Business VoIP Featured Article

Business VoIP: Ideal for SMB Requirements

March 02, 2016

By Tara Seals, Contributing Writer

Many small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are making the switch to VoIP communications, looking to cut costs while also increasing productivity.

VoIP operating costs are significantly lower than that of traditional phone service, since providers aren’t contending with expensive-to-maintain phone infrastructure and costly industry regulations. But there are additional perks for SMBs, including flexibility, portability and the ability to craft a converged, multichannel communications strategy.

VoIP systems are often plug-and-play from a hardware perspective, since services can be delivered pretty much anywhere there’s a broadband connection. That means that business owners can take their business VoIP system anywhere, even while on the road in a hotel room or at a friend’s home. VoIP also opens the door to softphone use—i.e., SMB employees and owners can make calls using their laptops. All that’s needed is a client-side app that allows users to make and receive calls using a headphone/microphone connected to your computer – even when, say, working at a coffee shop.

On the inbound side though, callers are none the wiser; they still call the same regular business phone number, and are routed to the system, wherever it may be plugged in.

On a related note, VoIP also allows businesses to assign their main number to any area code that they choose. So, a business based in Delaware for tax purposes may do the lion’s share of its business elsewhere, say, in New York; in this scenario, an SMB can provide a local number to call for its customers there, which a customer service boon that can be an important differentiator for an SMB.

Some platforms go further still in making things easier for customers. Nextiva’s NextOS 3.0 business VoIP system for instance offers unified communications with personalized plans for business VoIP, call centers, SIP trunking, and e-faxing, all with a focus on SMBs. It offers a “Call Me Now” feature, which is a widget that goes on a company’s Web site. The customer or prospective customer presses a hyperlink and enters his/her phone number. This initiates a call to both the employee’s phone and the customer’s phone, so employees can immediately connect with their customers – similar to having a live chat window, only more personalized.

Nextiva also offers the Connect virtual phone system, which intelligently routes incoming callers through a series of telephone numbers or extensions, in a predetermined order based on queues, the incoming number and time of day, until the call is answered. For example, calls to an employee’s office phone may be instantly routed to the employee’s mobile VoIP phone if the call is left unanswered. Should both phones go unanswered, then the caller will be routed to voicemail if no other phone number exists.

VoIP can also be a big productivity-booster. Because voice is transmitted via IP, just as data services are, many VoIP services combine voice mail, email, messaging and faxes into a unified mailbox, via one user interface.

All things considered, business VoIP is a savvy path for an SMB owner looking to cut communication costs and increase productivity.

Edited by Maurice Nagle


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