In our ever-evolving landscape of text and social media, it’s easy to forget about our friend – the Phone. Believe it or not, the phone is still a powerful tool that every business should utilize and while you think your cell phone should suffice they still can have failure (link here) and rely on good service. While cell service is great for a sales agent on the go, a lot of people prefer not to give out their personal number. Over the last decade the use of VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) has risen in popularity. A lot of businesses have made the switch for savings and ease. But what are the advantages of VoIP? Disadvantages? And versus a traditional PBX (Private Branch Exchange)?
First off, what is VoIP? You’ve probably seen commercials from providers touting new phones, that run over your internet. That’s VoIP. Instead of relying on POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service – best acronym ever,) it connects your internal system with the external lines using your internet as the connecting bridge. It’s a simple solution that has gained steam especially with small to mid-sized businesses.
Why? For starters it is scalable, adding new phones and lines is a cinch, so it grows with your business. Secondly, it has a lower cost and has wide array of functions offered that would be a higher price with an on-premise solution. Additionally, with a VoIP you have the ability to receive calls and set up conferences on a multitude of platforms such as your computer or mobile device. The drawback though is that if your internet service goes down your phone goes down as well. Having a redundant internet connection is a must in your office, but the worst case is that if you have data on your phone you can easily just use the app. One other thing to consider, that VoIP does run over your internet, so it makes sense to increase your bandwidth to make sure your speeds aren’t hindered.
Now the main phone system in place for many larger businesses is a PBX or a Private Business Exchange. If your business is above 200 employees or is part of a vast network of office branches makes sense to have an on-site PBX machine. Now what is that? Imagine having an old-fashioned Phone Operator, but instead said vintage Operator is a computer and a big box that does the line switching for you. It’s a robust system that can maximize your use vs. number of lines and connects all of your local phone lines. Why this may seem like a lot it is vital and necessary when managing larger networks.
A PBX is a fine solution when the budget is there for implementation and upgrading. They have a wide array of customizable features, programming and install. The main drawback is the support and maintenance can be higher priced over time. So basically, the bottom line, cost. Depending on your phone system choice it might be harder to find ongoing support as it ages. So unless your company is big enough, it truly doesn’t pay to have it.
Here at Valiant we tend to be a fan of VoIP. We use it in our office and it is often the phone solution that we recommend. Phones are a necessity and depending on your company with VoIP you can get more for less. And at the end of the day everyone wants more. If you’re having the feeling of wanting more from your phones and technology, feel free to reach out.