10 VoIP Advantages for Small Businesses
April 16, 2015
SMBs have been transitioning to VoIP services from traditional phone systems for several years now, and the growth has been exponential. In fact, experts are predicting that the VoIP market will grow 55% annually over the next few years. In this article, we’re outlining exactly what VoIP advantages for SMBs are causing this massive shift.
Here are 10 advantages of VoIP for SMBs.
1. VoIP integrates cell phones and desk phones
One of the clear advantages of VoIP is its ability to sync mobile devices and desktop phones. This enables employees to take business calls on the go, while also allowing them to keep their desk phone. Switching to VoIP does not mean disconnecting completely, which can come as a relief to those who are accustomed to their desk phone. It simply adds the convenience of being mobile.
The Telzio Mobile App provides the familiar functionality of an office phone, with features like call waiting, transfer, speakerphone, hold, and three-way conferencing. The app is essentially a virtual phone that lives within your smartphone, and keeps the business line separate from the personal line. What’s more, the app integrates with the VoIP phone on your desk, so all calls and messages are synced.
This capability provides additional functionality that comes in handy. For example, you can:
- Route incoming calls to both your desk phone and mobile device at the same time, or ring your desk phone first before trying the app.
- Route calls to multiple mobile app users at the same time, or in a specific order (known as hunt groups).
- Switch between the desk phone and the mobile app during a live call (known as call flip).
The mobile app also provides the opportunity to reduce costs on purchasing devices. Many SMBs are adopting a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy today. The business VoIP app provides the same functionality as a desk phone, without the additional hardware. And, it can be easily deleted/modified for onboarding and offboarding of users.
2. Small business VoIP services include advanced features
VoIP makes enterprise phone features available to SMBs. Features that were previously only accessible to organizations with big budgets now come standard with small business VoIP services.
We’ll go over just some of them here.
Auto attendants, also known as phone menus or IVR menus, greet callers with options to be routed to a specific department or person. With an out-of-the box VoIP solution, these menus are easy to create.
Telzio provides a modern, easy-to-use interface where even non-technical users can simply mark off the options and create a greeting. Greetings can be recorded directly through the web browser, uploaded as an audio file, or typed out using the text-to-speech (TTS) tool.
Not only does an auto attendant route calls more efficiently without the need for a human receptionist, but it also provides a more polished, professional image of the SMB.
With landlines and traditional phone systems, creating a new phone extension could only be done by a phone technician. VoIP services today enable any non-technical user to go online and add an extension with just a few clicks. This new capability plus the mobile app allow for easy scalability and flexibility for SMB expansion.
While most VoIP providers charge a per-user fee for adding employees/phones to the system, Telzio includes all users at no additional cost. This transparent and SMB-friendly pricing enables even more cost savings.
Customer support teams can handle incoming calls more efficiently with phone queues. Queues place callers on hold until the next agent is available, reducing missed calls and unfulfilled customer inquiries.
With Phone Queues from Telzio, SMBs can easily customize call routing to in-house and virtual customer support teams. Combined with softphone capabilities and help desk integrations, an SMB can establish a complete call center without any hardware or physical office requirements.
VoIP makes call recording an easy feature to enable on all or some phone calls. You have the option to record all incoming calls to your business, customer support calls, sales calls, or calls for individual users. You can also start recording during a live call.
Call recordings are stored online, where they can be tagged and shared for training and quality monitoring.
Call recording is available without any additional hardware or software, and it’s enabled or disabled with just one click. Some business VoIP providers may limit storage of recordings, but with Telzio, recordings are included at no extra cost.
What’s more, Telzio provides data retention settings that automatically deletes recordings, call logs, messages, etc. after a set period.
Custom Hold Music
With a modern VoIP system, you no longer have to settle for the generic hold music offered by the phone provider. Telzio enables you to upload your own hold music, which means you can also add on-hold messages and custom announcements.
Any VoIP phone number can be used to host audio conference calls with Telzio. Participants from anywhere in the world can dial into the conference number to join in. Conference calls can also be recorded and shared.
Discover more business VoIP features.
3. VoIP is easy to deploy and manage
Because small business VoIP systems don’t require any hardware or programming, deployment is a simple process. Let’s walk through the steps.
- Porting or getting a new phone number. You can keep existing phone numbers by porting them to the VoIP provider, which can take anywhere from 24 hours to 10 days. Or you can register a new phone number instantly.
- Choosing and configuring phones. Both virtual phones (mobile app/webphone) and desk phones (IP phones) can be set up for calling instantly. With auto provisioning, the VoIP provider virtually configures the phone’s settings automatically.
