Modern businesses are increasingly favoring VoIP phone systems as landline service falls by the wayside. To determine if switching to VoIP is right for your business, review the main benefits and tradeoffs of adopting VoIP service below, and save yourself a headache later.
Cost is a key factor driving the mass movement from landline to VoIP services. Since SIP VoIP technology initiates calls over an existing internet connection, VoIP phones typically run much cheaper than landlines as they use existing internet bandwidth rather than subscription phone lines.
Additionally, landlines tend to offer features à la carte, which drives up prices when a business needs more than the bare minimum. On the other hand, all VoIP packages typically offer all standard features such as voicemail, long-distance calling and e-fax services; most landline services charge separately for each on top of a higher starting price.
VoIP solutions also typically charge by usage, allowing for easy scalability and cutting out payments for any unused services or phone lines. Small businesses and fully-fledged VoIP call centers alike can pay for the exact amount of service they need with VoIP phone systems. Compared with the bundled lines offered by legacy phone carriers, the overall flexibility of VoIP in terms of costs and changing needs is self-evident.
Range of Services
Many businesses choose VoIP because it offers a wide range of advanced services. VoIP solutions usually provide several customizable features such as call handling, auto-attendant interception, call grouping, reporting, surveys, reminder calls and more in their standard package. Landlines cannot offer many of these features, even at an additional cost.
Aside from streamlining phone systems, VoIP can also bolster a budding business’s image. VoIP toll-free or vanity numbers, for example, are an inexpensive way to increase a business’s credibility—a popular trend among small businesses servicing clients across the country is to use area codes local to their clientele for a familiar look and local feel. Similarly, call queuing, auto-attendants and multi-level IVRs give customers the impression of a large, coordinated operation – even for businesses in the startup stage.
VoIP systems are much more digitally accessible and capable than their landline counterparts. Most VoIP systems can integrate with existing CRMs, strengthening reporting and analytics and creating a more streamlined process—and an improved customer experience. Landlines, by contrast, were not designed to integrate with CRMs or other programs, and are difficult to implement on one’s own.
Usability and Support
Both VoIP and landline services provide support for issues under their authority. However, since landline systems involve more on-site equipment than VoIP systems, a larger portion of landline maintenance is the business’s responsibility.
Cloud-based VoIP providers supply and manage all equipment other than the internet connection and the phone itself, leaving businesses with minimal maintenance responsibilities. Updates to softphones are frequently done without any upkeep required on the part of the owner!
Businesses that switch to VoIP benefit from easy phone mobility. VoIP PBXs and standard VoIP services frequently enable customizable call routing, forwarding and other handling services that optimize employees’ time away from their desk—without losing business or missing a call. Phone portability can streamline employee travel, remote work and workforce outsourcing, as calls can even be routed to mobile phones and laptops when needed. Additionally, call routing capabilities help unify businesses with multiple locations, allowing them to interact with one another seamlessly and ensuring callers can always be connected with the appropriate employee or agent—regardless of physical location!
By contrast, landlines are wired to a fixed location; while some provide basic forwarding and routing functions, their lack of customizable and advanced features limit mobility.
Reliability is a key concern businesses voice when considering leaving landlines behind. When the internet goes down, so do VoIP phones; traditional landlines continue to function normally. However, traditional landlines are becoming outdated and require more maintenance as they age. Thus, many landline solutions now incorporate VoIP technology into their models and experience the same issues as VoIP phones when internet connection fails.
Reliable internet solutions, such as fiber optic services, can provide service availability equal or superior to that of traditional landlines. Additionally, most cloud-based VoIP providers provide internet fail-over and seamless call routing to alternate phones or locations to maintain normal phone functionality during an outage. When researching VoIP systems, look for a provider that offers a quality disaster recovery plan.
Some businesses worry about inferior sound quality when considering switching to VoIP. While landlines generally transmit superior audio quality, VoIP phones can transmit great audio when provided with sufficient bandwidth. Audio quality should only be a deterrent from VoIP solutions if a business deals specifically with sound quality over the phone, or has a poor internet connection or low bandwidth.
The best VoIP or cloud providers will make Quality of Service router configuration a priority by either recommending or adjusting that setting to avoid voice quality issues. VoIP vendors and IT teams can test and optimize your existing bandwidth needs to use what you already have to maximum effect. Don’t assume a bandwidth upgrade is a given!
Still Considering the Switch?
While VoIP solutions may not be for everyone, they solve most businesses’ landline phone issues and provide a wide array of capabilities that consumers and employees expect of businesses today. When considering different VoIP providers, be sure to look for one that provides 24/7 monitoring and support and will accommodate your business’s specific needs. Take your first step towards a better phone system today by scheduling a demo to learn more!