Does your small business utilize landlines? Do you have more employees working remotely than ever before? Whatever stage your small business is in – you could benefit significantly from Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP. VoIP gives small businesses the freedom to answer calls wherever they are, using the internet. VoIP is the perfect solution for small businesses looking to grow their operations with increased flexibility and easy scalability.
There are numerous VoIP benefits for small businesses and companies of any size. Utilizing VoIP gives businesses the ability to stay connected wherever they are. If you move offices, you won’t have to worry about transferring landlines. Setting up new lines is simple, making it easy for your phone services to grow with your business.
Once you learn more about VoIP, it will be obvious why it’s such a good choice for small businesses. Here are just a few more reasons why you should consider switching your small business to VoIP:
- Increased mobility and flexibility for employees.
- Improved connectivity during web and audio conferencing.
- Easy to scale when your business grows.
- Straightforward integrations with Microsoft Teams, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and other programs.
- Text and SMS capabilities.
- Worldwide coverage possible.
- Improved reliability and responsiveness from traditional landlines.
- Low cost and unique features.
What is VoIP?
If you’ve never heard of VoIP, you might be wondering how it works. The concept is simple: voice data is digitized and sent over the internet. VoIP, or hosted phones, enable small businesses to make and receive calls over the internet, using various devices. Whether your company operates using laptops, tablets, smartphones, or a combination of devices, you will be able to stay connected with business VoIP.
The only thing your small business needs to use VoIP is an internet connection. Hosted phones use bandwidth only when needed, unlike traditional phones that use circuit switching. VoIP allows small businesses to send voice, video, and data over the internet. It offers a very affordable phone option that can keep your employees connected and mobile.
Why Make the Switch to VoIP?
Small business VoIP solutions are second to none. There are so many reasons to consider switching your business phones from traditional landlines to hosted phones. Listed below are a handful of VoIP benefits your company will enjoy when you make the transition.
Mobility and Flexibility
VoIP for small business offers mobility and flexibility that you can’t find with traditional landlines. Do your employees travel often? Are people working across different devices, whether at home or in the office? These are all reasons to make the switch to hosted phones. With VoIP, your employees can make and receive calls wherever they are – as long as there is an internet connection.
Staying connected has never been easier, with emerging technologies and the rise of remote working. Giving your employees the ability to be mobile and flexible thanks to VoIP will lead to increased productivity. As technology improves, so should your phone lines. Employees will be able to use a variety of devices with VoIP, from tablets to laptops to mobile phones.
Does your team utilize CRM, Outlook, or Microsoft Teams? Then you’re in luck. VoIP can easily integrate with these programs and more so that your team stays as productive as ever.
Business VoIP offers improved connectivity during web and audio conferencing. More small businesses than ever before are utilizing video calls to stay connected and productive, especially if employees are working from home. When you have VoIP, you don’t have to worry about spotty connections during these important work calls.
Grows With You
It can be an absolute headache to add lines with traditional landlines. Often your service provider will have to come out to your office or workspace and add the lines manually. This is such a hassle for businesses that need to get employees up and running right away.
One of the best small business VoIP benefits is the scalability hosted phones offer. It takes no time at all to set up a new line when you have a team member join. Whoever has access to the admin portal can add their line. It’s so straightforward and simple! Plus, you won’t have to buy a new hardwire or get stuck arranging your office to coordinate with phone plug-ins. If you ever move offices, your hosted phones can easily move with you.
Small businesses won’t believe how many amazing features they will have access to with hosted phones. From text and SMS capabilities to worldwide coverage, it’s easy to see why so many small businesses are making the switch to VoIP.
Here are a few of the features you can enjoy with VoIP for small business:
- Mobile management
- One-line sharing on multiple phones/devices
- Ring groups
- Voicemail to Email or Text
- Automated attendant
- Caller ID and call blocking, forwarding, waiting, and transferring
- Conference calling
- Contact Center/Call Center
- Fax to Email
- Hold music
- Web-based system administration
Traditional phones are not always reliable, especially after a storm or other event that causes power outages. It is often hard to contact your provider and get a clear answer about when your phones will return. With hosted phones, you don’t have to worry about that. All you need is a reliable internet connection to stay available.
Last but not least, cost always matters when it comes to small business budgeting. Choosing VoIP means lower costs than traditional phone lines. Most small businesses already have a reliable internet connection. Installing a hosted phone system doesn’t take much more, and adding lines is inexpensive. VoIP is a great deal for small businesses because it offers a low-cost option for phone and video calls.
Choosing VoIP for Your Small Business
Small business VoIP solutions offer companies a flexible hosted phone plan that can grow with your business. There are great VoIP benefits for small business operations, like easy integrations that boost employee productivity and features like hold music and an automated attendant. You won’t regret making the switch to VoIP.
