The Business Benefits of VoIP – why should businesses make the switch to VoIP?
As we discussed in our previous article “Whats is VoIP for Business”, Voice over IP uses IP protocols to transmit communication data over your internal network and the internet. This of course offers business a wide range of advantages, such as reducing call costs. Imagine for example you have customers of suppliers who you need to speak to regularly – but the are half a world away. With traditional telephony all these calls can get very expensive. VoIP helps solve this problem as well as providing many additional benefits in the process. See our “Benefits of VoIP” InfoGraphic.
It’s (not) all about the cost savings!
As mentioned, Voice over IP offers companies numerous advantages that all impact the bottom line, but are not necessarily about saving costs. But as almost everyone likes saving money, that’s where we will start. Above we outlined a scenario where your international calling is literally costing you the world, if your telephony system is based on the traditional PSTN (Packet-Switched Telephone Network) . We all know that using the traditional phone network to make calls can be expensive, especially at peak times and international calls. VoIP uses the Internet Protocols (IP) to make calls, so you only need access to the internet to be able to start reducing your Telephony Costs. Moreover, as VoIP uses IP technology, all your internal calling, i.e. using your own company network, can be free. Studies have shown that companies can save up to 40% on national/local calls and between 70 – 90% on international calls. For example, your national calls currently cost 100 € / mnth and your International calls also cost 100 € / mnth, then you could be saving up to 1,560 € per year as well as paying nothing for your internal calls.
VoIP provides businesses, regardless of size or industry with a complete Telephony Platform which is feature rich, offering a whole host of features designed to improve communications. Ranging from Call Flow Management & Intelligent Queuing to Call Conferencing & Instant Messaging, VoIP forms the backbone of any Unified Communications (UC) Solution. With features like High Availability, Desktop CTI Clients & Teleconferencing ensuring lower downtimes as well as Real Time Communication (RTC), and features like call waiting, transferring and forwarding thrown into the mix you can be sure that that all important call will never be missed again. With Voicemail to e-mail and fax to e-mail your users will be able to keep track of their messages and faxes all in one place, safe and secure with back ups if necessary.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Improving Customer Satisfaction is crucial to a businesses success and can be influenced by a whole host of factors, ranging from how quick, efficient and knowledgeable employees are to overall impressions of professionalism and capabilities. While this is not limited to just the phone, a VoIP solution can certainly help. With advanced features like Interactive Voice Response (IVRs), Intelligent Queuing and Call Hunt Groups, IP telephony can help companies optimise call flow management, while improving the caller experience on the phone. Furthermore, the ability to integrate multilingual announcements and waiting music all add to helping the customer feel more comfortable on the phone, as well as giving the impression of professionalism. In addition to this, the ability to integrate 3rd party applications, such as CRM, ERP and Support Ticket systems all contribute to ensuring the customers’ call is handled quickly, professionally and effectively.
As mentioned above, VoIP helps improve call work flows, ensuring the right employee is reached first time around saving both you and the caller time and money. Moreover, with 3rd party application integration of CRM and ERP systems etc, your employees will handle calls quicker and more effectively, freeing up valuable time. Another advantage of VoIP is that being an IP based technology, it can be accessed anywhere, enabling employees to work from HomeOffice or even to telecommute, ensuring those endless hours sitting on a train somewhere outside London because there are “leaves on the line” (or whatever excuse the British rail companies use these days) are not completely wasted – trust me, I’ve been there, done that and did not want the T-Shirt.
Contactable World Wide
Being contactable world wide really belongs to increasing productivity, but it is such an important factor that we decided it was worthy of its own paragraph. As long as you have a broadband internet connection, you can use your VoIP services anywhere in the world and thanks to BYOD and FollowMe options you can have this access on your smartphone, tablet and laptop . So when a teleconference will not suffice, and you have to jump on a plane to sign that once in a life time deal, you can do so knowing that huge mobile phone bills because of International Calling has become a thing of the past and that while you are away, you can be contacted if there is an emergency in the office, or something really important comes up that just cannot wait. Another great thing with VoIP and Smartphones, tablets etc is that thanks to mobile applications, you can carry on enjoying your free internal telephony from your mobile device with full CTI client functionality.
In an ideal world, companies are successful and expand over time, and not just in terms of employees, but also locations and the markets they operate in. Therefore, companies need an affordable solution which can be easily grown and customised in line with company growth. VoIP has a massive advantage here over PSTN networks, mainly because it is built on IP technology and is 100% Scalable. Should your company move to a new location, number porting is not an issue, meaning you can save the hassle of either paying a fortune and waiting the mandatory period for your telecom provider to port the number or getting a new number and reprinting all your marketing material. All you need to do is simply take your VoIP devices with you, turn them on at your new location and off you go. Moreover, as VoIP is an IP system, any number of locations can be networked together relatively quickly and simply, allowing companies to grow their VoIP system as their business requirements demand it. Another crucial aspect of VoIP being 100% scalable is that as new updates and new features become available, they will also become available to your business in the form of software updates and upgrades.
Further Cost Savings
As we have already seen, there are numerous cost saving features associate with VoIP, but now it is time to look at what these costs really are. As we have already mentioned, VoIP enables Teleconferencing functionality which basically means the line can be shared by any number of conference participants. This reduces the need for work related travel just to have a meeting, and I do not just mean air travel, I am also talking about car and rail as well. This is further enhanced by Real Time Communication functionality, like Instant Messaging and Group Chat. A simple scenario is that you have a sales team who are field based, but you want to have a meeting with them, so despite the fact that they are spread across the country or region, you have them come in wasting money on their travel costs, losing money because they are travelling and not being productive (unless they are telecommuting of course) and you still have to pay them, when you could simply set up a teleconference and have the meeting. Additional cost savings can be achieved by using SIP Desktop phones, which are more energy efficient that traditional analog phones, thus reducing your electricity bill. This is true for VoIP systems in general and could be furthered by installing a Virtual VoIP Server which has the added benefit of not only reducing energy costs, but also reduces hardware outlay.
The Forgotten Benefits
You may have noticed a slight theme to the last paragraph, which was not cost related. It is of course about “Going Green”. In the modern business world, corporate social responsibility is an important aspect of most companies strategic and marketing policies. Switching to VoIP can significantly help companies achieve their “Green Goals” in a number of ways. As mentioned VoIP systems are more energy efficient and help reduce the need for work related travel and car usage. There are other aspects as well, for example helping to reduce paper usage. A good example of this is the fax to e-mail system that VoIP employes, enabling companies to save on paper usage as the fax no longer has to be printed out, and this applies to both incoming and outgoing faxes.
Go VoIP – Go Green – it has a good ring to it don’t you think.