VoIP: A brief overview
VoIP (also known as Voice over Internet Protocol) is the transmission of voice and multimedia content over the internet. It's a way of communicating without relying on traditional phone lines. Instead, you are using the internet to make calls, send videos, communicate through messages and so on.
If you're looking for a more in-depth overview of VoIP, check out this blog: What is VoIP?
Do I need to upgrade my small business to VoIP?
VoIP is something that every business, and even households, will be required to adopt at some point, and here's why. BT announced in 2015 that in 2025 they will be switching off all traditional landlines (including ISDN and PSTN). They have planned to gradually phase out the old lines, with businesses no longer being able to purchase them after September 2023, resulting in the complete switch-off in 2025.
This move has come about due to the old technology not keeping up with the modern age. They are becoming less popular, and BT discovered that the new systems were becoming more cost-effective, so it did not make sense to keep the old lines going.
Whether you choose to invest in VoIP now or in two years, you will be required to upgrade to VoIP sometime in the future.
How will VoIP benefit my small business?
There are many ways in which VoIP can help your small business with its communications. For the purposes of this blog, we have shortened it down to the top four ways in which it will help small companies specifically. For a more extensive overview of VoIP's many benefits for small, medium and large companies, please check out our blog: What are the benefits of VoIP for business?
It enables you to compete with bigger companies
Communication should be a top priority in all businesses of any size. Customers expect exceptional customer service, and internal operations depend on effective communication systems. That is why large companies have invested in top-notch communication systems to ensure procedures run smoothly.
The great thing about VoIP is that it is easily accessible to you, too! Adopting this technology can level the playing field with larger companies. You can now enhance your customer service and internal communications by implementing an efficient communication system tailored to your needs.
VoIP has many groundbreaking features that will level up your phone system, making interaction methods more straightforward for internal and external communications. Types of features that larger companies may have had better access to due to costs are more accessible now due to VoIP's ability to include many cutting-edge features within one system at a low monthly fee.
For more information about the features to look out for when selecting a VoIP phone system, jump to "features that will benefit your small business" in the following section below.
Easy to set up and maintain
The great thing about cloud-based VoIP is that it is much easier to set up and maintain than traditional landlines. This is because a VoIP provider does all the hosting, maintenance and updates for you - that is, if you choose the 'hosted' option (more explained later in this blog).
VoIP requires minimal hardware and technical expertise, meaning that you will not need to hire extra help to maintain the additional equipment in your office. What's more is that it makes adding users easier, allowing your business to scale without issues.
Reduces your phone bills
VoIP stands out as an affordable solution for your business communications. Setting up traditional landlines can be costly, but VoIP, on the other hand, is much less expensive than you would think. Plus, the cost of VoIP is mostly per user per month, so you know that you only pay for the number of users required.
Let's not forget that international calling is now more accessible - no more global calling fees when making calls online.
Helps to increase productivity
As a small business striving for optimal employee productivity, managing various communication systems can be challenging. VoIP offers a solution by centralising all your communications in one place. This means seamless integration of instant messaging, CRM systems, video conferencing and more, enabling you to enhance employee efficiency effortlessly.
Features that will benefit your small business
VoIP has access to many features that will enable your small business to enhance its business communications. The following are some top capabilities to look out for when selecting a new phone system.
As a small business, you don't want your team's time taken up by answering and forwarding calls to the correct person or department. An auto attendant is a great tool to improve telephone management as your phone system transfers incoming communication without taking up an employee's time. Plus, it can improve customer service as the phone system can efficiently direct the caller straight to the appropriate department without being transferred multiple times.
This is one of the most essential tools for any size business. Recording your calls is a great feature to monitor customer interactions, such as their common complaints and questions. Finding out this type of information will help your company learn about necessary improvements.
It can also help improve company communications and determine where training is required or scripts that need updating. Overall, we recommend looking out for this feature when selecting the perfect phone system for your business.
