Is VoIP Reliable for My Business?
VoIP phone services exchange businesses-graded conversations through data packets and audio codecs over a fast internet connection. This along with premium calling features (voice calling, conference calling, call recording, etc), businesses can scale their sales team and facilitate their hybrid employees.
However, this is not all, packet losses and no offline functionality may come as a bummer for business owners. It is why many potential companies wonder, is VoIP reliable for my business? If you are experiencing a similar situation, keep reading this guide to learn more about VoIP functionality for businesses.
Let’s Look at VoIP for Business
Though businesses have recently switched to advanced communication channels like emails and text messaging, a reliable telephone system is still crucial and of great significance. In this sense, companies experience hurdles in making their businesses flexible and scalable with a standard on-site PBX landline setup.
This is where VoIP phone setups enter! VoIP phone systems are incredibly flexible and help your business boost productivity, increase sales, and streamline routine communication. Here is everything you need to know about VoIP to decide how reliable it is.
Are you unfamiliar with the technology and planning to adopt it for a new setup? Well, let us understand this. It is a phone system that converts audio calls into digital data packets and exchanges the conversation over an internet connection in real time, ensuring high call quality and lower cost (especially for international calls).
Installing a VoIP is equally easy and involves minimal physical equipment. Here is how businesses can employ a VoIP setup.
● Internet Access: VoIP phone setup operates on an internet connection. This means you will need a connection with sufficient bandwidth. It goes for all your in-office internet and home Wi-Fi.
● Internet-Enabled Devices: You need some devices to employ the service. It includes anything from tablets to desktops, smartphones, and so on.
● VoIP Adapters: It includes headsets, phones, and other adaptors. These adapters build a bridge between phones and other hardware to the VoIP services.
Why Do Businesses Use VoIP Phones?
All sizes of businesses (especially commercial) use VoIP phones for their ability to empower them in streamlining communication and adding flexibility to their routine work. Recently, more companies with hybrid or remote working protocols use VoIP phones, as it enables them to work from anywhere, anytime. Here are a few advantages of VoIP over on-site landline setups.
● It has lower call costs in comparison with traditional on-site PBX phones. Even an international call will cost you a local rate.
● VoIP phone systems offer better customer satisfaction. It is all thanks to advanced features like voicemails, emails, call analytics, feedback extraction, call routing, etc.
● VoIP phone setups utilize UCaaS or Unified Communications as software. Here, features like video conferencing, instant messaging, call routing, and more help companies streamline communication.
Related: Are Voip Phones Secure?
The Reliability of Voice Over Internet Protocol
Going further to the reliability of VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol, it is usually divided into two components, uptime and call quality. In this case, business owners are concerned about two things, will I be able to talk to the customers without interruption, and whether the phone will be ready to use whenever I require it? Let us discuss them in detail.
Client-Side Factors That Affect How Reliably a VoIP Service Functions
Typically, the factors that influence call quality in a VoIP phone setup are dependent on the user end. The echo effect and fuzzy sound are usually a result of malfunctioned hardware. Here is what you need to consider in this case.
● Microphones/ Headsets: All VoIP phone setups have a microphone – responsible for converting voice into electrical signals. However, not all microphones are the same and the built-in microphone on your computer is inadequate to entertain business-graded calls. These microphones attract background noises and create distortions on the receiving end.
● Hence, you may need a USB-enabled headset rather than the typical 3.5mm headphone jack with a Windows OS. Businesses can also employ some expensive alternatives like echo reduction or noise cancellation technologies to improve the conversation quality.
● Router Optimization: Internet Protocols, especially Voice Over IPs work on the standard internet connection, which can be an issue for employees working from home and experiencing a poor connection. Therefore, it is ideal that employees install a consistent and stable internet connection with VoIP phone setups.
● Typically, it is recommended that a professional router with 500-1000 Mbps can handle numerous VoIP calls. In the end, it comes down to the business budget. Just make sure that you need to prioritize a higher bandwidth and voice packets to ensure superior business-graded voice calls.
● Use Ethernet Connection: Most companies utilize QoS or Ethernet connections to make the voice packets reliable. When possible, sales teams can also switch to wired internet connections for a higher bandwidth. If, for any reason, they are unable to access a wired connection, don’t worry; connect to a wireless connection and it will be okay.
● Usually, companies employ devices that automatically switch between the access points. It helps them maintain an active and stable internet connection for better voice delivery and sound quality. However, do note that there will be small lapses and jitters due to packet loss.
Provider-Side Factors That Affect How Reliably a VoIP Service Functions
When it comes to provider-side factors, the two most common are inadequate internet connection and hardware issues. Aside from this, businesses also need to discuss their uptime and network-related concerns with the service provider.
