Whatever deals they might offer to private homeowners the traditional phone bills for business customers are still usually rather high. And although many small retailers do a great deal of business online these days many also still make use of the phone both for ordering and customer service functions and for those that do any way that they can save money is always welcome. One way you can do that is by switching to a VOIP service provider.
VOIP – which stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol – is actually an older invention than the Internet technology it was eventually named for, as the first, crude versions of a VOIP system were first created in the early 1970s. With the advent of broadband Internet connectivity though the concept of VOIP as a business communications solution really took off though.
In a nutshell VOIP technology can provide your business with an alternative to the expensive services of your local phone company or the kind of cable/DSL phone system provided by a cable company. It utilizes a broadband Internet connection to function and offers users the same functionality that you are used to – voicemail, call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID and more.
How Does VOIP Work?
You need three basic components to make a VOIP call in addition to the necessary software – an Internet connection, a computer sound card and a microphone or some sort. Not that that means you have to give up the comfort and ease of using a traditional telephone handset and switch to a microphone based system, there are a lot of excellent phone model options available to use with VOIP technology. When a VOIP call is placed the VOIP gateway converts analog signals into digital ones, breaks them down into small chunks called packets and then sends these packets over the Internet in much the same way as any data is sent. At that point the packets are sent on to their final destination (the person you are calling’s telephone) and reconverted into an analog format so that the phone call can begin. Its a little more complicated than that but those are the basics!
VOIP Versus Traditional Phone Service for Businesses
When people began discovering the concept of making a VOIP call it was a bit of a novelty that was mainly utilized by “computer geeks” in the comfort of their own homes and in those early days business owners had a lot of very valid reasons to be more than a little leery about the concept of switching their traditional telephone system for a VOIP based one. Maintaining an open line of communication at all times is crucial for any business and those early VOIP solutions were just not able to match the reliability and call quality that the local phone company could offer.
Like any other new technology VOIP has grown and evolved though and today’s VOIP solutions offer clarity and reliability that stacks up very well against PSTN. There are the obvious disadvantages to VOIP service ; if your Internet goes down the phones will not work and the same is true of a power outage. On the other hand when a traditional phone line goes down business owners usually have to wait for hours, if not days, for the telephone company tech to arrive and fix the problem whereas a VOIP based system can be up and running again in a minute as soon as the lights come back on or the Internet connection resumes.
Monthly Cost Savings
If you were to call a phone company about getting new traditional PSTN phone service for your business right now these days they will probably give you a flat rate for your monthly service. However after the salesperson has finished giving you the big spiel they are required to add (probably in a much quieter voice) that the figure they have just quoted you does not include a number of mandatory fees.
The FCC lets phone companies charge you a monthly amount for the privilege of accessing their telephone lines and every phone company takes advantage of that fact. There are usually also line maintenance fees and international calls will cost extra as well. VOIP does not come with any of these charges attached.
Then there are the additional services. Usually that flat monthly rate will not include services like call waiting, caller ID and conference calling and you can expect to pay quite a lot extra if you want a good voice mail service. All of these things have a straight cost in the case of most VOIP business services – 0 dollars.
Per Call Savings – The days of being charged extra for a call that is out of your local calling area by your local phone company are admittedly almost gone, most of them offer an unlimited local and long distance calling plan for X dollars a month. But X dollars actually tends to be quite a lot, certainly more than the monthly fees that most VOIP providers charge.
No More Taxes – If you have a look at your current phone bill you will notice you are charged a number of different taxes every month. It is actually not the phone company’s fault, the federal, state and local governments are the ones collecting that money. And you have to give them all their cut. VOIP providers are not mandated to charges those taxes so this too offers savings that will vary depending upon where your business is located but can be anything from a nice little bit of extra change every month to a significant dollar amount.
No Repair Call Out Fees – If you have ever had to call your traditional phone company about a problem you are having with your service you probably know the drill by now. Yes ,they will send a technician out but they cannot quite tell you when. Maybe sometime between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm tomorrow. Or the next day. And if the problem turns out to be on your end not theirs they will happily charge you a hefty fee for their technician’s time. And if you want a new phone line installed? That is really quite an undertaking both in terms of expense and time.
If you have a hosted VOIP service all of the equipment needed for your phones to function is located at your providers premises, not yours. Repairs are made there and there is no physical equipment at your business that needs to be maintained.Koehler Home Decor is a wholesaler of home decor accessories and unique gifts. Source quality wholesale merchandise at KoehlerHomeDecor.com and find tips for promoting your business on our blog.