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A Complete Guide to VoIP for Businesses

Everything you need to know about VoIP, for you, your team and your business

A Complete Guide to VoIP for Businesses
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Athénaïs | Aug. 11, 2020

In the last decade, businesses in the US added over 35 million VoIP lines. By 2024, the VoIP services market is expected to grow to $194.5 billion. So, what exactly is VoIP, and why is it gaining popularity across industries?

What you don’t know about VoIP could impact your bottom line. By switching to VoIP, companies can reduce phone costs by up to 50%. But it doesn’t end there. VoIP keeps you competitive by giving you access to an enterprise-grade feature set.

So, how does a VoIP phone system work? How does it compare to traditional phone services? And what should you look for in a VoIP provider? We’ve done the legwork and put together a comprehensive guide to VoIP for businesses of all sizes.

What Is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a proven technology that lets you make calls over the internet. A VoIP phone system is considered a reliable alternative to local telephone companies. Internet-based phone services offer many more capabilities than analog phones—and for less than half the cost, making it a popular choice among businesses.

VoIP has been around since the late 90s. It was first developed as a way to save money on long-distance and international calling charges. In the last decade, a surge of businesses, including small- and medium-sized businesses as well as enterprises, have invested in IP telephony.

What Is VoIP?

What Makes VoIP Different?

Traditional telephones rely on analog lines to carry voice signals. That’s why wiring must be installed before you’re able to place a call. Businesses with a traditional phone system depend on expensive, specialized hardware known as a private branch exchange (PBX), which connects internal phone extensions to the public telephone network.

Setting up and maintaining a PBX is expensive. A trusted VoIP provider can handle the setup process remotely so that all you have to do is plug in your IP phone. According to a study from Gartner, 90% of all IT leaders will stop investing in on-premises communications altogether by as early as 2021.

How Does VoIP Actually Work?

An IP address represents the method by which computers and other devices communicate with each other over the internet. VoIP, otherwise known as IP telephony, was a breakthrough innovation that forever changed the century-old traditional telecommunications system.

So, how does VoIP work exactly? Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how a VoIP phone system actually works:

Your phone connects to your router

Your IP phone talks to your VoIP service provider

Your voice is converted into digital information

Although VoIP is an internet-based phone service and phone calls are transmitted over the internet, behind-the-scenes technology gives users the ability to make and receive calls from any number, anywhere, and from any device—as long as you have a stable internet connection.

The Rise of Remote Work

The Rise of Remote Work

Cloud phone service providers offer enterprise-grade features such as auto attendants, voicemail to email, custom caller ID, call recording, and much more. Another key benefit of VoIP is that you can take calls from anywhere, making it a powerful tool for remote work.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, 88% of organizations have recommended or required their employees to work remotely. Businesses of all sizes have scrambled to get a hold of the right tools and infrastructure to support a large-scale and last-minute transition away from the office.

A VoIP phone system makes working from home easier than ever. Here’s why:

  • Set up fast. Forget about visits to the phone store or waiting around for a shipment of physical handsets. VoIP systems operate digitally as a mobile app or within a browser. No need to hire an engineer or install physical lines.
  • Scale even faster> VoIP is entirely digital—you control everything using a user-friendly dashboard. That means you can close branches, open new contact centers, and add or remove lines in an instant. All it takes is the touch of a button.
  • Unlock portability. VoIP maximizes flexibility by allowing your employees to install the phone app on their own mobile devices and desktop while keeping their data and personal numbers separate.
  • Secure sensitive data. Keep your business protected from all angles by making sure employees are making and receiving calls within a secure and encrypted environment while working from home.
  • Keep your communications flowing. When a customer’s call goes unanswered, chances are they’ll dial one of your competitors next. Make sure every call is responded to in a timely and professional manner with advanced features like group routing.

What Can VoIP Do for Your Business?

In 2019, 83% of companies lost a customer, missed a major deadline, or terminated an employee due to a communication issue. High-quality and responsive communications are vital for any business. That’s where VoIP comes in.

VoIP is known for plug-and-play installation, simple configuration and administration, and keeping your teams connected no matter where your employees are located. On top of that, VoIP can save your business a great deal in communication costs while improving your call quality.

Save on Your Communication Costs

Improve Call Quality

Gain Access to Enterprise-Grade Features

Get Remote-Ready

Secure Sensitive Data

Scale on Your Terms

What Are the Disadvantages of VoIP?