How VoIP Works: Service Provider Reliability
To understand this factor, it is important to comprehend how VoIP works. For starters, the router on the business side sends voice packets to the service provider whenever an employee makes a call, who in turn directs these packets to the destination. Several high-end companies ensure the delivery reliability, so you do not have to worry about the downtime.
The majority of service providers have a goal to upgrade their uptime to 99.9999%, so there is no disruption in the sound delivery when running their software. For this, they use presence point servers to prevent packet losses and increase security (for people who prefer to keep their location off). They also achieve better security with data encryption mechanisms.
● That said, do note that there is an inherent risk like bugs, lack of updates, etc.
How VoIP Works: Carrier Reliability
However, the above-mentioned method does not apply when a phone uses location, area codes, and unique digits to make or receive calls. In this case, the data packets are directly transmitted to the landline signal using a carrier, or it can result in security concerns. Hence, these carriers are mainly responsible for facilitating this data coverage.
Related: What is a Voip Phone Number?
However, not all carriers are designed equally and some companies may adopt less expensive alternatives, resulting in less consistent coverage, dropped calls, and limited coverage. For this, businesses may turn to VoIP phones, as they are highly reliable in automating the entire coverage.
Reliability of VoIP Versus Landlines
Most company owners, when countered by the decision to employ either an on-site PBX landline or VoIP phone, weigh the benefits and costs of using both. In this case, reliability is a significant factor for them. So, let us discuss this factor in detail.
Which is More Reliable: VoIP or Landline Service?
When it comes to businesses that prefer minimal phone setups, landline phones are a clear winner, as there is no need to worry about the software, Wi-Fi, pocket losses, and so on. In comparison, IP network communication is much more than a straightforward copper-wire technology.
When it comes to uptime and call quality, VoIP phone setups are highly reliable, as they operate on the internet and have minimal losses. On the contrary, landlines are extremely prone to the negative influence of the hardware elements. So, if the power goes out for whatever reason, the device won’t be working for a few hours, interrupting your business processes.
Speaking of scalability, landlines are often limited and expensive (especially when crossing the geographical range). However, VoIP networks are extremely apt for global businesses. They can cross geographical boundaries without additional costs, not to mention having little to no maintenance costs involved.
In Which Instances Are VOIP Networks Better or More Reliable for Business?
VoIP network infrastructures are not limited by geographic locations and unscalable communication networks. Hence, they are an effective alternative for partnership businesses and sole proprietors. Here are a few instances where VoIP networks work better over on-site PBX landline networks.
● Startups: For people starting a new company, VoIP might be a better choice, as there is no initial installation cost and a fixed subscription plan. They can select the right pricing plan that goes for their budget.
● Companies Striving Scalability: Some companies have a limited customer support team, inadequate to facilitate their customer base, especially during the high seasons. Hence, for the busy seasons, they can adopt VoIP plans – effective to streamline and scale their communication.
● Fast-Growing Companies: Businesses growing rapidly require expansive teams to support their customer bases, irrespective of geographical boundaries. It also works best for their hybrid and remote work structures. So, employees from any corner of the world can leverage VoIP phone networks.
● International Businesses: Companies catering to a global customer base often find it challenging to rely on landline phone setups. In today’s e-commerce world, businesses require a scalable and flexible structure to streamline communication.
● Companies Leveraging UCaaS: The best thing about VoIP phone systems is the interconnectivity between the communication tools. These phones allow businesses to integrate their customer management into existing systems. So, whether it is lead tracking, customer service, or other business tools, everything is managed conveniently.
How to Choose a VoIP Service for Your Small Business?
Now that we have understood much about VoIP phone services, many business owners wonder how to choose a service for their setup. Here are a few popular features you need to consider when deciding the right VoIP service.
● Real-time analytics for customer satisfaction.
● Specific CRM configuration, call tracking, and help desk integration to streamline business processes.
● Live call monitoring and PowerDialer features to gather customer feedback.
● Local and toll-free numbers support.
● Warm transfer support and conference calling for ease of communication.
● Fast setups to boost work productivity.
● GDPR and other industry certifications to make sure the service is reliable.
● A mobile app for easy access to the business.
Is VoIP Reliable for Business?
Though advanced features are important to boost productivity in business processes, this is not it. There is much more to VoIP setups, which makes them superior in their service quality and time management. Let us get in and discuss some features that make it extra reliable for your business.
In a VoIP system, uptime refers to the time when the provider is online and functioning properly. For the majority of VoIP systems, the companies are getting around 99.9999% uptime, which typically means there will rarely be a time you will not receive the service. These networks use cloud-based storage and broadband bandwidth for a higher uptime.
In comparison, landline phones operate on fibers and cables, which means you will usually expect network outages from power outages, wire cuts, and harsh. Similarly, it can also hinder the audio quality, resulting in ineffective communication. Not only this, but hardware and power line repairs can take some time.
