What is VoIP?
Voice over IP (VoIP) is a way of communicating with voice over the internet using ‘IP’, the Internet Protocol. IP is the basic language that is used by all software and services that run across the internet. This allows voice communications to be transmitted digitally. As a result, VoIP services can be made available anywhere that there is an internet connection with sufficient bandwidth (and for voice, you don’t need that much).
VoIP services are provided as ‘hosted’ services in the cloud, i.e., they reside on a server somewhere in a data centre and are managed by a host provider that provides all the necessary connections and management of calls.Back to top
Why use VoIP for business?
Well, after 2025, you will have no real choice but to use VoIP, whether it’s for business or home. At that point, the UK’s ageing analogue PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) will be switched off completely. It is already being disabled in some exchanges and when it disappears completely, all voice calls will become VoIP calls.
In practical terms, VoIP is the best choice for business already. It provides much greater flexibility and scalability, management capability and helps businesses to keep costs under control. If you have not already switched to VoIP, it’s something you should look at as soon as possible.Back to top
The advantages of VoIP:Back to top
With VoIP, you can work at any location where you can connect to the internet. Businesses can operate from any location and always be reached on the same number with the same area code. They will also call out on the same number, so their number will be instantly recognised on the handsets of businesses or individuals receiving their calls. The same applies to individual numbers, as well as the main business line.Back to top
Get your business moving
If you want to or are forced to relocate, either permanently or temporarily, then worry not: your VoIP service can come with you. This is useful for businesses that perform on-site projects for clients, such as auditors or construction companies. VoIP is also ideal as part of a disaster recovery and business contingency plan. There is no need to re-route calls – they still come directly to your business and users over the InternetBack to top
Scale up or down anytime
There is another big advantage to companies that do project work (or any growing business, or one that needs to take on temporary or seasonal staff): you can add users to the VoIP service at any time. All you need are additional VoIP handsets, which are inexpensive and can be bought or even rented. You can scale down operations and the number of users just as quickly. All this means that you only ever have the voice calling capacity that you need.Back to top
Staff can work anywhere that they are connected to the internet and still be available on the same number. This has become especially useful in recent times, as so many more people are now working from home for at least part of the week – and that trend looks set to grow.Back to top
The breadth of functions available on a VoIP service is tremendous. As it is all done in the cloud, there are no capacity or configuration issues – services can simply be turned on or off as and when you need them. Of course, there may be some setting up to do, but whatever you were used to on an old analogue system or PBX, you can expect to get more and better functionality from VoIP. Voicemail, call recording, auto attendant, hunt groups, auto-forwarding, divert, detailed call reporting – it is all there and readily available.Back to top
As it’s digital, VoIP enables you to record everything and extract really meaningful and useful information about call patterns, duration, cost and more. You can see which customers are on the phone the most and least and analyse calls by department, team or individual. On most VoIP services, there are a whole range of reports available that you can tailor to suit your own needs.Back to top
Wherever they are, staff have full access to all the functionality and capabilities of the phone system. Voicemail, call forwarding, group chats and so on. They can work normally wherever they are and as they will be aware that you have full access to call patterns and durations, they will always be looking to make the best and most productive use of their time.Back to top
Integrate with CRM
If you want to boost productivity even more, you can integrate your VoIP system with your CRM software, so that staff can pull up data on customers before they call out and when they call in. Integrating with CRM will also allow you to do more detailed cost analysis on individual customers.Back to top
Ease of use
VoIP services are intuitive and easy to use, so new starters won’t need much training and they can get started and be more productive, much faster.Back to top
Manage resources better
With access to more detailed information, you can plan and manage your resources more effectively. You can see when it’s the best time to make calls and identify the peaks and troughs in activity and incoming calls. You can also ensure you have the right number of people and have the staff with the right skills available at the right time. And as VoIP can go with workers, it won’t matter where they are working – they can still be available.Back to top
Keep a closer eye on costs
The detailed reporting and tracking you get means you can keep a closer eye on exactly how much your telephony is costing your business, and where it is being spent. You can get a really good measurement of the return on investment you get from every customer and campaign.Back to top
Create a good impression
A company that is using VoIP is progressive, embracing technology and moving with the times. VoIP is the way that all telephone calls will be made and received in the future, but there is no need to wait until 2025. Your business can benefit from adopting VoIP right away.Back to top