Small Businesses: Drop Your Communications Costs With VoIP
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) out there don't always have much in common, but when the conversation turns to cost-cutting, a lot of ears perk up and a lot of heads swivel toward said conversation. There are plenty of methods out there to achieve those savings, meanwhile, and some are much more rational than others. One particularly rational method, meanwhile, is to bring in voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) for communications as a means to save money on communications bills.
A business phone line can be a major expense. After all, making all those phone calls can fairly hobble a business, and if faxes are involved, that can be even worse. But VoIP service, meanwhile, can take a lot of the bite out of that bill by moving some of the traffic to Internet service instead. Traditional phone lines often charge by use, specifically, by the number of minutes used in a call, compiled at the end of the month and billed at the appropriate rate along with a string of taxes and fees as allowed or required by law. But with a VoIP system, the traffic is data traffic, and falls instead under a bandwidth cap as noted by an Internet service provider (ISP), if there even is one at all. This pulls that per-minute bite out of the bill alone.
What's more, VoIP services can often offer up a variety of services similar to those offered on a phone line by using software-based equivalents. Thus, those fancy features like customized greetings, interactive voice response (IVR), and dial-by-name directories can often be put to work in a VoIP system just as readily as could be found in regular phone service. What's more, the features in question often come as part of the VoIP package to help entice users to join the services in question.
Naturally, plans vary, and some plans may offer those familiar per-minute rates, while others offer services at a flat fee per month. Indeed, some will even offer different rates depending on calling, while some will even allow international calling at the same rates as any other, or as part of a per-minute package. Better yet, many business VoIP services offer at least some level of encryption, which means that the content of the calls in question is likely to be well-protected.
Of course, it's important to note here that there are many different providers, and as mentioned previously, plans vary. Thus it's especially important to do the necessary homework going into the idea, and figure out the plan that's best for each individual business' circumstances. But the rise of this kind of technology is set to change a lot of how we do business on an everyday basis; the field of real time communications alone is going to allow customers to make contact with a business with just a click on a link on a Web page, so being ready for this is important. Before going anywhere with VoIP or similar technologies, the business is likely to do best considering the ISP, and whether or not it can handle the demands such technologies might place on the system.
Still, there's a lot of value to be had here, and plenty of savings as well. Being ready for these changes will be one of the best things a small business can do to ensure its future potential.
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Edited by Maurice Nagle