By Jim Gustke, vice president of marketing, Ooma
Contractors today face several challenges: a global pandemic, its economic aftershocks, and serious supply chain issues. Missing calls from clients and prospects interested in discussing their specific projects and needs shouldn’t be one of the challenges contractors have to deal with.
To solve this, many contractors have decided to switch to voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone systems from traditional phone landlines to help run their businesses. The reason?VoIP offers numerous benefits, including:
· Significant cost savings
· Numerous built-in features
· Ability to seamlessly work from anywhere
Voice over Internet Protocol phones, as the name implies, use the internet to make and receive calls. Some service providers enable you to use analog phones, but the majority provide IP (Internet Protocol) phones that can be plugged into any Ethernet jack.
Once connected, you can easily make and receive calls. Using a web portal and login, you can customize numerous features, such as the Virtual Receptionist welcome message or adding new users.
The most significant difference between VoIP and landline phones is the technology. Landline phones haven’t changed much since the beginning of the 20th Century and require an infrastructure of wiring and exchange hardware. By today’s standards, landline phone technology is limited, allowing users to only make and receive voice calls.
VoIP technology has changed how companies communicate. While IP capabilities have been around several decades, VoIP services have advanced in recent years due to innovation and faster internet speeds.
Unlike landline phones that require add-ons for features at additional costs, VoIP systems come with an array of popular communication features already built in.
How VoIP Systems Work
VoIP phones work by turning your voice into data, which is then transmitted over the internet, like sending emails.
If you’ve used Zoom or Teams, you’ve used VoIP. VoIP calls are made on your phone, connected to the internet with a network cable or adapter, or via a computer’s microphone and speakers using an app. When making calls, the VoIP service provider routes the voice data between you and the other caller—all within a split second.
As a contractor’s business grows, having a phone system that aligns with the public's expectations is critical. Unlike traditional landlines, VoIP systems come with powerful features to help businesses make the right impressions. Some of these features are:
· Virtual Receptionist - missing important client calls or new business opportunities because your phone is busy, or your greeting is unprofessional, is easily resolved by a Virtual Receptionist. When someone can’t take a call, the Virtual Receptionist takes over. Instead of hearing a busy signal or being put on hold, callers listen to a message and can be given several options on how to proceed.
· Ring Groups - to ensure every caller into your business has a positive experience, you can program Ring Groups to ring simultaneously—so everyone in a department, like sales or customer care, receives the call; or ring sequentially—from person to person, until someone picks up.
· Mobility - staying connected to the public when you and your employees are away from the office working with clients is critical. It’s not practical or professional for employees to use their personal number for business. VoIP systems, unlike landlines, support working remotely through mobile and desktop apps, as well as voice messages forwarded as email attachments—allowing employees to make and receive calls from anywhere in much the same way they would from the office.
· Virtual Fax - faxing remains an important form of communication for many businesses. With VoIP phone systems, you can still send traditional faxes from your phone to a fax machine. Virtual Fax removes the need for fax equipment. Faxes are converted to PDF files and managed within the end-user portal. Each user who needs access will have fax capabilities via their phone extension. The account manager can review the logs to track all Virtual Fax activity.
· Business Phone Number - keeping your business phone number, your lifeline, makes the transition to an IP system seamless. The moment you plug in your phones, you’ll be able to make and receive calls. No need to change your business cards, letterhead and website information. Your VoIP service provider can take care of moving your number to your new system.
· First Impressions - how clients and prospects view your business often depends on their initial phone interaction. Do they hear a welcome message with easy directions, or be put on hold immediately? Whether your business has two, five or 20 employees, your business will sound professional with a VoIP phone system.
· Excellent Call Quality - with technology advances and increased internet speeds, your VoIP phones will provide the call quality you need for years to come.
· Reduced Costs - lower costs are one of the most appealing benefits for contractors to switch to VoIP systems. Those with landline phones understand the significant expense—setup fees, monthly costs, per-line expenses, etc.—all add up, including IT support. To calculate how much, you could save by switching to a VoIP system, check out this VoIP Savings Calculator.
· Connect With Remote Teams - employees today are literally working everywhere. A VoIP phone system provides the tools to communicate with staff effortlessly—no matter where employees are—in the office or working with clients remotely.
For an even deeper dive into VoIP, download this free VoIP Guidebook.
Jim Gustke is Vice President of Marketing at Ooma and is responsible for all aspects of marketing and customer acquisition at the company. Jim is a marketing and Internet veteran with a wealth of experience at the intersection of consumer and technology marketing. During his career, he has spearheaded marketing initiatives at Intuit, Lexar Media, Ofoto, America Online and Polaroid Corporation. For more information, visit: www.ooma.com. For questions or comments, please email: [email protected].