Call quality is undoubtedly one significant reason why most businesses switch to a VoIP phone system. The credit for this functionality goes to the audio codes that distribute the voice into small data packages that are twice as effective as landline phones. These codecs also use a higher bandwidth, which means the sound quality is absolutely remarkable.
Just because you are experiencing a power outage doesn’t mean you will not be able to access the internet and VoIP service. Today, most businesses use battery backups to prevent issues like this. Here are a few backup measures companies adopt to resolve power outage issues, even with a wireless service.
● Battery Backups: The simplest solution to a power outage is a portable battery. You just have to connect it to your router. In the case of internet inaccessibility, a battery will power your device.
● Using a UPS: UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply is an advanced battery backup for VoIP systems. They also act as your surge protector and help you safely deliver the required power.
● Generator: Some companies also use portable generators to deliver the required power to office setups.
Additionally, the following are a few backup measures for internet outages.
● Using Data: Mobile data (5G or LTE networks) can be a quick fix for those experiencing internet inaccessibility on their smartphones.
● Wi-Fi USB Dongle: Wi-fi USB singles or internet sticks help you get internet on your smart devices when there is no internet.
● Mobile Hotspot: A mobile hotspot is yet another effective solution for people unable to access the internet on their laptops or computers. Companies also purchase external hotspots for seamless working.
Service-Level Agreement (SLA)
The service-level agreement of your VoIP phone is a contract that proves the provider’s commitment to deliver the services. The contract typically includes clauses regarding the above-mentioned features, software bug fixes, and other hardware equipment. This contract is a prerequisite for any official subscription agreement between a service provider and a business.
Local Presence of Servers
Large enterprises have bigger VoIP infrastructures, distributed globally through dedicated servers to ensure reliable call quality. For this, organizations have to allocate a presence point in each country, which can be an expensive venture. In this case, companies prefer high-end providers like Twilio and Nexmo, but it is always better to discuss it with the provider whatever provider you choose.
A Dedicated Onboarding Specialist
When choosing a VoIP service provider, it is better that you go for a system with an intuitive system. Even then, it won’t hurt to get a friendly guide in the form of an onboarding specialist. This specialist will help your team troubleshoot errors, streamline the workflow, and even facilitate all calls with sufficient bandwidths for a smooth delivery.
Regular Software Updates
A quality VoIP service provider will always provide you with software updates, which means engineers behind the setup are working constantly to help the company improve its system’s security, usability, and quality. The simplest explanation for this is that OS systems evolve with time. It goes the same with good VoIP software that will innovate with time.
No Physical Infrastructure
Another better thing about a VoIP phone setup is that it requires no physical infrastructure and everything happens over an internet connection. So, even when there is a malfunction in hardware elements or a power outage due to weather conditions, the business won’t suffer and the employees will be able to receive and dial calls seamlessly. You just have to make sure there is a consistent broadband connection.
In comparison with traditional PBX on-site landlines, Voice Over IPs are extremely flexible. Simply put, these phone setups are incredible at adapting to your business needs, irrespective of the industry. For instance, whether you are building a remote team or moving to a new office, employing a VoIP network with minimal installation cost is easier and affordable.
It Increases Your Internet Security
Moreover, most VoIP service providers employ extra security measures to keep the company’s data protected and keep their confidentiality intact. Features like firewalls and call recordings have become a norm in VoIP systems, improving their data structures. In contrast, traditional landline phones are highly vulnerable to phone tapping.
How much will VoIP service cost?
Typically, VoIP service providers offer monthly and annual subscriptions. The cost depends on the company’s budget and the features included in the package. You may avail discount when businesses plan for a longer commitment.
What is the difference between VoIP and landline phone setups?
VoIP service works using an internet connection whereas landline phone setups utilize data cables to transmit the signal. VoIP setups have small audio codecs that transmit the audio signals to the destination using an active internet signal. In contrast, landlines require extensive physical equipment to exchange conversations.
Can I use VoIP for my business?
Yes, VoIP technology is incredible for an internal business communication tool. Unlike landline phones, VoIP setups help companies streamline communication and boost productivity through advanced features like call recording, video calling, conference calling, instant messaging, etc.
What are the disadvantages of VoIP calling?
The biggest drawback of VoIP calling is its no offline functionality. To work on a VoIP system, businesses require a strong internet connection with a higher bandwidth. Not only this, but it works on IP addresses, which means emergency services like rescue and police departments may not be able to get your exact location.
In conclusion, VoIP setups are definitely worth it for businesses that are striving for flexible setups to accommodate their remote teams and scalability to cater to global customer bases. They are not only efficient but offer data encryption services for better security and confidentiality. Finally, I hope this guide has been helpful for businesses planning to switch to VoIP phone services.