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The Ultimate Guide to VoIP Options for Small Business

Is your phone system meeting the mark? For any small business, communication tools are imperative to success. Traditional legacy phones don’t offer much flexibility or functionality. They could seriously impede your ability to grow and scale. Many companies are turning to VoIP (voice over internet protocol) to facilitate this. To help you understand and find the best solution, check out the following guide to VoIP options for small business.

What Is VoIP?

The technical definition of VoIP is the use of the internet to transmit voice data between callers. This is much different from analog systems, which are dependent on phone lines. With VoIP, you don’t have to be in the office to use the phone. All you need is a platform and an internet connection.

How Can You Use VoIP?

Since you’re using the internet, you have multiple ways to make calls:

  • Desktop computers: You simply use the application and plug in your earphones.
  • Mobile app: Via the app, you can use your smartphone to make and receive calls.
  • Desktop phones: Choose from many phone styles. All you need to do is connect it to the internet for use in the office or wherever you need to work. If you switch from legacy systems, many times, you can employ the same phones. Further, these phones are plug-and-play; they don’t require special configuration.

The Benefits of VoIP for Small Businesses

The benefits of VoIP for a small business are plentiful. By using this technology, you can reap immediate advantages for your team and company.

Save Money

A critical deciding factor in making the move is how much you can save on phone bills, equipment, and service calls. VoIP is a regular monthly fee with little variability because you’re not on the hook for long-distance calls.

The second type of savings is around equipment. On-premises phone systems require servers and other hardware. You’re responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of this, which can eat away at your bottom line.

Third, you won’t incur fees for service to add a line or upgrade features. Instead, you can do this from a central panel in a few minutes.

Expand Access

In the last year, the pandemic taught companies that you have to be agile to stay in the game. That agility includes the technology you use. Shifting from an office-based culture to a work from wherever one requires accessible tools.

The pandemic caused a major acceleration of adoption for VoIP. Some businesses pieced together solutions due to the urgency, simply forwarding calls from legacy systems. However, this isn’t sustainable and doesn’t provide the flexibility that teams need.

With VoIP, employees can call from anywhere as long as they have a platform and an internet connection. While many organizations are returning to the office, accessibility is not a fad. It’s the future for success. Provide your staff with a communication system that empowers them rather than restricts them.

Add Critical Features That Boost Productivity

VoIP has all the standard features you’d expect from a phone—forwarding, hold, three-way calls, transfers, etc. What sets it apart from other systems are these advanced features:

  • Voicemail functionality: Listen and manage with ease, which means no calling in and entering pins. Transcriptions of voicemails are also available via email or the app.
  • Auto-attendants and greetings: Configure your system to use IVR (Interactive Voice Response) to better route calls, add custom hold music, and create different greetings.
  • Call analytics: Understand metrics around call performance for groups like customer service and sales. You can create reports and share insights.
  • Spam protection: This feature detects likely calls from telemarketers or fraudsters. You can decide how to route these calls, either to voicemail or blocking them completely.

Enjoy Greater Reliability and Quality

Reliability for VoIP is much stronger than other phone systems. The providers that deliver this service prioritize uptime with redundancy best practices. If a disaster hits your office, your phone system is okay, even if you lose power. Computers and smartphones still work, and desk phones use PoE (Power over Ethernet), so you don’t need electricity to keep using them.

Choosing a VoIP Provider

Now that you know about the advantages of VoIP, how will you find a provider? There are lots of VoIP options for small business. Here are things to consider:

  • Features offered: Not all VoIP systems have the same features. Determine which ones are most important for you, and use this as a checklist.
  • Provider reputation: Check out customer reviews and how reputable publications rate and rank the provider. You don’t want to have buyer remorse when you discover the vendor doesn’t meet your expectations on service.
  • Cost: Your budget will play a role in choosing a provider. Don’t just go with the lowest cost system because it may not be reliable. Look for value.
  • Security: Make sure the VoIP product is secure in the cloud. A top-tier provider will be transparent about their security protocols.
  • Scalability: Your company will grow, so ensure it’s cost-effective and easy to scale the solution before you buy.
  • Support: While VoIP is easy to set up and manage, that doesn’t mean you’ll never need help. Seek out a partner that’s responsive and has favorable SLAs (service level agreements).

Explore the World of VoIP Options for Small Business with Intermedia Unite

Intermedia Unite includes VoIP phone systems and so much more. Discover all the features and benefits it offers small businesses by taking a product tour.

About Darcy Mekis