If your new year’s resolution is to upgrade the phone system for your small to mid-size business, the answer can be found in the cloud with a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) cloud-based phone system.
Businesses of all sizes are moving their phone systems to cloud-based solutions in a trend that continued to accelerate in 2019 and will likely do the same this year. Larger enterprises were the first to make the move, but advances in VoIP technology have made all the benefits of a cloud phone system available to smaller organizations – and at a considerable cost savings over traditional landline phones.
The VoIP advantages
What are the advantages of a cloud-based system? It gives you access not only to a much broader range of phone features – with better quality and reliability – and added benefits like these:
- Reduced costs. Businesses often pay more than they need to for complex phone systems that aren’t well suited to their needs. A cloud-based phone system can be tailored to the precise needs of a small to mid-size business.
- Capture more business. Imagine how many customers you lose when no one is available to answer the phone or if the person answering the phone is on another line with another customer. With a cloud-based phone system, you never miss calls from customers and prospects – no matter when they call – day or night. Systems with a virtual receptionist make sure of that, with their ability to route calls and provide custom messages to callers. With the addition of a mobile app, a cloud-based phone system can enable extension dialing so that the business number can be used anywhere.
- Easy management. With a cloud-based phone system, managing the system and expanding it as your business grows is far easier. If you have multiple locations, it is simple to connect locations, add and manage users, features, and your call handling preferences. Not only are you better able to handle customer calls, but your internal calls between employees, are handled much more smoothly and efficiently.
- Simple installation. A cloud-based phone system is remarkably easy to install. Without any disruption to your business, you can have a new VoIP system operational in minutes, with only a couple of pieces of equipment to deal with and a portal that can guide you through system setup and management.
You can also keep your company’s existing phone numbers, making the transition to a VoIP cloud-based phone system essentially seamless. There isn’t any need to change business cards, letterhead, or website contact information.
The bottom line is that an innovative VoIP phone system that is reliable, feature-rich, simple to install and use, and inexpensive is a powerful communications tool that allows small to mid-size businesses to grow.
What to look for in a VoIP phone system
What should you look for in a cloud phone system? Here are a few features you will want to put at the top of your list:
- Call handling and receptionist features. You want customers to know that they matter to you. If your people are tied up, a “virtual” receptionist provides a customized message and offers options to callers. That allows them to route themselves to your sales department, or customer service, or some other part of the business. In a world where callers are short on patience, each second counts. You can customize the system to get callers to where they want to be as quickly as possible. That keeps them engaged and provides a positive impression of your business.
- Mobility. As critical as mobile devices are to work and communication in the typical small to mid-sized business today, this is a vital feature. With a cloud-based system and an app, they can use their mobile device – either personal or company-owned – to make and receive calls via a dedicated business number.
- Conference calling. For the most effective conference calls, you need good sound quality on every phone. Look for a cloud-based system that offers a 360-degree voice range and an array of built-in microphones, along with echo cancellation capabilities and background noise suppression to ensure the best performance.
- Simultaneous ring: This is a good option in departments where all or multiple employees are responsible for handling calls. When a call comes in seeking a sales rep, for instance, all the phones in the sales department will ring to be sure someone grabs that call.
- Productivity-enhancing analytics. A system that offers detailed call logs can provide you the data you need to improve business operations. You can find out, for example, how long customers were in the system before reaching the right person, or whether they abandoned the call out of frustration before connecting with someone. You can determine which employees are able to handle calls themselves and which ones tend to forward calls to more knowledgeable staffers.
With a VoIP cloud-based system, such as Omni from Sprint, a small base unit connects your existing analog phones to the internet delivering a better experience for you and your customers. In a matter of minutes, you can be making and receiving calls, either via your existing phones, new phones, or your computers. And unlike other VoIP phone systems,
Omni is half the cost of traditional phone setups, and it offers all-inclusive feature pricing with no contracts. Making an upgrade like this to your phone system will likely be the easiest of your new year’s resolutions to meet.