Why VoIP is an investment in effective communication
VoIP may not be as current a topic as social media or mobile communications however it should be taken in all seriousness by small business owners as a reliable tool to help with growth. Here’s how it could work for your business.
Being able to communicate effectively is critical to all businesses regardless of size, age or industry. A business which communicates then has a better chance of finding new prospects, converting them to sales or profits and expanding market share. Nevertheless, many small businesses are often unsure of how to go about improving their internal and external communications in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.
The appropriate communications tools
Choosing the appropriate communications tools, or mix of tools, can be particularly troublesome. Businesses have more choice than ever previously in how they interact with their staff, partners and clients. More mature technologies just as the telephone and email are being complemented and at times superseded by new tools in the online space. Some of these new tools like Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, bring at the same time old and new technologies to provide powerful and cost-effective modes of communication for both individuals and business.
VoIP may not be as current a topic as social media or mobile communications however it should be taken in all seriousness by small business owners as a reliable tool to help grow their businesses. Put simply, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) allows you to make telephone calls via the internet. To put it more exactly than using the landline or cellular network, the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) software converts your spoken words into digital signals and transmits them online. As a result, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) users can call landlines or mobiles at dramatically lower costs than if they were to use their conventional phones. Calls to other VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) users are often free, as is the case with popular VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) applications like Skype. Before, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) software was limited to desktop computers and headsets yet now extends to smartphones, tablets and even newer fixed-line telephone handsets.
This means VoIP now offers some significant advantages over the conventional telephone network for business communication. VoIP costs less, so businesses using VoIP don't have to pay for line-rental, flag-fall, and many other costs associated with maintaining a fixed telephone line. VoIP offers similar and often higher voice quality as fixed-line or mobile services, often alongside additional services like video-calling and instant messaging. As well, the increasing prevalence of mobile apps for VoIP means it has both the flexibility of the cellular network and the reliability of fixed-line calls. Businesses that use VoIP can minimise their operational costs, engage more intimately with their stakeholders and collaborate more effectively regardless of location.
To do this, on the whole, the potential of VoIP needs to translate into the organisational reality of the business which can often be a highly costly process, not just financially however also in regards to how employees and customers react to the phasing-in of new research. VoIP may be a good fit for some businesses yet not others and every business owner needs to evaluate whether the innovation meets their unparalleled requirements earlier taking the plunge. If you're considering using VoIP in your small business, we recommend considering the following:
The answers to these questions will not only help you decide whether VoIP is right for your business, however also how to proceed if it is. It's important to remember that the benefits of VoIP, just as reduced costs or greater collaboration, are largely internal ones, and its ROI may not be without warning identifiable or quantifiable. That means clear and consistent goals on what VoIP should achieve for the business are furthermore important from the very start.
For small businesses who decide to implement a VoIP framework, careful and rigorous planning is a must. One of the main myths around VoIP is that it's cheap and easy to set up. That may be the case for individuals who only need to download some software and buy a headset to be up and running, however enterprise VoIP has a lot more factors to be taken into consideration. The choice of software is certainly important. Paid options are not necessarily better than free ones and should be considered primarily on their features and merits. So too is the choice of hardware; businesses must pay attention to compatibility, voice quality, and reliability of the VoIP peripherals like headsets and webcams which they seek to purchase. Ideally, these peripherals will work across all channels of the business' communications framework. A Bluetooth headset, for instance, should be able to connect to an employee's smartphone as then as their computer. Ensuring that hardware and software function seamlessly is critical to the success of any enterprise VoIP solution.
Another myth about VoIP is that it acts as a poor substitute for the quality and consistency of conventional telephony channels. That may have been the case when VoIP was a new innovation and internet bandwidth was poor, nevertheless it's matured to the point where a decent implementation will be on par or superior to fixed-line calls in terms of audio clarity, reliable service, and multi-user support. Nevertheless, that perception nonetheless needs to be addressed and dispelled if any VoIP solution is to gain uptake within the business. The best way to do so is to make sure the organisation's first experience with VoIP is as seamless as possible. That means minimising connection failures through rigorous testing, assuring full compatibility with existing channels and devices and providing training and feedback mechanisms for employees well earlier deployment. If employees can right away see the value which VoIP offers them in their day-to-day activities, they'll be more likely to support and contribute to its growth within the business.
The flip side
On the flip side, IT professionals and managers need to make sure their skills are updated to fit the new technical functions and processes which a VoIP framework brings. Any VoIP implementation should be accompanied by business-wide technical support, and IT staff should be paying particular attention to feedback from their co-workers in the months without warning after deployment. They should as well pay attention to how VoIP impacts on existing resources, including server traffic which may rise as fixed-line use falls, necessitating more spending on bandwidth and less on conventional telephony plans. As a highly adaptable communications channel, VoIP can meet changing needs of the business, however only if managers can pinpoint and respond to these changes.
The end goal of communication is to get things done then and efficiently. The closer a mediated form of communication comes to resembling face-to-face conversation, the more likely that participants will draw on it for more productive, creative and collaborative outcomes. VoIP can provide a sustainable and cost-effective communications channel for businesses and should be adopted by small businesses as part of a greater concerted focus on improving how individuals in the business deal with each other.
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