Making an informed decision for your business starts with learning both the advantages and disadvantages of adopting an internet-based phone system. Here are a few downsides of VoIP that you should be aware of before making a purchase.

You need a high-speed internet connection

Location tracking becomes difficult

You may need to upgrade outdated phone handsets

Which VoIP Features Should You Look For?

If you run a business, VoIP is your best friend. An internet-based phone system is a powerful business tool that gives you all the functionality you need for a fraction of the cost it takes to install and maintain a traditional phone system or call center.

Let’s take a look at VoIP’s must-have features for businesses of every size.

Cross-Platform Support

HD Call Quality

Call Encryption

Auto Attendant

Call Recording

Voicemail to Email

Call Routing

Call Analytics

Custom Hold Music

How Much Does VoIP Cost?

Switching to a VoIP phone system means significant cost-savings. How significant are we talking? Companies can reduce monthly telecom costs by more than 50% by transitioning to an internet-based phone system. Cloud-based contact centers that made the jump experienced a 15% reduction in IT personnel costs.

If you’re thinking that a traditional phone system is bound to cost less in the long run as VoIP costs increase, you might be surprised to learn that the price of VoIP services is expected to increase by only 3% over the next five years. When combined with advanced functionality offered by an internet-based system, switching to VoIP effectively future-proofs your business.

Let’s take a look at a side-by-side comparison between the cost of a VoIP phone system versus a traditional phone.

  • Initial costs. The average landline phone system costs businesses $50 to $100 in installation fees. An on-site PBX installation can cost up to $2,000 per user. In contrast, VoIP systems cost between $0 and $50 per line.
  • Monthly charges. The monthly cost per VoIP line varies between as low as $20 and as high as $50. Traditional phone systems can cost up to $1,000 in maintenance fees annually.
  • International calls. With VoIP, international costs are upwards of $0.01 per minute. A traditional phone system charges 100 times that amount or more.

How Does VoIP Help Your Business Save Money?

No equipment required

Add features at no extra cost

Local presence without the calling costs

What Should You Look for in a VoIP Provider?

A business phone system adds credibility to your business. A business phone system powered by VoIP saves you money, improves your call quality, and gives you all the functionality and flexibility needed to support remote work. But not all VoIP providers are cut from the same cloth.

The first step to choosing the right provider for your business is to assess your current and future needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many concurrent calls do you expect to take at any given time?
  • How many staff require a separate phone?
  • Do your teams work remotely?
  • What are your video conferencing needs?
  • Which VoIP features appeal to you the most?

Evaluating your incoming call volume is key to determining which VoIP plan will best suit your needs. It’s also a good idea to consider which features are most important to you—it’s likely that free VoIP solutions will fall short.

Not all VoIP providers will give your business what it needs. Here are a few questions to ask your provider.

Can I Call Without Limits?

What Will Setup Be Like?

Will Your Platform Grow With My Business?

The Future of VoIP for Businesses

The Future of VoIP for Businesses

Today’s businesses require flexible, cost-effective communications systems. What can business owners expect in the year ahead? Here are a few up-and-coming trends we’ve noticed in the world of VoIP:

  • 5G will go mainstream. Fifth-generation wide-area wireless networks are well-positioned to transform internet connectivity as we know it. Better data transfer speeds are expected to drive VoIP adoption rates even higher.
  • VoIP assistants will become more intelligent.> Artificial intelligence is transforming diverse industries, from smart farming to smart telecommunications. We can expect virtual assistants to soon be able to handle more complex tasks, such as customer data collection.
  • UCaaS will grow. Modern communications are based in the cloud. We can expect unified communications to transform businesses by enabling collaboration at every level and through any internet-ready device.

Empower Your Teams With an All-in-One VoIP Solution for Business

Impress customers, motivate teams, and reduce calling costs with a VoIP solution that was designed to meet your exact business needs. Set up a complete business phone system in a matter of minutes with Ringover’s simple, easy-to-use platform that lets you activate new lines with a single click.

Don’t settle when it comes to functionality. Here’s some of what Ringover’s business phone system can do for you and your business:

  • Experience high-quality audio calls and HD video
  • Rely on 99.999% uptime that keeps your teams connected at all times
  • Protect your business from all angles with end-to-end encryption
  • Access world-class customer support when you need it
  • Seamlessly integrate leading VoIP phones, conferencing hardware, and other communications equipment

Are you interested in seeing how a robust VoIP phone system can transform the way your business communicates? Get in touch with a Ringover VoIP specialist today to start your free trial.

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