The Benefits of VoIP Solutions for Managing Your Remote Team
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has made inroads into small and medium enterprises and has proved to increase customer satisfaction, decrease costs, and improve productivity. Whereas before companies would have to invest in the expensive hardware costs of private branch exchange systems (PBX), voice over IP telephone systems removes that need.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to work from home, introducing new challenges for businesses who run customer retention and customer management strategies using inbound telephony. The question is: how do you manage a workforce fragmented by location without disrupting service quality or resorting to archaic technology like voicemail?
VoIP calls enable team members to communicate with each other and customers using a single platform throughout South Africa and the world. From video conferencing on Skype to call recording, companies are leveraging this amazing communication technology to improve their corporate offerings, customer service, and overall productivity. VoIP providers in South Africa and communication service providers that offer internet services have jumped on board with VoIP as part of their product offerings.
VoIP accounts for over 1.7 million petabytes (PB) of data worldwide, and it has contributed to the broadband revolution. The list of VoIP advantages for companies continues to grow.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Benefits of VoIP Solutions for Managing Your Remote Team
- 1.1 The Benefits of VoIP Solutions If Your Employees Are Working From Home:
- 1.2 How can I install VoIP at home?
The Benefits of VoIP Solutions If Your Employees Are Working From Home:
The cost of telecommunication infrastructure, especially long-distance phone lines, has risen over the years. If you are a small company, you probably don’t have enough in your budget to invest in a new fiber optic network or purchase the hardware necessary for a comprehensive PBX system.
This is where VoIP services come in. VoIP is a fully automated, decentralised communication network with cost-effective call rates. Your business’s entire employee and customer communications can be managed through the internet. You can set up and manage your VoIP system and use it as the backbone of your communication infrastructure. VoIP is location independent and all your business numbers can work regardless of where employees are physically situated. You can approach your existing telecommunication service provider to add VoIP to your current telecommunication services.
The easiest way to integrate voice over IP services into your business is an analogue telephone adapter (ATA). It connects a standard phone to your computer and switches the analogue signal to a digital signal. The second is through an IP phone that connects directly to a special VoIP router. And the third, a computer-to-computer setup that needs a microphone, soundcard, speakers, and internet connection.
Most VoIP providers offer bundled pricing options. The services come with bundled products that include phone and data connectivity, and ancillary applications and services. This lowers your company’s overall phone bill.
Often, you might already have an existing phone number. Here, VoIP technology might be useful for a few reasons. You could use the voice over IP phone service to provide additional numbers for your business, allowing you to implement business automation and cost savings. You could do this with no telephone number porting or costly hardware purchases. It would allow you to have numbers for each department in your business or even individuals at no added cost.
You could also use VoIP to increase accessibility, which might improve customer satisfaction and increase sales for your company. You do this by offering phone menus with computerised, pre-recorded options and messages which help customers troubleshoot issues, before being linked to a human customer representative.
You might even use VoIP technology to enhance your existing telecommunication service with extra features to enable international calls with country codes that still filter to the same individuals. This will improve your customer experience.
If you ever change your business address, you can always keep your VoIP number or Telkom number. VoIP numbers are virtual numbers and are not bound to fixed locations. A virtual number doesn’t require a SIM card or physical address and only requires a reliable data connection to work.
VoIP service providers can also help you set up auto-attendants for your calls. Auto-attendants greet callers and provide a menu to reach the right person. If you’ve ever heard the “Press 1 for X or press 2 for Y” menus, that’s an auto-attendant.
With HSC Systems, VoIP services are available for as little as R50 per month.
You can have your new telephony system configured and installed in hours, and you rarely must sign up for a specific amount of time on your VoIP phone plan. Many reputable service providers offer month-to-month plans which allow you to pay a basic cost and then pro-rata based on how much you use.
Most of us use our smartphones to talk to our friends or family, and these features make using them for business – or to work remotely – amazingly easy. In fact, by the time you know that you need a business line, you’ll discover your cell phone is already a VoIP device using session initiation protocol (SIP).
The most widely used example of SIP is WhatsApp owned by Facebook. Currently, 2 billion people use WhatsApp across the world. Options vary from Android to iPhone to non-smartphone devices. Your device needs to work with existing or new IT applications, such as Microsoft Outlook. Your device must be small enough to fit on a work desk but still offer a quality screen. So, in terms of business video calls, a cell phone is not the best choice. Rather invest in a laptop with a high-quality webcam, like a MacBook, or buy a third-party webcam to use.
Automated Network Routing
Any time you call a business, your intention is to talk to the sales representative or a manager in that company. When you make a call, you’re attempting to bypass the hours-long wait for an email reply that often happens, since your issue is pressing.
With a traditional PBX system, your call goes through the primary carrier and routes through the proper switching and routing facilities that have your desired route chosen for you. While the provider may use very high-speed wires and networks, the phones must be on, and it requires much human intervention. A hassle-free solution is that all your business phone systems should support automated network routing (ANR). Because ANR is a low-level routing mechanism, it remains cost-effective for businesses that operate a call center or something similar.
ANR is designed to decrease the need for manual intervention for labour-intensive tasks such as configuration changes, or changes in network performance or security. In terms of voice over IP, it will allow you to have higher call quality, and advanced features such as call forwarding all done automatically. Also, if your company has the finances, you can invest in a unified communications setup that allows you to access all communication through a single application or service. Tech companies such as Google have worked to solve this affordably and at scale, the Google G-Suite supports instant messaging, email, fax, VoIP, and video calling.
How can I install VoIP at home?
How you use VoIP at home will vary from the way a small-scale telephony system operates within a business. You can set up a business VoIP server at home, linked to the main business network via cloud computing, with a requisite of 5 components:
Connection to the Internet
Without an Internet connection, you can’t make a call. You don’t have to worry too much about the speed of your bandwidth if you install VoIP at home because the number of users is fewer. The efficiency of communication is more important. The more capacity you enable for VoIP, the higher the number of phone calls the company can deal with.
An Internet Router
Normally, a company would get a specialised VoIP router, so that data is not bottle-necked by voice and other uploads/downloads mixing. At home, since you will most probably be making voice calls by yourself, there is no need for a dedicated router. You want an existing internet connection that mixes speed, reliability, and connectivity.
Besides a router, you may need a few other hardware parts. An excellent choice would be VoIP phones versus a landline. We’ve explained the shortcomings of a landline throughout this article.
It’s not advisable to manage the intricacies of a VoIP network yourself. Register with a VoIP provider service, like HSC Systems, who can provide you with support should you wish to change your voice over IP phone system. You will most probably require remote hosted servers, over the cloud, or virtual machines (VMs) to run your integrated business VoIP solution. But your employees need to have all of the other hardware mentioned above for anything to be feasible.
In conclusion, when planning to get VoIP for your remote-work employees consider reviewing the different options available and determining what fits your business needs and budget. Consider employee comfort levels in terms of technological savvy, cost-effectiveness, features, and other salient factors. Doing your homework ahead of time will make all the difference, allowing you to be more successful in getting the service you need without paying unnecessary costs.