Busting VoIP Phone System Myths
Busting VoIP Phone System Myths
Working in the telecom industry, I find that a lot of people have misconceptions about what VoIP really is, and I’ll admit – I used to be one of them. Before you understand how a VoIP Phone System works, it can sound really complicated and intimidating. However, I have learned that just because something is technologically advanced, doesn’t mean it is tricky to use or figure out. So, I wanted to bust some common myths about VoIP Phone Systems:
- You have to be a genius to figure out how to work the system
I used to think that a VoIP phone system had to be managed by an IT expert or someone who was really tech savvy and had computer programming as a hobby on the side. In hindsight, I should have known better. Just like the technology in my iPhone has gotten more and more advanced, it has gotten easier to use and more intuitive to navigate.
Remember the days when you wanted to send someone a text message and you had to drive through 8 different menus to get to the texting option, and then you had to hit “9” four times if you wanted to write a “z”? Today, you just pick up your phone and start typing on a full keyboard with no driving through any menus to get there. Well, similarly, VoIP phone systems can be managed via an intuitive website that presents all of your options in an easy-to-understand format. Changes show up instantly in real-time on your desk phone and are made with less than three clicks of your mouse.
- The system is expensive to set up and maintain
VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol, meaning that calls are made over the internet, as opposed to traditional analog phone systems. While some VoIP providers make you buy the phones, good ones (like Broadview) will give you the option to rent the equipment. They will not charge you for the system upfront, but rather bill you a predictable monthly amount with a one-time installation fee, so your start-up costs are really low.
Since the VoIP provider should give you unlimited support, you will not need to pay an IT expert to maintain the system or call one in the case that you don’t understand something. Further, you won’t have a closet full of hardware that needs to be maintained because everything is in the cloud.
Tip: Make sure you choose a provider that has certified and geo-diverse data centers. This will ensure that not only is the system easy-to-use and inexpensive… but also safe!
- Systems are designed with large corporations in mind
The majority of VoIP phone systems are actually created with small- to medium-sized businesses in mind. The enterprise-grade features that VoIP offers is not reserved for huge companies, but is designed for the real estate office, local bank or pizza shop. Not only can small businesses afford a VoIP phone system because of the low start-up costs, but the plethora of features it comes with is unbelievable. There are so many helpful features that I couldn’t name them all if I had the entire day. Some of my personal favorites are:
- Call re-direct—The ability to redirect calls automatically to other offices, mobile phones and home phones. This prevents companies from losing business or missing calls in cases of emergencies or office closings. Employees are also able to use any phone at any office while maintaining their extensions and personal phone preferences, including voicemail, as they move.
- Business hour management—Employees can set up their own call handling rules for different phones, and even for different office locations, based on business hours. This feature is useful for accommodating shift work, for multi-site businesses, or for any organization that has groups of employees with different work schedules. (A good example would be a car dealership that has a sales office operating on certain hours, and the service department with different hours).
- Distinctive ring—The distinctive ring feature gives employees the option to assign different ring tones to their desk phones for different types of calls. This is an ideal tool for helping distinguish one phone from another in an open office environment, as well as instances in which internal versus external calls, or direct-dial versus group calls, must be audibly distinguishable.
- Mobile twinning—This feature enables all incoming calls to ring your office and cell phone simultaneously. It makes it much easier for traveling sales people to stay in touch with their clients. In addition, the versatility of auto-attendant greetings and the power to alter them quickly increases everyone’s productivity.
There are countless other features that help businesses avoid disasters, connect multiple locations and ensure total mobility and flexibility. So, don’t be intimidated by the idea of switching to a VoIP phone system. It will only save your business money and make communicating with your co-workers and customers easier than you ever imagined.
Photo courtesy of olarte.ollie via Flickr