Business VoIP Systems VS. Traditional Phones
When making a decision of what kind of phone you need to use for your business, you should not make any rushed decisions; take your time in researching and understanding your options. You can either have a VoIP system or a traditional landline, both of which have their own features and advantages; in the end, you are the only one who can evaluate your business' needs to conclude the type of phone that meets those needs.
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is a communication technology that people can use to make phone calls. While a traditional analog phone uses wires or optical fibers to secure a connection, VoIP systems use an internet connection. You may also see people refer to it as internet calling or IP telephony.
A VoIP system comprises both software and hardware. You can either use specific phones designed for VoIP purposes or transmit your VoIP through traditional phones, smartphone apps, computer software, and more.
How does VoIP work?
Voice over Internet Protocol converts your analog voice signals into digital signals over your broadband connection, compresses the signals, then sends them over the internet. On the other end, the digital signals get uncompressed into sound so that the other person can hear you. When you want to use a VoIP system, all you need is a high-speed internet connection.
The landline phone system is a traditional communication tool that conveys sound through wires between speakers. Landline phones have been there since 1876, which makes them a safe and reliable option.
The biggest strength of landline phones is their reliability; because landlines use wires, you can rely on them (almost) never to fail you by dropping suddenly. This is vital for businesses, especially ones that have customers calling all the time. In addition, when bad weather strikes, landlines remain consistent, which can reduce the downtime in your business to increase productivity. And since landlines rely on wires for connection, you can make use of them if you don't have a strong, reliable internet connection.
However, with all the technological advances, some people may prefer to leave landlines behind and utilize new communication tools and means like VoIP systems. It is no secret that VoIP systems are more convenient to use. Not only that, but landlines usually cost more than VoIP systems. And lastly, if you use a landline phone, you may receive spam calls from telemarketers, as there are now laws that deem it illegal.
After understanding all the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP systems and landline phones, the choice is yours. There are a few factors you need to consider when making a comparison. Here is a quick overview of how landlines and VoIP systems compare when it comes to these factors:
- Reliability: Landlines are generally more reliable than VoIP phones when it comes to delivering consistent call quality and operating in outages. However, with a strong internet connection, this should not be a problem.
- Costs: VoIP services are generally cheaper than landlines.
- Equipment: If you already have many landlines in your business, you may want to think if you are willing to give them up and get new devices that are compatible with VoIP systems.
- Maintenance: Scaling and upgrading VoIP systems can be much easier than doing so to landlines, as sometimes it can be as simple as updating the software.
Now that you know the factors upon which you should base your decision, let us get into all the features you can find in a VoIP system.
Business VoIP systems come with various features that your business can benefit from, including:
Automatic call forwarding
This is one of the most useful and important features you can find in a business VoIP system. This feature comes in handy when you want calls to be redirected from the VoIP line to another line that you get to choose. For example, you can choose to redirect calls from your office phone to your personal cell phone for reasons like working from home, working in the field, or traveling. You can also utilize this feature to redirect calls from your cell phone to your secretary's phone when you are not available. This feature puts you in control of when and where people can reach you.
Call queuing and routing
If your business has different departments that are prepared to receive phone calls, a VoIP system allows you to route any incoming call to the right department. When a customer calls your business number, their call will be placed in a queue and routed to the responsible person.
This feature will detect any anonymous calls or blocked caller IDs and reject them. This will protect your business from prank calls, which will, in turn, save your employees' time and increase their productivity.
A virtual receptionist is also known as a virtual assistant. This feature can fill in many of the traditional functions and tasks of a receptionist and replace them with automated features instead. Your virtual receptionist can answer phone calls, redirect calls, receive and deliver recorded messages, and do many more tasks and services.
An example of virtual receptionists can be found when calling customer support lines; usually, when you call customer support, you will hear automated greeting scripts and directories. Virtual receptionists are updated frequently to include any changes made to the system or the business; they can provide information on frequently asked questions and can resolve the customer's issue without having to connect them to a customer support agent.
Phone calls may not be everyone's favorite means of communication. You can provide text messaging platforms for your customers and even for your employees among each other to talk about anything that is business-related to save time and money.
You can make any phone number more accessible with this feature. Three-digit dialing can save you time in cases of emergency by programming any important numbers and giving them a unique 3-digit number. You can also make it easier for people, especially children, to remember the number and reach it when needed.
Voicemail to email
This tool can transcribe your voicemail messages and send them as emails. It does not convert your voicemail into text; it only creates an audio file of the voice message and emails it to you. The great thing about this feature is that it makes voicemail messages easier to access and allows you to save and keep them for future reference. Some providers even allow you to use your email to delete messages in your voicemail. This tool can save you time by making the whole process more convenient and easier to handle.
