Business VoIP is the modern form of business phone service utilizing an internet connection instead of a PSTN landline connection. By sending your voice, video, and data communications through your internet network, your business can achieve a high quality VoIP phone system for a fraction of traditional legacy setups. Business VoIP solutions differ from landline services as feature rich alternatives for small to medium sized businesses.
Packed with advanced phone system features necessary to operate a small to medium businesses, such as hosted PBX capabilities, desk-to-desk calling, automated attendant systems, call routing and even music-on-hold, Business phone services powered by VoIP technology make it easy for any company to operate with the same level of professionalism customers expect from large scale enterprise systems. Business VoIP systems also include overall Unified Communication solutions to empower the mobility and flexibility needed for any size businesses. With an inexpensive, feature filled phone solutions, your business can operate at a high level on par with large scale systems, without having to worry about the cost.
How to Choose the Best Business VoIP Provider:
Depending on the amount of lines/extensions needed, your monthly business phone service fees can start as low as $20 per line from an award-winning small business VoIP service like Vonage Business. Knowing exactly what you need will make the transition fast, easy, and cost-effective.
From small business VoIP providers to enterprise VoIP phone systems, every business phone service has a different list of feature sets, and prices. Depending on the size of your company, you must take in to account system features needed, and the amount of unanticipated usage.
- Step 1 – check your internet connection/bandwidth to make sure you have sufficient Internet speed (your phone provider or Internet provider can you help determine this).
- Step 2 – with your budget, calling needs, and phone system features in mind, narrow down particular small business VoIP offerings to see who can offer you the best service package for your budget.
- Step 3 – decide which equipment is best for your company’s current and foreseeable needs. You may purchase a phone from $50 up to $500 with all the bells and whistles. Consider phones made by leading manufactures such as Polycom, Cisco, Panasonic, and Toshiba.
- Finally – compare companies, available features, and their reliability by reading reviews from small business VoIP users.
A hosted PBX is a cloud-based telephony network that delivers calling platform features within a company. Since the solution is cloud-based, the private branch exchange functionality is hosted and managed by the cloud phone system service provider rather than through an analog connection.
Hosted PBX solutions provide small, medium and even enterprise organizations with an advanced cloud telephone system while minimizing cost.
A Hosted PBX platform is housed in a remote data center, which offers geographical flexibility. This allows your employees to work from any location while still accessing the service. Given that it’s a hosted solution, you have scalability to grow or shrink if your business needs to reconsider hosted PBX pricing.
Businesses save on expensive equipment and hosting charges with a hosted solution. The hosted PBX provider does all of the heavy lifting so you do not have to, without compromising the quality of your service. These cloud-based solutions rival both standard telephone service as well as on-premise VoIP solutions.
Hosted PBX providers deliver the same standard of service, features, and functionality through the cloud. Cloud-based PBX providers maintain their own data centers to offer services to a massive number of businesses. Providers typically have multiple data centers in different locations to ensure service all around the world.
Remote data centers also offer redundancy in case of any outages.
What Makes Hosted PBX Services Different?
Hosted PBX service provides businesses with the same level of service one would expect from a Fortune 500 enterprise phone system. What’s missing is the hassle and high capital investment required by enterprise phone service. Powerful features provided by these solutions include:
- Auto-attendants and IVR
- Automated greetings
- Advanced call forwarding
- Call queuing
- Call recording
- Paperless faxing
- Unlimited extensions
- Conference calling
Overall, hosted PBX provides your business with an impressive list of features. These solutions are also more cost-effective than their on-premise counterparts, enabling any size organization to take advantage of these powerful platforms.
SIP trunking (Session Initiation Protocol) is the virtual equivalent of a traditional business phone line. A SIP trunk is a virtual connection to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), utilizing your internet connection.
The term “trunking” dates back to the original days of telephone service. A trunk was a shared communication path for a large number of telephone users. SIP is one of the specific protocols that enable VoIP services to work.
While traditional phones use physical lines and circuits to connect to the PSTN, a SIP trunk replaces the physical connections with virtual connections over your existing IP networks. Because information is transmitted through the internet and not landline telephone lines, SIP integrates voice, video data and internet services into one single line.
With the invention of VoIP and PBX, voice communications were no longer restricted to traditional circuits and landline phones. SIP is a signaling language designed to carry data like voice, video and instant messaging. By using the internet, businesses can cut down on the cost and rigidity of older phone systems.
All SIP calls are designated as local calls and you won’t even need a phone line. Calls are connected via a unique address or SIP URI.
SIP Services are offered by most business VoIP providers for both small and large applications. They are a cost-effective way for small businesses to maintain a professional presence and for large companies to maintain a local presence.
How SIP Trunking Works
SIP trunking delivers your telephone and Unified Communications services over an existing IP network and replaces your traditional telephone lines. Through a SIP trunk, VoIP users can make calls directly to any phone on the PSTN without telephone lines by connecting to a compatible hosted PBX system.
