More employees want to work from home. More customers want what you’re selling. Either way, you need a better way to communicate with customers, vendors, and staff.
Hosted VoIP phone service is the choice of businesses that need a fast, flexible, and economical communications tool. But what exactly is VoIP? And why is it the right choice for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs)? Let’s dive into why businesses buy VoIP services.
Defining VoIP phone service
VoIP is short for voice over internet protocol. Instead of using traditional phone lines like the ones that connected homes and businesses for much of the 20th century, VoIP converts human voices into streams of digital data streamed over the internet.
Thus, any internet-connected device — smartphones, tablets, PCs — can communicate via VoIP at any time and in any place. Company vice presidents can take conference calls on their morning commutes. Employees can do customer support from the comfort of their living room couch.
Research shows that cloud is the new normal with market revenue expected to surpass $49 billion by 2023 and existing Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN) becoming too expensive to maintain.
3 Kinds of Business VoIP Phone Service
Business VoIP phone service comes in three formats:
- On-premises: You buy hardware (routers, handsets, servers) and software that you install within the walls of your business.
- Hosted in the cloud: A VoIP service provider handles the vast majority of the technology. You pay a monthly fee based on usage.
- Hybrid: You install hardware on-site and partner with a hosted VoIP provider.
Hosted business VoIP phone service is often the best choice for SMBs because it requires the smallest investment in buying, maintaining, and replacing hardware. With hosted VoIP, it’s your VoIP service provider’s job to provision data centers, fend off cybercriminals, and keep all the technology current.
Hosted VoIP might require you to buy handsets and an-onsite router for your office, but otherwise your staff can run VoIP software on their devices.
6 Core Advantages of Hosted Business VoIP Service
Mobility. Thanks to waves of innovation in mobile apps, hosted VoIP service can take your business wherever it needs to go. You’re no longer stuck trying to conduct business communications over a hard-wired network in your office. Most business applications have mobile versions these days, so work doesn’t stop if there’s no telephone handset available.
Simplicity. The best applications that take advantage of VoIP services are designed specifically for ease of use. They’re also simple to install, configure, and learn how to use. By contrast, a conventional PBX phone system requires somebody to manage it and deal with technology upgrades and breakdowns. In small businesses, that can suck up resources better devoted to pressing business challenges.
Speed. With wired phone networks, it might take months to get a system up and running — and everybody trained on how to use it. With business VoIP services, companies often can have new systems up and running in a few days, with online training and support provided.
Economy and scale. There’s no need to buy expensive hardware with a hosted VoIP system. And you don’t have to pay people to support on-premises hardware. Cloud-hosted VoIP services generally charge by the user. You can easily scale up during your busiest season and scale back down when business cools.
Collaboration. With business VoIP and unified UCC, you can confer via videoconference with colleagues anywhere. Thus, if the vendor you need is in Europe or the engineer you need is in South Africa, you can collaborate with them in real time. This ability to connect with talent anywhere in the world levels the playing field for SMBs trying to compete with global giants.
Service and support. VoIP gives you access to advanced contact center features that used to be confined to telemarketing firms and large corporate customer service desks. This helps you automate repetitive components of inbound and outbound calling, freeing your people to serve more customers and make more sales calls.
Get More Facts on Hosted Business VoIP Services
With cloud-hosted VoIP, your employees get to keep their preferred devices. Your business VoIP service provider handles most of the technology. There’s not much hardware to buy or support, and you pay only for the services you use.