calls, or do you receive a ton of inbound calls, and will you need a clean call routing solution?
  7. Do you need to scale up? If your business is growing faster than you thought, you might have started to notice that your limited number of channels can become messy and expensive. It can set back the workflow if your employees are sharing phone-sets. VoIP systems are easy to scale as they allow you to add additional users to your plan without paying for the installation of your new lines.
  8. Are you expecting to make tons of outbound and inbound calls? VoIP calls are generally cheating than traditional phone lines, as they route the calls over the internet. Local calls between employees are typically free, and international calls are substantially cheaper than using the operator.

There are tons of things to consider when choosing a VoIP provider. See if you need fax or SMS, or do you need video and audio conferencing? Do you have multiple locations and do you have a remote team that you need to conference with on the regular, are all critical aspects you need to consider when choosing a plan.

Should You Switch to VoIP?

The bottom line is that if you’re looking to scale up or make a large number of outbound calls, you should look into a VoIP provider. VoIP is also beneficial for businesses that make a large number of outbound calls and receive a large number of inbound calls internationally, as VoIP services are cheaper than your typical traditional phone line. It has also been shown to help businesses retain and generate new customers. Because it is a service done online, we suggest you look around carefully and know that what you get is what you pay for. Watch out for companies with bad reputations to avoid bad quality calls. You don’t want to be in the middle of a sale only to hear static on the other end.