Over the last few decades, business telephony has been evolving rapidly. Whereas phone lines were once the preferred option, they’re now somewhat obsolete due to the emergence of Voice over Internet Protocol and VoIP business solutions.
With the rise and adoption of cloud technology in recent years, business VoIP is also evolving. Vendors are now offering cloud-based VoIP solutions, which allows them to deliver powerful VoIP functions at a relatively low cost. With cloud telephone systems, businesses enjoy greater VoIP features that enhance their communication capacity.
How Do Business VoIP Solutions and Cloud Phone Systems Compare?
When it comes to business VoIP solutions and cloud phone systems, there’s often a lot of confusion. Some people think they are one and the same thing, whereas others believe they are completely different. In essence, they are both VoIP solutions, with the only variation being the mode of delivery.
As the name suggests, Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology that uses the internet to facilitate calls. As an organization, you’ll have to invest in hardware to support the system as well as VoIP-enabled devices. It follows that you will need a team to handle repair and maintenance to ensure the system is operating optimally at all times.
With cloud-based VoIP solutions, you will rely on a VoIP service provider to cater to your VoIP needs. This reduces the initial investment necessary to capitalize on VoIP as you will rely on the vendor’s infrastructure.
Benefits of Cloud-Based VoIP Systems
As you consider adopting VoIP business solutions, it is important to know the benefits you can expect from hosted VoIP systems.
A crucial element of running an enterprise profitably is keeping costs down. When it comes to communication solutions, cloud-based VoIP systems are budget-friendly. The upfront investments are low as you’ll only need to purchase the IP phones. You will also enjoy lower repair and maintenance costs as well as cheaper calling rates.
2. Mobility and Geographical Flexibility
As companies continue to embrace and capitalize on the benefits of remote teams, VoIP business solutions are a key enabler. Regardless of whether it’s your team at the headquarters, those in regional offices, or teleworkers, a cloud phone system allows you to offer similar features to all while unifying them.
Depending on your business telephone systems VoIP provider, you may also get an app that employees can use on desktops and smartphones. Despite geographical differences, all teams can work under one phone system that the administrator can manage remotely.
3. Limited Maintenance and Administrative Requirements
With a cloud-based phone system, the responsibility of performing routine maintenance and system upgrades shifts from the customer to the provider. Therefore, there will be no need for you to hire personnel with technical expertise in phone systems. As such, you can commit your resources and workforce to the core business functions.
4. Unified Communications
Today, it’s virtually impossible to rely on one means of communication. Depending on varying needs and circumstances, your staff will need to use different channels at different times. The challenge with this is that it usually comes with multiple access points, making it tedious.
In this regard, cloud-based VoIP systems are an ideal solution as they offer unified communications. All your channels of communication will be accessible via a single point of access. As a result, communication with clients, colleagues, and vendors becomes more convenient and consistent as you can use the channel they prefer.
Key Features of Cloud-Based VoIP Business Solutions
One thing you will appreciate with a cloud-based VoIP system is the numerous features you will access without incurring additional charges to your monthly subscription fee. Some of the key features you should be keen on receiving from your service provider include:
1. Artificial Intelligence
Arguably one of the best features of VoIP business solutions, especially in the future, is artificial intelligence capabilities. Though it may seem like a non-essential feature, having it may be a significant gamechanger. The applications of AI in cloud-based VoIP systems can come in the form of chatbots or real-time data access.
In conjunction with machine learning, AI-powered chatbots allow organizations to offer more comprehensive customer support while reducing oversight needs. Some of the capabilities you will enjoy include Natural Language Processing, Speech to Text, and Sentiment analysis. These provide more insight into customer concerns, enabling chatbots and customer service personnel to address their concerns faster and more accurately.
Some of the benefits of AI in VoIP business solutions include:
- Allows you to handle more customer concerns while expediting the process
- You can scale your customer service capabilities quickly and cost-effectively
- Allows customer service personnel to handle the more pressing concerns
Beyond one-off interactions and individual customers, AI is increasingly becoming popular as it allows companies to analyze data, identify patterns, and understand trends. Though AI will not change how you communicate, it will allow you to do so more effectively. More importantly, it enables personnel to recognize and address problems before they occur.
2. Advanced Call Screening
Having a public phone number makes your business easy to reach. However, not all calls are equally important as some may prove to be distractions from your business operations. Whereas call screening is not a new feature, business VoIP solutions offer more than basic caller ID screening.
For instance, with some tools, callers will need to say their name for the system to record. This allows you to know who’s on the other end of the line, giving you the option to answer, transfer, or send the call to voicemail. Considering the rise in robocalls, advanced call screening tools are increasingly becoming an essential feature of business telephone VoIP systems.
3. Voice to Email Transcription
Having voicemail features ensures that customers or clients can leave you a voice message when you are unable to answer a call. However, unlike emails and other communication channels, not many people allocate time to listen to voicemails. Also, going through voicemails is time-consuming as it’s impossible to skim through the content quickly.