This feature offers numerous advantages to small businesses, especially for fostering collaboration among remote teams. In the case of smaller units, having a physical office might not be necessary. VoIP allows your team to work from different locations while ensuring seamless collaboration, thanks to features like Conference Calling. It also enables your business to connect with clients online, eliminating the need for travel and, therefore, saving both time and money on travel expenses.
Music on Hold
Few things frustrate customers more than being stuck in a hold queue, waiting endlessly for the next operator. For over 70% of customers, this experience triggers 'extreme frustration.' Unfortunately, these situations are unavoidable during peak times, especially for small teams. Something that helps ease the frustration is the Music on Hold feature.
Research indicates that Music on Hold plays a key role in customer retention. One study found that 52% of customers hang up if they hear nothing, while only 2% end the call when accompanied by music. Another study highlighted that 90% of customers disconnect after 40 seconds of silence.
So, if you want to keep your customers happy and engaged, consider this important feature for your small business.
Call Analytics and Reporting
Call analytics and reporting can help your small business gain valuable insights into how your company is performing with essential statistics such as its call volume, customer behaviour and employee performance.
Call analytics can help your company improve its operations by providing you with vital statistics to help you determine areas for improvement and make informed decisions to enhance customer service and internal communications.
Take your small business to the next level by integrating your CRM into your VoIP phone system. Having your CRM system built-in will allow you to perform some genius tricks, including accessing data during customer calls so that you can personalise your interactions, which in turn helps improve customer service.
Like conference calling, instant messaging is a great tool to keep your remote teams working effectively in multiple locations. Instead of crafting lengthy emails, instant messaging fulfils the need for swift decision-making, offering immediate solutions to team issues and time-sensitive questions. Instant messaging also helps build team relationships, which is especially important for small businesses as it encourages a friendly environment among colleagues.
Recommended VoIP phone systems for small businesses
Being a small business just starting out with VoIP, it can be quite tricky and confusing to decide which VoIP phone system is right for you, especially with so many different options on the market. That's why we have done the research for you and come up with a list of the top eight VoIP phone systems currently on the market:
- Microsoft Teams
For a more extensive comparison, including the features and overview of the systems listed, check out this blog: Best virtual phone systems for small business in the UK.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a more extensive overview of what we offer at T2k and how to select the right VoIP system for your business, we have just the blog for your research. For a more extensive overview of the different VoIP phone systems we offer at T2k, check out this blog: What VoIP phone system should I choose for my business?
Important to note: When finding the best VoIP phone system for your business, don't forget to determine your requirements beforehand, such as the features you need, budget and other requirements. Unsure what you need to know before choosing a VoIP phone system? Check out our blog: 8 questions to consider before choosing a VoIP phone system for your business.
Hosted vs on-site?
Most VoIP providers offer 'hosted' (cloud-based) solutions. But you also may have heard the term 'on-site' or 'PBX' options. Here's the difference between the two:
Hosted: Having your communications 'hosted' means that your VoIP provider will handle your communications off-site, meaning the hardware is situated in another location. This means that your provider will take care of upgrades, support and maintenance, so there is no need to hire an IT technician to take care of that. Instead, it is all done for you.
On-site: This is the hardware, and the PBX server is installed internally on-premises. This means you would need to oversee upgrades, support and maintenance.
As a small business, we recommend opting for the hosted option because it requires less equipment expenditure and less input from your company in maintaining your VoIP system.
Ready to make the switch? T2k is here to help
Changing from traditional landline to VoIP can feel daunting, which is why we are here to help make that transition easier for you. If you have any questions about VoIP or are ready to upgrade, contact one of our experts today to help you understand VoIP without all the tech jargon.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most important VoIP features needed for my small business?
The most essential features needed for your VoIP phone system will ultimately depend on your business requirements. We recommend that you assess your current needs before contacting a VoIP provider to discuss.
What does the big switch-off in 2025 mean for my business?
If your business is still using the old PSTN or ISDN technology, your company will be affected, which means that you should start the plan to switch to VoIP before the deadline in December 2025. For more information about BT's big switch-off, check out our blog: ISDN Switch Off - Everything you need to know.
If you have any further questions, please chat with one of our experts.