- Setting up a call flow. The call flow is the UI where you can customize call routing with phone menus, queues, hold music, voicemail, and more.
The lengthiest part of the process is probably the buying decision. You should always test a VoIP service before you start porting your numbers. Once the trial phase is over, you can create your own timeframe for migrating the system. And, important to note, there’s no downtime during the switch.
4. VoIP systems provide call analytics and real-time data
Data is something even small businesses can make use of. Call analytics are essential to figuring out where to direct your company’s resources while keeping a watchful eye on call center performance. Call data provides insight on caller experiences and agent activity over specific periods.
Metrics can be filtered by date and phone numbers and include:
- Average call duration
- Average hold times
- Average time before callers hang up
- Most active users
- Number of missed calls
These insights may help you determine that you need additional staff on certain days, or that you’re overstaffed at certain times. Ultimately, it gives you an overview of your business communications so you can make informed decisions on how to improve it.
Telzio even provides call data in real-time, where you can see all call activity and status of agents on a live dashboard.
5. VoIP providers continuously add new features
Technology progresses so fast, that a hardware system purchased five years ago is far behind the capabilities of what’s possible with software-based systems today. The problem is that business customers are locked into long-term license agreements with the hardware system vendors, so their hands are tied. This is a major setback for those who have purchased hardware in recent years.
The fact is, a VoIP system can do everything a hardware system can do but better, and it can evolve with your growing business. At Telzio, our focus is on the development of our proprietary VoIP platform. Not only do we continuously enhance the technology behind our platform to ensure high call quality and reliability, we look ahead to innovate and build new solutions that help modern teams work better.
6. VoIP expands market reach
VoIP provides the opportunity to have a local presence no matter where you are located in the world. A small business can manage local, toll free, and international numbers under a single account, and employees can use the phone numbers from any location. This eliminates long distance calling altogether.
A local business can obtain a toll free number and immediately expand its reach nationwide. A national business can obtain a phone number in Australia, Canada, Denmark or other country, and immediately expand its reach to international customers.
7. VoIP numbers support business SMS and virtual fax
More businesses are texting with their customers. Our data shows that 47% of small businesses are using SMS on their phone numbers. Company text messages can be easily managed and collaborated on via the Telzio Dashboard, where messages can be tagged, commented, and reassigned between users.
With Telzio, any phone number can be used as a virtual fax line. If faxing is a regular part of your business, you can opt to dedicate a phone number as a permanent fax number. Faxes can be sent and received by email and on the dashboard. All faxes are stored on the dashboard, where you can download, tag, comment, and forward fax documents to other users. While it’s absolutely not needed, you can even hook up your old fax machine to use with your VoIP service.
8. VoIP integrates with other business applications
One of the most significant ways VoIP has changed business communications is with the ability to integrate other business applications. VoIP enables businesses to integrate with their CRM, help desk, inventory, task management, calendar, and countless other apps.
Versa Products, a manufacturing and ecommerce business with 150 employees, has integrated Telzio with Zendesk, a move that has optimized their customer service process.
Sales teams find CRM integrations with VoIP to be extremely useful and time-saving. With a CRM integration, sales agents can quickly click-to-dial without even pulling up the dialpad, and prospect notes are available in one view.
9. Hosted VoIP servers reduce costs & enhance security
By subscribing to a VoIP service, an SMB is essentially outsourcing the management of its PBX hardware. In doing so, it’s also reducing its cost liability. Rather than hosting the telephone infrastructure on-site, the phone system itself is hosted in the cloud, on shared servers. These servers are often the world's leading and most secure data centers such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.
Working with these data centers avoids the costly capital expenses associated with building (and updating) complex storage and processing systems. As such, SMBs avoid these ongoing costs, while benefiting from the latest virtual server technologies available in the market.
What’s more, these server providers abide by the most stringent security requirements. Your VoIP phone system isn’t just hosted on one server in a single location, but rather in multiple locations around the globe. This redundant setup ensures failover protection to avoid downtime. If one server crashes, another one immediately takes over.
10. VoIP features can make a small business sound bigger
With all of the advanced VoIP features available to SMBs like auto attendants, call center queues, and hold music, customers will think they’re calling a well-established organization. Customers value a business that is up to date on its technology, and its business phone system is no exception. It’s often the first impression a customer gets.
Deciding on VoIP
There’s no question that VoIP offers significant advantages to small businesses. We’d be hard-pressed to find a disadvantage for an SMB looking into VoIP. At the end of the day, the decision to be made is which VoIP solution is the best fit. If you have an internet connection, there’s no reason to delay the decision. The functional and financial benefits are undeniable.