As technology advances, the business world adapts to it. Things like video calling, content management systems, and fast fiber optic internet enhance business operations. Contact centers are another valuable modern service that improves the efficiency of your business.
Even though communication styles and mediums have changed over the years, reliable communication has always been essential for businesses. Today, Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is the most efficient way to communicate effectively with customers. Let’s take a look at what CCaaS is and how it came to be.
What is Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)?
Contact Center as a Service is a cloud-based contact center. CCaaS programs were invented to function in the cloud, and they operate as an all-in-one service for customer interactions. They can route calls, track customer details, and allow customers to communicate through a variety of mediums, such as:
- Live chat rooms
- Social media
- Phone calls
The automated nature of CCaaS simplifies operations because it does not require expensive on-site software. Companies only have to purchase the technology they need, which saves a lot of money due to:
- Reduced IT staffing
- Streamlined billing
- Reduced employee downtime
- Lower operational costs
- No upfront investments
CCaaS is the most efficient way for contact centers to grow and scale as their operational needs change. Contact Centers as a Service easily allow businesses to add or subtract customer service agents depending on customer demands. Customers lose patience and interest when navigating long on-hold times and confusing routes to problem resolution. CCaaS software tracks customer wait times and high call-volume periods, which enables your business to adjust accordingly and provide a better customer support experience.
CCaaS is also ideal for employees because the software synthesizes all critical information onto a single screen. As a result, representatives have quick desktop access to all the tools they need, saving time and frustration for both parties.
Data is essential for business growth, and CCaaS can quickly gather customer data. Recording data such as abandoned calls, questionable language from agents, and caller queues helps businesses make ongoing improvements for customer and representative interactions.
The Origin: Call Centers
Before we had CCaaS, we had call centers. Call centers originated in the 1950s, and they were often referred to as “phone rooms.” Telephone operators answered inbound calls. Call centers existed for:
- Customer service
- Placing orders
- Calling the “operator” for phone call assistance
In the 1960s, technology continued to advance. For example, automatic call distributor (ACD) technology became popular to manage high volumes of calls. ACD technology developed an algorithm that automatically assigned agents different calls instead of relying on a human operator.
Shortly after, toll-free customer service numbers were introduced. You may remember calling in to vote for a contestant on a television show using a toll-free number. Technology developed further in the 1970s when customers could use Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to tell the business why they were calling based on voice recognition commands.
Once the internet took off in the 1990s, e-commerce companies needed a reliable way for non-local customers to contact them, inquire about products, and place orders. Call centers were the widespread solution for internet-based companies. Additionally, telemarketing was at an all-time high.
In 1991, customer backlash to telemarketing prompted Congress to pass the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The TCPA restricted telemarketing calls by setting a limit on when calls could be made. In addition, solicitors were required to honor the National Do Not Call Registry, and companies were no longer allowed to use pre-recorded messages for sales calls.
Eventually, many companies in the early 2000s realized that it was cheaper to outsource customer service calls outside of the United States. As a result, businesses outsourced their calls to call center companies overseas, which often caused frustration for customers and employees alike.
With internet improvements and the addition of social media, the call center landscape needed to adapt. Many younger customers wanted alternative ways to contact customer service representatives, while many older generations wished to keep the option of a traditional phone call. Eventually, Contact Center as a Service was born.
Adapting to CCaaS
As customer demands for internet-based service options increased, call centers had to adapt. In the 2000s, companies realized that there was an opportunity to create call center software and host it in the cloud. This change allowed representatives to access call center software from any internet browser, not just their specific computer in a call center.
While original CCaaS providers found success, there were still bugs and issues to fix. The original software was built during a transitional time of technology. Most codebases were still produced for on-site systems, not the cloud. The downtime was often significant, and the effort to make basic improvements would require long development cycles.
As technology and coding improved, CCaaS systems began to get built natively in the cloud. This improvement removed the time-consuming and confusing process of attempting to integrate two differently designed systems. As a result, CCaaS systems can now operate at a rapid pace with fewer errors and downtime.
Where We Are Now
Today, Contact Centers as a Service are the standard way for businesses to communicate with customers effectively. CCaaS benefits are endless, offering faster speeds, simpler processing, lower costs, and multiple avenues for customers to reach out.
Integrated Communications is honored to bring high-quality customer service to your company by partnering with the following contact center groups:
- Evolve IP
CCaaS Continues to Adapt
Improvements are constantly being made to existing CCaaS software. If we have learned one thing from the history of call centers, it is to continually change and shift to meet customers’ needs. Thankfully, modern CCaaS software has the capacity to adapt easily.
If your business needs a new or updated CCaaS system, contact us at Integrated Communications. We are here to help you save money and enhance productivity.