Communication is the bloodline of an efficient business. You need to engage with workers, customers, and prospects at the drop of a hat. Businesses use different ways to accomplish this, such as email or onsite chat systems. Others like to implement VoIP, or “Voice over Internet Protocol.”
With the use of VoIP phones, it creates the question “how do VoIP phones work.” VoIP works by utilizing broadband internet connections to host phone services instead of traditional phone lines. It’s quite useful if you’re looking to centralize how you communicate in-and-out of your business, without relying on contracts from phone companies. If your business is seeking a new way to handle communication, then VoIP is a potential solution.
Keep reading to find out how to use VoIP phones and service to help your business. Also check out our short course on VoIP phone systems!
How Does VoIP Work?
So, how does VoIP work? VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) converts phone signals to digital ones using broadband internet connections. Using VoIP, users can make calls with either software, an adapter, or a special VoIP phone. Along with centralizing communication, VoIP is cost-effective and offers unique features.
For example, if your phone is compatible with a VoIP adapter, you can connect to a broadband connection and make calls using your ISP. Your PC – with the right software – can also make direct calls, provided you have a headset or mic (think using something like Skype). Special VoIP phones also exist, ready to use broadband connections without the need for an adapter.
VoIP a great way to integrate your services into one platform. If you already have a fast broadband connection, then you already have one of the resources needed to make Internet-based calls. Yet, it’s important to understand if VoIP is right for your business.
What Are the Advantages of VoIP?
VoIP comes with a host of benefits that can improve communication for any business size. We’ll list them here to provide a quick breakdown over what a VoIP service can do for you:
To remain competitive with phone companies, VoIP vendors (and their hardware) come loaded with communication features beyond making calls with broadband. Some, for instance, integrate with video chat, a powerful tool for any business. Others offer mobility, where a VoIP device can connect to networks on the go (even wireless), providing an excellent utility for companies with travel-oriented tasks.
No doubt one of the biggest selling points of VoIP is its cost factor (or lack of). The low cost is the result of a variety of factors, such as the accessibility of free software compatible with VoIP phones (again, like Skype). VoIP vendors also offer plans which are cheaper than their phone counterpart (no hidden fees or burdensome contracts). Additionally, software compatible with VoIP plans are either free (or offer their service), aimed at businesses or large organizations.
Old Hardware Support
This depends on the vendor, but if your business relies on legacy hardware like traditional phone landlines, you’re not out of the picture. VoIP services and adapters are still compatible with older machines – even fax. While compatibility varies and making proper adjustments is required, a transition to VoIP doesn’t have to be difficult. As a bonus, an organization saves money, as they don’t have to invest in new infrastructure for the service. It’s still a good idea to eventually upgrade to VoIP phones, but not necessary when starting out.
What Are the Disadvantages of VoIP?
So, now you have an idea of how VoIP phones work and how they benefit your organization. But, the service isn’t without its drawbacks. Knowing these drawbacks helps you make an informed decision about whether the service is useful for your organization.
Because VoIP phones rely on the internet to make calls, the quality relies on your ISP. Most of the time, this isn’t an issue, but some businesses may suffer from bandwidth problems or they may lack enough speeds for calls. This means you’re limited to broadband. While it’s still possible to run VoIP phones and services with wireless, the touch-and-go quality will become a hindrance instead of a help. And, if you use VoIP telephones to talk with clients and customers, clear quality is mandatory.
Again, while it’s not necessary to invest in VoIP phones immediately, you will eventually want to upgrade your infrastructure. This will require some capital investment, so, it’s something to prepare for. The cost varies depending on your needs. For instance, a small business won’t need to spend much, whereas a call-center will have to spend more.
While not difficult, VoIP phones require some time to get the hang of, which may require time to learn. This is a minor issue, however, as most VoIP phones are easy to use and designed for accessibility. The software requires more knowledge, but this knowledge is mainly for management (and vendors are happy to help with setup and installation, if applicable).
How Do VoIP Phones Help My Company?
Now you have an idea of what to expect from both VoIP phones and VoIP services. But, how does this tie into your organization, and how does it help? Aside from the positives we’ve listed, there are a few other things to consider.
Organizing is Easier
Consider the value from conference calls with video-chat enabled. Management, staff, and workers can connect from any location for meetings and projects. Additionally, the message of said meetings is better conveyed with a visual aid. Imagine trying to explain graphs or charts with someone over the phone – a lot harder than it sounds! As such, VoIP phones with video-chat compatibility interconnect a company in many practical ways.
The great thing about VoIP platforms is it makes communication within a business much faster. Telling Marvin in IT that there’s a problem with your logins can be done with a call or message, instead of rushing down to the IT department to let them know (or sending an email which could be read at a later time). Small factors like this build up, saving a company hours in lost moments.
The great thing about VoIP phones is they’re a form of modern technology, which means the service is always improving and evolving. If you’re a call-center or a company expecting high volumes of consumer calls, then you need as many resources as possible to best help your client base. As such, VoIP phones offer a variety of tools and unique ways to approach your service model, and you can always expect better types of hardware with each year.
Additionally, internet speeds are constantly scaling. It’s not uncommon for an organization to have gigabit or similar ISP services, and as such, the quality problems mentioned before are a minor footnote at best. Legacy systems and traditional landlines are still usable but are slowly less usable in the modern business environment.
If you need to replace a VoIP phone, that’s not an issue. Legacy systems, however, are more challenging depending on the age of a phone. For most VoIP phones and services, it’s a matter of plugging in the hardware – easy to install, even if you need to set up for multiple users at once. That also means your business won’t experience problematic things like downtime because of maintenance.
The Right VoIP Phone
Now, you can answer the “how do VoIP phones work” question with confidence. Choosing the correct vendor and hardware comes down to preference and organizational needs. Plenty of options exist – such as options for call-centers, small businesses, cordless, speakers, and even USB VoIP phones.
Have additional questions? Need more information? Don’t keep struggling with bad technology and poor support.