Whether it's internal or external, communication in business is essential. However, companies experience many problems, such as the inability to make or receive international calls because it’s costly. Other problems they may also encounter include quality, security, and mobility. This is why it’s essential to find the best alternative to improve business communications.
What And How Do IP Phone Systems Work?
Voice over Internet Phone (VoIP), which is also known as IP Phone System, is a technology that uses digital signals to carry voice over digital internet packets. This means you can now use your smartphone to make and take international calls by using the Wi-Fi calling features of your phone instead of the conventional telephones. For instance, you can conduct video conferences with your team through your smartphone and the internet.
So, when you use VoIP, you can eliminate your physical connection to a phone company since all you need is an internet connection. Moreover, you no longer need traditional telephones to activate or install an IP phone system. What you’ll need is a VoIP provider, the Internet, and network-ready devices, like computers, mobile phones, and other handy gadgets, like fanvil phones. That way, you can have a better business communication experience since these gadgets are made for IP phone systems. This means you can have an HD audio solution even without the need for wired telephones.
Business Communication Problems Solved By IP Phone Systems
Businesses need to keep up with the trend of digital technology. By doing this, you can be at par with your competitors. One of these trends is digitizing how you communicate with employees and customers. With the VoIP phone system, you can resolve the common communication problems below:
1. High Communication Costs
If you compare the cost of traditional copper wire (PTSN) networks – the traditional cabled telephones – to VoIP, you'd see a big difference when it comes to expenses. Especially if you're frequently making international calls, your traditional phone system fees could pile up. That's because you're paying the cost of "renting" a copper line every time you make a call.
But with a VoIP phone system, you can communicate to anyone across the globe without incurring additional costs. This is because you're using IP networks or the Internet that's already included in your monthly internet bill. As a result, you can make more calls, even international one, at a fixed and more affordable rate.
Moreover, you can use your existing mobile phones, computers, and gadgets to access the VoIP phone system. This means you won't have to spend on additional infrastructure or buy expensive hardware when setting up this new system.
You also avoid maintenance or installation costs that come with the traditional infrastructure since installation doesn't require the physical appearance of technicians. Moreover, maintenance may be included in the plan you've chosen, so you're assured of quality service throughout your subscription.
2. Inadequate Features And Functionality
Another problem that businesses may encounter is finding an efficient way to address customers’ needs. For instance, sometimes, traditional communication systems experience a phone tag when finding the correct department to address the client. This can make clients more impatient and disgruntled because you'll be passing them to another department.
VoIP has a feature that enables users to get in touch with the right people quickly, helping them avoid such scenarios. This eliminates talking to a lot of agents before they can bring out their issues. Thus, it can create a more positive customer experience, which is what your clients expect.
Here are other features of a VoIP that helps improve communication:
Auto Attendant: This provides a live operator and setup that a caller can use to contact different sections of your company. It's like a ‘menu’ that callers can use to choose which department to call.
Do Not Disturb (DND): This feature is essential to avoid any disturbance that you may encounter when talking to your clients. Using this can automatically inform the person trying to call you that you're in another call. As a result, your client won't get irritated or distracted because your conversation got interrupted.
This is especially important if, for example, you’re negotiating a business sale to a prospective client – a DND can save you from cutting the momentum of your conversation. On the other hand, if your conversation keeps getting interrupted, you’d lose your chances of closing a deal.
Voicemail: Instead of letting your customers hang up because no one is answering their call, you can use the VoIP call forwarding or voicemail feature. This feature converts their messages into emails, which will then automatically get sent to you. That way, your clients can air their concerns that you can address during your operation hours.
3. Unsecure Communication
Another feature that your business can benefit from when using an IP phone system is the security of your conversations. Securing your communications is vital so you can prevent catastrophic effects when hackers get to steal your data or information. Traditional phone lines can be bugged, allowing other people to listen to your phone calls. Some of the cyberattacks you'd experience are Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, caller ID spoofing, and call interception. All of which can now be prevented thanks to technological innovations providers have used to combat such attacks.
The secret to ensuring that your business communications are secure is to choose your IP phone system provider carefully. This involves checking their compliance and implementation of security protocols. You'd also want to ask about their accreditations, call encryption, and software or tools that they use. Also, weigh their answers regarding their response to security incidents and how they train their staff.
Moreover, you also need to look into the following accreditation and certifications to ensure that you'll do business with a safe and secure provider:
Service Organization Control (SOC): This compliance ensures consumer trust via its standard practices. These practices include data integrity, availability, security, and privacy. If they don't have this compliance, you may want to consider finding another provider.
Payment Card Industry (PCI): Since you'll be paying them via credit card or other digital payment methods, you need to ensure your information is secure. Thus, they need to have a PCI compliance. Having one means they're securing their infrastructure as they accept credit cards. The provider must also have secured VLANs, an updated operating system, and penetration test results. That way, they can prevent cyber-attacks through their payment data.
ISO/IEC 20071: With this certification, the provider has passed the standard information security controls that this global accreditation assesses. This means the company is prepared to respond to security threats that they're exposed to.
4. Low-Quality Communication
Another communication issue that businesses face is voice quality. When the quality isn’t clear, your clients may not be satisfied with your service. With VoIP, you can have quality calls to make conversations clearer and smoother. Like the advancement in providing security, the IP phone system has gone a long way to improving call quality.
On your part, you need a stable and fast internet connection to enjoy quality calls, especially if you've purchased HD sound quality that providers offer. This can even be better than landline-based calls because providers have implemented robust codecs and protocols to ensure sound quality. So, even if you're talking to someone across the globe, you can hear them well and vice versa.
If you want to maximize quality when using VoIP, here are some things you have to consider:
ATA/Router: If you're using these, you need security and firewall support. You may also need a mechanism that can cancel or decrease echoes. Lastly, your analog telephone adaptor (ATA) or router should also be supported with compression technologies (codecs) to maximize sound quality.
Equipment: Your equipment can also affect your sound quality. This means if you have high-quality equipment, you're more likely to have better quality. So, before you purchase the cheapest IP phone, router, or ATA, it's recommended to check their quality. Do this by checking previous clients' reviews or discussions in forums. Most importantly, you should also consider the compatibility of your hardware–they should be suitable for each other.
Bandwidth: As mentioned, your internet connection tops the list that affects voice quality. Thus, you'll need at least a megabyte bandwidth for ten VoIP phones, which is roughly around 100 kbps download and upload bandwidth per phone.
An IP phone system allows on-the-go workers and remote offices to reach customers and team members anywhere. This means if you're out of the office, you can still call, send, and receive messages via your smartphone. So, if there are important matters you need to address, you can do so.
Moreover, you can seamlessly connect dispersed branches by using a multi-site VoIP system. This comes with a wide range of call handling features using one's phone and your office extensions. What's even greater is it allows your IT admin to manage it virtually since your system is under one system – cloud phone systems – making it accessible anytime and anywhere.
There’ll always be business communication problems, but there are tools to resolve them. One of the best is the IP phone system that ensures every business has smooth communication. It's packed with features essential for providing customer service and it comes at an affordable price.
Lannie Schubert is a customer service expert. She has been in the industry for 17 years. She shares her knowledge and skills by writing guest blogs online. When she is not writing, she spends her time grooming her dogs and cats.