The only three necessary elements to operate a SIP trunk are the SIP provider that supplies the services, a phone system that has a trunk side to enable SIP, and a border element to facilitate the connection between your enterprise network and the PSTN or external IP carrier network.
These border elements can be a firewall or switch and are usually managed by your SIP Trunking provider. With only these three simple elements any business can vastly boost its telecommunications reach. A pre-existing IP-PBX installed will only make the process even easier.
Advantages of SIP Trunking Services
Thanks to SIP, small businesses can easily appear large and professional with a level of service often reserved for more expensive solutions or Fortune 100 companies. Large businesses can maintain their local presence, as all SIP calls are local calls. Not having to dial a generic call center number is just one of the many benefits.
SIP’s inherent flexibility allows for users to add or even subtract as many phone lines as they need, without the hassle of overpaying for unused lines, or waiting for your phone company to sort it all out. Everything can be handled through dedicated web portals to tailor the phone system to your needs on the fly.
Prepared for Anything
While analog trunks can be disrupted by bad weather and rely on expensive phone companies, SIP trunking can help mitigate disaster scenarios by properly rerouting and prioritizing calls to different networks or phones.
Lower Maintenance Costs
Consolidated hardware and setups reduce the installation and maintenance costs of adding or changing your existing phone system. The system can grow without even adding new hardware, a new trunk for extra phone lines doesn’t require any new devices.
Keep Your Number
Take your phone number with you anywhere you travel or move offices, as your number isn’t bound by location. If your primary link to the SIP provider fails or just isn’t where you are, any internet connection can serve as a temporary link to your SIP network.
If your business does a lot of calling oversees, SIP can offer free international calls based on your provider and pricing plans (compare industry-leading SIP providers above).
Call Center Software
Call center software is a calling system that offers dedicated features specifically for high volume contact center operations. It covers both inbound or outbound contact center environments. It provides agents with tools to efficiently make and receive large call volumes, route callers, and to assist customers and clients right over the phone in the shortest possible time.
In the first few decades of the technology, phone banks were connected to a computer to direct calls, called an Automatic Call Distributor. While that part hasn’t changed, call centers have evolved from rows of telephone operators answering blinking lights into multi-lingual cloud-based voice recognition software connecting customers to help desk agents throughout the world. Virtual call center solutions make it easy to open up new paths of communication while empowering them with the tools and technology they need to maintain a high level of efficiency and service.
Today’s call technology is also known as contact center software. It is often cloud-based, meaning that rather than physically connecting to the ACD, software connects via the Internet to the provider’s data centers.
All the hard work, like maintaining hardware and updating software, is done by the service provider. This allows contact center agents to focus on business. All you need is an internet connection, a software provider, and some sort of VoIP phone (physical or web-based).
With modern software solutions, contact centers can expand beyond phone-based communications, and even allow for email, live web chat, and or video communications. This empowers customers to utilize the method of communication of convenient for them.
Top 5 Benefits of Call Center Software
1. Integrate Your Phone System With Your CRM
Track your successes and failures with your CRM. Agents and managers can analyze the data to determine the best time to pick up the phone. Add new customers to your database with every call.
CRM software ensures that you keep track of customer data and recall it on the fly when they call. If your cloud contact center solution integrates with CRM software like Hubspot or Salesforce, you’ll also have an all-in-one solution for tracking metrics and KPIs. This puts your sales team in contact with your support team so that you’re building a robust multichannel workflow that ultimately benefits your customers.
Integration with your CRM software is one of the key benefits of a computer telephony integration system.
2. Respect Your Customer’s Time
No one likes waiting on the phone. Having to explain the same problem twice or connecting with an agent who can’t help is even more frustrating. Contact center solutions properly direct the call and pass on the information to the next agent, making your customers feel more at ease.
Call center software helps by organizing your ticketing process. When customers reach out to support teams, they need their phone calls routed to the proper person, sometimes the same team they contacted last time. With organized communication channels, even a small business can respond with the service you’d expect from an enterprise.
3. Integrate Your Customer Relationships with Social Media
Today’s customers and callers prefer to tweet, like, and chat more than they like being on the phone. Today’s software solutions can monitor and filter social media to detect who needs special attention and why. You can direct your customers from any social media platform right to your agents.
4. Experience Matters
Contact center software lets a supervisor monitor a call and gives the option of either “whispering” into an agent’s ear without the customer hearing, or “barge” into the call and take over. This allows managers to mentor agents and for customers to be in the best hands, whether they know it or not.
Either way, the customer will get the benefit of the more experienced agent and have a better experience with the ideal solution.
5. Highly Customizable Distribution Rules
With cloud-based software, the order that calls are directed can be completely customizable. Call distribution can be based on tracking and analyzing data on success rate, length of calls, skill sets, and more. You can also make sure customers get the same agent every time if they prefer.
You simultaneously ensure that your customers don’t get frustrated by queuing for too long and optimize on-site workforce management.