Maybe you’ve never heard of VoIP or if you have, your eyes glossed over and you turned your head the other way.
Simply put VoIP is a telephone service. It rings phones and connects people. But unlike the phone service offered by your public telephone company: the Telus, Bells, and Rogers of the world, VoIP gives you a lot more service for a lot less money.
Let’s say you’re a small to medium size business. You have a few employees or partners and like many new start-ups, you’re trying to cut costs by not investing in store-front real estate. Your employees work from home, or from client sites. They might come in to a central location if they need a neutral location to meet clients or have a face to face meeting, but most of the time, they’re all working independently.
How do people connect? Certainly instant messaging services and email provide the most commonly used tools, but written communications only convey 7% of the message. Voice conversations which convey intonation and nuance add 38% to that amount. Body language and gestures make up the remaining 55% of what we try to say to each other.
It’s hard to get by without voice communications, but it’s also important to ensure that your telephone systems convey your corporate brand and values. Make it easy for existing customers to reach out to you and for new customers to quickly come to trust you.
VoIP can replace your existing telephone systems and provide you with features not available from your regular phone service. Often this can be done at a total cost less than you’re paying your current provider. The question isn’t, “What can VoIP do?” A better question is, “What does your business need VoIP to do?” What makes the most sense for your customers and employees?
Let me share my experience. Like many people I have an office number and a cell number. I give out my cell number to close contacts and prefer new customers and inquiries use my office. With VoIP, I can marry the two. When you call my office number, a “digital receptionist” will welcome you and invite you to connect to anyone if you know their extension. Otherwise, the call comes to me within 5 seconds. But what if I’m not in? No worries; the call routes to both my desk phone and an app on my smart phone. If I’m at a client site or traveling, I can still pick up the call. What if I can’t pick up the call because I’m in a meeting? No worries, your call goes to voicemail. When you’re done, the voicemail recording is emailed to me and I can listen to it when I become available. I can even have your voicemail transcribed to a text message. And when I become free, I can call you back from my cell phone but using my office number (the same one you called me at) and not some obscure cell phone with a caller id that you may not recognize. If I’m overseas and have Wifi or a data package, I can still receive your call and call you back with my local phone number–no additional roaming or international calling charges. I also have access to conference calls using my VoIP system for no additional charge.
The possibilities are almost endless. The questions to ask are:
- Do my customers have challenges trying to contact me? Do they have a single number to use and are they assured that their call will be dealt with thoroughly and promptly?
- If employees use their personal numbers when contacting clients, how can I ensure that my relationship with my clients does not suffer if the employee goes on leave or quits? By routing all calls through a central system, a new employee can be assigned to take up the account and the client doesn’t need to change their contact list at all.
- As a company, are we able to cover off and hand-off work to each other based on everyone’s capacity and time off plans? If not, then a VoIP system can help to balance workload and ensure that every client gets the service they expect.
If you’re interested in how VoIP can help your business, Atlas Solutions would love to start that discussion.