Is VoIP Service Right for My Business?

Although Voice over IP (VoIP) service has been around for two decades, the technology has become increasingly mainstream over the past few years. More and more businesses are realizing the advantages VoIP has to offer and how it can transform operations. Although small businesses often have the most to gain, businesses of all sizes can leverage significant benefits.

Today, VoIP technology has become an accepted standard for business phone service. Every business can use VoIP technology to help them achieve greater productivity, efficiency, customer satisfaction and cost savings.

Although every sized business will reap these benefits, different features are more advantageous for different sized businesses. Here’s a breakdown of the major capabilities driving small, medium and enterprise companies to VoIP service:

  • Promoting Effective Communication for Small Business Success

Using a VoIP service, small businesses gain access to a wealth of features. These features can make a small operation look like a large business without having to make a huge capital investment in an on-premises system. For example, you can use an automated attendant to route calls to different people in your organization. If you only have three people on staff, your auto attendant can send callers to the person who has the needed expertise – and it will appear to callers as if they’re being routed to a department.

In addition to accessing a large inventory of sophisticated features, VoIP for small businesses provides cost benefits. You incur little initial capital outlay for equipment. And, because your service provider performs all the heavy lifting for buying, installing, maintaining and upgrading the VoIP technology, you don’t have to staff telephony experts in-house or pay to manage an in-house system.

  • Establishing an Efficient Operation for Medium-Sized Businesses

If you already reached a sizeable number of employees, you want to position your company so it can continue to grow. Streamlining your operation to run as efficiently as possible lays the foundation for future growth.

One of the first steps a growing business undertakes is organizing the different employee functions. When callers seek help, they want to reach the right person within your organization quickly and easily. Advanced call routing, call forwarding, automatic call distributor/cloud contact center, and auto attendant capabilities can help directly send calls to the appropriate staff member. These features can work in conjunction with a live receptionist or eliminate the need to hire one altogether.

Another important feature for all businesses, but especially growing ones, is access to call detail reports. Your business efficiency improves by compartmentalizing your employees. Next you need to gather and interpret information about your call traffic. Examples of useful information include calling patterns – what time, day and called parties receive the most traffic volume? This information assists with your staffing responsibilities.

  • Continuing to Communicate During a Disaster

If your business faces a technical failure, weather event or other unexpected emergency that causes a power outage, you want to make sure you’re able to communicate with your employees, customers and vendors. The disaster recovery capabilities of a hosted VoIP service allow continuous communication even if a natural disaster strikes.

With enhanced mobility, hosted VoIP service can route calls to a variety of devices. A hosted service can also re-direct your calls to another location that’s not affected by the outage. Or, you can simply unplug your IP phone, take it to a new location with high-speed Internet access, and plug it in. As a result, you’re assured of never being out-of-touch.

In addition, hosted VoIP service providers operate highly redundant data centers. These facilities offer business continuity so your company’s operations won’t be disrupted during a disaster.

  • Maintaining a Productive Environment for Enterprises

Businesses of all sizes continually look for ways to improve productivity. If performance lags, growth can be stopped in its tracks. Enterprises have a larger and more diverse group of employees. As a result, a greater number of workers may be working outside the office. More of your staff may be telecommuting, traveling to conferences and meeting with customers.

While out-of-the office, your employees need access to your phone system’s capabilities to be as productive as possible. The digital nature of VoIP services promotes mobility. As long as your employees have access to a broadband connection, their devices function just like a desktop phone in the office. They can access most, if not all, of the same features. Plus, your staff is always accessible. They never have to worry about missing an important call.

Another major benefit for larger businesses is using the call management capabilities of a VoIP service. Using monitoring and recording tools, you can ensure your employees who field customer calls are doing the best job possible. These tools provide exceptional training opportunities that improve your customer service.

You can also listen in during phone calls to evaluate the interaction between employee and customer. Coaching tools, such as “barge” and “whisper,” allow you to evaluate performance in real-time, as well as coach agents on how to best respond to customer while they’re on the call.

VoIP service offers an abundance of capabilities for any size business. No business is too large or too small to reap the benefits. Although VoIP technology provides an abundance of features, the main advantages boil down to dramatically lowering initial capital investments, increasing productivity and inherent disaster recovery capabilities. Traditional telephone service usually can’t provide the same level of benefits.

VoIP technology continues to evolve and will provide compelling new features on an ongoing basis. Regardless of the size of your business, VoIP service gives you access to affordable, feature-rich technology that has the potential to keep up with, or even set your business apart from, the competition.

To learn more about VoIP service, download FairPoint Communications’ latest white paper titled “The Complete Guide to Hosted VoIP.”

By providing more streamlined, intelligent and cost-efficient solutions, FairPoint Communications helps businesses of any size get the most from their voice applications. FairPoint offers two voice options: Hosted PBX and SIP Trunking. A cloud-based voice service, FairPoint’s Hosted PBX eliminates capital investments in telecommunications equipment. SIP Trunking leverages an organization’s existing on-premises equipment by connecting it to FairPoint’s advanced softswitch network. Both options simplify network requirements, provide access to enhanced features and lower operational costs.

For more information on FairPoint Hosted PBX or SIP Trunking solutions, visit http://business.fairpoint.com/advanced-business-services/voice-services/.

Chris is the former Vice President of Product Management at FairPoint Communications, a leading provider of advanced communications technology in northern New England and 14 other states across the U.S.