Voice over Internet Protocol
At a fundamental level - VoIP boils down to making phone calls over, or using, the internet, rather than a traditional phone. Just saying that however, doesn't convey the possibilities that the simple change from analogue or ISDN lines to VoIP unlocks - So, we've broken it down into the changes and features that most affect some different types of SMBs.
SMB (10-50 Staff)
SMBs often exist in a limbo - too small to take advantage of the technologies used by enterprises and multinationals, and too large to keep working with legacy technologies. For these businesses, a driving factor is the capabilities that a VoIP system enable, while keeping costs low. For instance, lets take a typical SMB with the following parameters:
Main office with 10 Management, Finance, and Sales staff
2 Satellite offices with 10 Sales and Support Staff each
5 delivery drivers or mobile service personnel
5 warehouse operatives
If this company uses traditional analogue or ISDN lines, and a typical onsite PBX, they could expect to have 6 lines installed, and at least 5 mobile contracts. With traditional providers, that could easily cost over £500 /month, and several thousand pounds installation and hardware costs. Additionally, calls from the satellite offices to the main office would be charged just the same as regular outgoing calls.
With this setup, the business would need to provide clients with up to 8 different phone numbers, ( Main office, each Satellite Office, and 5 mobile numbers).
With a VoIP solution, the business could consolidate it's telephone system down to just one inbound number for all of it's sites, and significantly reduce costs. Assuming a roughly average number of calls, this customer would pay around £120 /month.
However, reduced costs are not all, the added functionality such as mobile apps, softphone clients, add further value. Mobile apps allow mobile workers to be accessible from anywhere from their normal extension number, or make calls from the business number. Softphone Clients reduce investments in desk phones and improve productivity, combined with all of the phone system features you would expect, such as IVRs, Conferencing, Queues, and more.
Micro-Business & Sole Traders (1-10 staff)
Sole traders and Micro-Business are typically cost sensitive first and foremost. Combine low cost with a desire to provide a high quality service, and professional presentation, and many find themselves with little to no choice for their phone systems. Many use personal mobile numbers, or basic landline with no additional functionality.
VoIP can help with both of these aspects, with a low monthly cost, and professional presentation with a local or national landline number, all from any mobile device.
Small Food or Retail companies can also benefit from added features such as IVRs and Queues, to ensure you don't loose out on business because you happened to be on the phone when a call came in.
A Sole Trader or Micro Business can expect to pay around £20 /month for a complete VoIP solution.
Additionally, VoIP is scalable, allowing a business to seamlessly expand as needed, adding additional extensions, inbound numbers, and features as and when needed.