Whether you call it Hosted Voice, Hosted Telephony or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), internet-based call systems are becoming standard in many businesses.
VoIP is nearly identical in operation to a traditional PBX, but rather than using onsite hardware, the phone system is held virtually in the cloud and calls are routed via the internet. Each VoIP user can have 5 end points for their extension and so can access their extension via a standard Desk Phone, a Smartphone, a tablet, PC or Laptop, or indeed all 5 at the same time should they wish. It’s ideal for supporting your remote or hybrid workforce, where staff can take calls as if they were sat at their desk in the office from anywhere in the world.
Ultimately the choice between VoIP or onsite will come down to your business needs, but in almost every case, hosted VoIP will be a good fit. Here’s why:
Lower cost per call
The bottom line is vital for every business, large or small. So, you must consider every cost-saving opportunity. VoIP is best known for how cheap it is to make a call. Those low costs are due to the fact that VoIP uses your existing internet connection. This goes for international calls as well as domestic. The only new charge you have to think about is the monthly price of the hosted VoIP service you use, your team members are free to make as many calls as they want to, to each other. Compare this to traditional landlines that require hardware like wires, installation and expensive phone bills and you’ll see that switching to VoIP will bring about considerable cost savings.
Work from anywhere
On a traditional phone system, a line that runs to a home or business is assigned its own phone number. Any movement that takes place then becomes a trial of remembering the right codes or keys to dial on your phone. A lot of time can then be wasted by contacting phone companies to transfer services and phone numbers to new locations.
With a VoIP phone system, all of this is eliminated. There are no physical limitations. You have the freedom to move as your business demands without any added stress. This means you can work from anywhere with an internet connection. That way, even if you cannot see colleagues and clients in person, your team can operate at full capacity and productivity levels, even if you’re not physically together. And in many cases team members will be able to keep a single number, regardless of travel or moving from one workspace to another, easy!
Scale it up as you grow
Unlike a traditional phone system and dedicated phone lines that limit you to a certain number of people or lines, hosted VoIP services can typically scale as you grow. So while you may have a dozen or so employees today, even if you grow to 500 soon, the VoIP telephone system will be able to support your growth. The same is true if you need to downsize for any reason; you can reduce the number of users on the system as you wish.
With VoIP, scalability is not only easily available, but is also good for keeping your costs low. All you have to do is ask your service provider to add more lines when your team is increasing or remove a line when someone moves on. At any given point of time, you’ll only be paying for what you are currently using.
Improved customer experience
Speak to anyone in your marketing team, and they’ll know the importance of customer journeys online, but what’s sometimes overlooked is the experience offline too. Suppose you have a customer that regularly calls and needs to speak to a specific person or team but frequently finds themselves talking to the wrong person and being transferred around the office. In that case, it’s far from a good experience. Equally, what if they call and the person in question is working from home? Are they expected to phone the employee’s mobile number and track them down?
In our experience, in specific industries where employees are frequently in and out of the office, for example, estate agents, a customer’s experience of reaching the person they need to is often relatively poor. They typically have two or more numbers for the person, which means two voicemails and twice the numbers to call. By switching to VoIP, your customers only need to call a single telephone number, and they will be connected to the person they need, wherever they are.
Auto-attendants are another great feature that businesses can utilise to improve customer experience; by simply giving the caller a couple of choices when they ring, you can get them to the right person or department much faster than manually.
Improved reliability and disaster recovery
Whereas in times gone past, you would have a physical phone system in your office and one or more telephone lines coming into it, with VoIP, all of that is in the cloud. What that means is your company’s office can suffer a power cut, or worse and assuming you can move your employees to somewhere else with an internet connection, they’ll be able to continue to take calls. On the note of reliability, as these cloud phone systems are in multiple highly secure and resilient data centres around the UK, the chances of the actual service going down are far less than your office having an outage. So, in summary, there’s less chance of an outage, and even if there is, you can simply send your employees home to work.
Packed with features
Calling is more fun with with VoIP phone systems, because these phone systems are often accompanied by a variety of attractive features. Call waiting, call transferring, voice recognition, presence, messaging, call forwarding, voicemail, caller ID, call blocking, automatic call distribution, etc. are just some of the many features that you may get to choose from, in your hosted VoIP service.
VoIP systems are feature-rich solutions that enable employees to operate as if they were in the office, even when they’re not. You can send voicemails to instant messaging or emails if the intended recipient isn’t available at the moment. It’s easy for organisations to centralise VoIP communication for better coordination. Other features include mobile integration, auto attendant, advanced call routing, conferencing, and call recording.
Integration with other business systems
Given the fact that VoIP is a technology based on the Internet, its integration with your normal business apps and software can be easily achieved. The industry jargon for this is Unified Communications, which simply means bringing all your communications under one roof.
You could combine VoIP with your email system and be able to place calls through the email system itself or even with your CRM system, that way you can merge call records of a customer into the customer’s profile.
VoIP also works well with Microsoft Teams so that users can make and receive regular telephone calls either with their Teams app or with physical telephones. You can schedule online meetings, chat to your co-workers, and communicate easily between staff and customers. There are options to create a private or group chat whilst sharing files.
Future proof your business
In 2025, the UK’s ISDN network will be turned off. This means traditional telephone lines are being switched off, and more businesses will need to move to VoIP, so now is the time to set up your business with a digital phone line.
Fortunately, there are enough other benefits to VoIP to make it worth doing sooner rather than later. Importantly, if you’ve been in business for several years, the chances are that you’ll want to retain your existing telephone numbers. The good news is that we will be able to “port” your numbers, so your customers and contacts won’t know that anything has changed.