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When your small business begins to grow, you probably focus on the obvious needs: a bigger space, a larger team, flashier marketing. However, many small businesses overlook some of the details that present a more professional image as the business grows, inadvertently creating the impression that they are still a shoestring operation.
One prime example of this is the telephone system that your company uses. Perhaps in the early days when you worked alone — or with a small staff — a single landline with multiple extensions was adequate. After all, anyone who called would be likely to talk to you anyway. Now that you have a larger team, though, with multiple departments and hundreds of calls per day, an old-fashioned business phone system is no longer adequate. That’s where VoIP services for business comes in.
What Is VoIP — And Why Is It Ideal for Business?
Simply put, VoIP is an internet telephone. Rather than use the traditional method of transmitting calls via circuits, voice over internet protocol allows for calls to be transmitted via the internet, sending data in packets.
The primary advantage to businesses using VoIP systems is cost. It’s considerably less expensive to set up and maintain a system over the internet than it is to install, wire, and maintain a traditional system. VoIP takes advantage of the existing internet connection, keeping costs down.
In addition to cost reductions, though, VoIP also offers greater flexibility for business, and more importantly, the option to add features that often come with major upcharges or complex installations on traditional systems — features that are vital to presenting a professional image that helps your business grow.
Support Your Professional Image
Imagine that you are a customer calling a vendor. The phone is answered after four rings, and when you ask for a specific department, you are put on hold — without music. After waiting a few moments, the phone is picked up again, but you’ve reached the wrong person. Again, you’re put on hold, and this time the call disconnects before you reach the person you need to speak with. You call back, ask for the person you want to speak with, and are immediately dumped into voice mail. Frustrating, no?
Or perhaps you know exactly who you need to reach, only you have forgotten the specific extension to dial. When the phone is answered by a recording, you have to press zero to reach an operator, wait, and then ask to be connected to the person you’re calling. A directory would have been easier, but that wasn’t an option.
These are just two examples of how calling a business can be frustrating for customers — and present the wrong image of your company. Customers don’t want to be put on hold, have to be shuffled among departments, or play a guessing game to find the person they want to speak with. When that happens, your business comes across as unprofessional and small, even if you’re achieving unprecedented growth.
Therefore, if your business is growing — and you want to continue that growth — investing in a VoIP system supports the image that you’re trying to project, while also making your business more efficient. This is thanks to some key features that VoIP offers, including:
- Auto attendant. An auto attendant will automatically answer and direct incoming calls, without the need for a receptionist.
- Staff directory. With a VoIP system, you can offer callers a directory so they can find the right person without being transferred around the company.
- Hold music. Having hold music play will let the caller know that they have not been disconnected form the call.
- Selective call diversion. This allows you to set specific criteria on when and where calls should be diverted. For example, if a customer calls outside of business hours with an emergency, they can have their call automatically directed to the staff member on call.
- Call Following. You can present a cohesive and responsive image by using call following. With this feature, calls either ring on all phones at once or sequentially throughout the team. If you have employees who work outside of the office, they will still receive calls to the office wherever they happen to be.
- Call hunt. With a VoIP you can assign a specific number to a team or department, and the calls either ring to everyone or sequentially through the department, giving everyone a chance to answer the calls.
Granted, some VoIP features, like call waiting, call forwarding, or even hold music are available on traditional phone services, but a VoIP system offers expanded options for customization, and more flexibility in terms of location. Whether you have experienced a recent growth spurt and want your communication systems to reflect your new size — or you are a small business looking to present a more professional image, then VoIP is a worthwhile investment.