As mentioned before, you need a strong and secure internet connection to use a VoIP system, as these systems rely completely on the strength of your internet connection to give you high-quality phone calls and protect your calls from any hackers. Other than that, any needed equipment can be determined according to your needs and the type of VoIP you want to use.
- If you are using an adapter, you should find a compatible landline phone. Another possibility is that your adapter may plug into a wireless router and not a phone outlet.
- If you want to use your VoIP system on a computer, you will need a desktop or laptop that connects to the internet. You also need a program or software that works with the VoIP, and lastly, you will need a microphone and speakers or headsets. Headsets usually deliver better sound quality and are generally easier to use.
- If you want to use the VoIP system on your smartphone, you will need a strong internet connection and a good VoIP app. Most of these apps offer free calls between users of the same service, like Skype, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and more.
With that said, let us get into the best VoIP systems on the market in terms of features and costs:
Ooma is a VoIP provider with services designed to help any business of any size. They offer several plans that can benefit your business. We will go over two of their most popular plans:
This is the most affordable plan, and it starts at $19.95 per user per month. The plan includes multiple features like:
- Call forwarding
- Call queuing
- Business SMS texting
- Virtual receptionist (attendant)
- 3-click provisioning
- Similar features to Microsoft Teams
- 99.999% uptime with SLA
- Month-to-Month agreement
- 7-digit dialing
- Music on hold
- Call log
- Call forwarding (helpful in outages)
- Multi-device ring
- 24/7 support
Ooma Office Pro
This plan is an upgraded version of the Ooma Office plan, and it starts at $24.95 per user per month. This plan includes everything in the Office plan, plus a few more features, including:
- Video conferencing
- Call recording
- Voicemail transcription
- Caller info match
- Call analytics
- Call through Ooma's desktop app
- 3-click provision
- 24/7 support
- 99.999% uptime with SLA
- LTE Primary and Failover connectivity
- Advanced business phone features
- Single or multi-location
RingCentral is one of the biggest providers of cloud-based communication solutions. It provides a great VoIP system for business with all the features it offers and the flexibility it allows. Some of these features include:
- Local numbers: You will have a wide variety of area codes to choose from, which will allow you to establish your presence as a local business. You can also choose to route customer calls to a toll-free number anywhere around the world.
- Audio and video conferencing: Audio conferencing allows up to 1,000 people to get connected; video calls allow up to 500 participants. Video calls allow you to have a high-quality call where you can also share your screen with others.
- Messaging: RingCentral provides a messaging platform for communication between team members among each other and for customers to reach your business. Instead of using your personal cell phone, you can use RingCentral's messaging tools.
- Security: RingCentral provides a secure and reliable VoIP system. Users can easily sign in with their credentials with no need for any IT assistance. In addition to that, RingCentral allows you to assign roles and permissions to your employees to decide their levels of access to the system.
This is just to scratch the surface of the features RingCentral offers.
RingCentral offers four plans with different features and costs. Below are the most popular plan and the plan with the best value:
Essentials (most popular)
This is the most basic and popular plan, and it allows up to 20 users only. If you pay annually, you will be charged $19.99 per user per month. However, paying monthly will charge you $29.99 per month per user. With this plan, you get the following features:
- Team messaging
- Unlimited calls within the United States and Canada
- Unlimited business SMS
- Document sharing
- Toll-free and business phone numbers
Premium (best value):
This plan has a monthly subscription that starts at $34.99 per user and for up to 20 users when paid annually. However, if you pay on a monthly basis, the cost changes to $54.99 per month. Premium has all the features in the Essentials plan plus the following:
- Business phone numbers in more than 100 countries
- Unlimited internet fax
- Unlimited audio conferencing
- Video meetings with up to 100 participants
- 24/7 service support
- Quality-of-service reports
- Collaborative software integrations such as Google Workspace, Slack, and Microsoft 365
- High-definition video quality
- Up to eight-digit extensions and site codes
- Automatic call recording
- Single sign-on
- Admin and management for multiple sites
- Advanced call handling
- Video meetings with up to 200 participants
- CRM integrations like Zendesk, Salesforce, and Canvas
- Custom integrations and platforms for developers
Dialpad is a great company that offers multiple VoIP system plans for all sizes of businesses. We will go over the first two plans in detail:
Dialpad Talk Standard plan
This is the company's basic plan; it starts at $15 per user per month, and it includes:
- Unlimited calling
- Unlimited SMS
- Unlimited MMS
- Customized voice mail
- Call controls
- Voice mail transcriptions
- Google and Microsoft 365 integration
- Call routing during off-hours
Dialpad Talk Pro plan
This plan starts at $25 per user per month, and it includes all the features in the basic plan plus:
- CRM integration
- Unlimited meetings
- Local number supported in over 50 countries
- Hold ques
- International SMS
- Desk phone support
- Slack, Zapier, and Zendesk integration
- 25 ring groups
- 24/7 phone support