Since VoIP business solutions are all about simplicity and efficiency, vendors now offer the perfect solution: voice to email transcription. When someone leaves you a voicemail, the system will analyze the message and send a transcript to your email.
4. Click to Call
Over the last decade, the number of users accessing the internet via mobile phones has been increasing. Along with creating mobile-friendly websites, it is important for businesses to capitalize on such traffic by making it easy for them to reach you. Instead of simply displaying your contacts, business telephone systems VoIP allow you to embed a “call us now” button. With this, users do not need to navigate from your website to reach you.
5. Integrations and APIs
As the number of tools and applications organizations use increases, so too is the use of Application-Layer Protocol, popularly known as APIs. Developers use these to combine two previously independent functionalities, applications, or tools to work in unison. As such, the API capabilities that come with VoIP business solutions will allow you to integrate your CRM and cloud phone solutions. It will also display relevant patient data, eliminating the need to scroll back and forth between your call management and cloud PBX solution.
6. Unified Communications
Undoubtedly, communication plays a key role in running an organization smoothly. With multiple communications channels available for use today, managing them effectively can be challenging. This is why businesses are transitioning towards unified communications, with VoIP playing a major role. Vendors now offer solutions that integrate all the communication tools and features your business needs.
This includes channels such as SMS, Live Chat, contact center functionalities, CRM, call management, and plenty of other features. With such capabilities, you’ll enjoy streamlined communication, thus increasing efficiency and productivity. Beyond interacting with customers via multiple channels, users also have access to relevant data such as call context and customer history.
Selecting the Right VoIP System for Your Business
There are plenty of service providers that offer VoIP business solutions. However, the features, customer service, support, and professionalism you’ll get will vary from one provider to the next. As you choose your business telephone systems VoIP provider, consider the following:
1. Plans and Pricing
Before you begin your search for an IT security service provider, determine your VoIP needs. With this information, assess potential service providers using the plans they offer to determine which ones match your needs. Once you have a shortlist of suitable vendors, compare the prices of their plans along with the charges for installation, support, and maintenance.
Although cost is a key factor, your decision should not be solely based on it. You may be better off paying more for a package and vendor that best suits your needs.
A key feature of the modern-day company is the use of multiple systems. Though they are designed to boost efficiency and productivity, they may become a barrier for the same when they cannot collaborate. As you assess suitable VoIP solutions for your business, consider whether they can integrate seamlessly with your existing systems.
Some of the key systems that it should integrate with to enhance communication further include your helpdesk application and Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM).
One of the biggest challenges that organizations face today is cybersecurity. As customers interact with your company, they share sensitive personal and financial information to facilitate service delivery. Should any breach occur, they will be compromised, and your business may be liable for the damages.
Therefore, when selecting a business telephone systems VoIP solution, security should be a key consideration. Some of the features you should be keen on include end-to-end encryption, secure data access, and multifactor authentication.
4. Customer Support
As with all technological innovations, there will likely be situations when the system fails. When this happens, your team may be unable to communicate with customers, leads, and colleagues, translating to missed opportunities.
To reduce the effects of downtime, your vendor’s services must be accompanied by excellent and timely customer support that’s available 24/7.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is cloud-based VoIP?
A cloud-based VoIP is a VoIP business telephone system that you can access over a cloud-based IP network.
How does cloud-based VoIP Work?
Traditionally, business required the services of a telephone company to make and receive calls as messages were transmitted via phone lines. A VoIP business solution is a system that allows you to make and receive calls over the internet. All you’ll need is a VoIP-enabled device and an internet connection.
What is a hosted VoIP system?
A hosted VoIP system is one that is accessed via a vendor and is entirely in the cloud. As such, there is no need to incur substantial costs for purchasing equipment or maintenance.
Which cloud phone system features are a must-have?
Cloud-based VoIP business solutions offer a wide range of features that make communication with clients, partners, colleagues, and vendors more convenient, efficient, and affordable. Some of the must-have features include artificial intelligence, click-to-call, integrations and APIs, voicemail to email, and advanced call screening.
How does cloud VoIP work?
Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems uses the internet to transmit voice messages. The distinguishing factor with cloud VoIP is that you rely on a vendor’s services and equipment.
How many phone lines do I need?
VoIP business solutions come with multi-line capabilities. The number of phone lines you need depends on your company’s needs. However, it is important to note that it does not operate on a 1:1 ratio like traditional phone systems. It allows you to attach multiple devices to one line. As such, your office may have ten users but only need three lines. Also, you can route incoming calls to a specific device or to multiple devices simultaneously.
Get the Support You Need
As the business landscape becomes more competitive, it is vital to have effective and efficient lines of communication with customers. At the heart of this is a reliable VoIP business solutions provider.
Frontline is an IT company that offers IT consulting services, consulting, and support. Our aim is to see small to mid-sized companies compete with large corporations. Reach out to us today to find how you can use VoIP solutions to scale your company.