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Guest Post by Christine Soeun Choi
If you’re looking for savvy strategies to step up your small business game, consider your phone system. If, like most businesses, you’re paying an exorbitant fee for your business landline, there’s a better solution.
Voice over internet protocol has become standard for many businesses, and for good reason. Here are a few benefits of switching from a traditional landline to a VoIP phone system:
1. It’s cheaper
Let’s start with what you care about most: price. Traditional phone systems get more costly the more users you have and can cost thousands of dollars annually. VoIP, on the other hand, can cost as little as $30 per user per month.
Why would you keep paying more for what essentially does the same thing as VoIP? What else could you put that money toward in your business?
2. You can take it on the go
Planning to be out of the office this afternoon? No problem. VoIP services allow you to forward calls to your mobile phone so you don’t miss a thing. Even if you’re traveling in another country, your customers can still reach you by calling your business number.
Being able to forward your calls means that your customers aren’t faced with your voicemail, and since many won’t bother to leave a message anyway, you don’t miss opportunities for new business.
3. You can eliminate the need for hardware
Most of us use our mobile phones exclusively anyway, so why buy expensive corded phones to take up space on your staff’s desks? You can use VoIP on mobile devices exclusively, and even get an automated attendant to give callers a prerecorded message and let them select the option to reach the department they want to talk to.
4. It does more
VoIP isn’t just for phone calls; many services also offer video meetings, which are great if you need to virtually meet with clients or remote staff. Depending on your plan, you may be limited to a certain number of video call participants, though you can upgrade your plan to accommodate more.
Even if you’re a one-person show, using that auto attendant to route calls to the appropriate department can make your business look bigger (and more successful) and can eliminate some questions that customers have, like store hours or location.
You can also get hold music (it doesn’t even have to be easy listening!) to entertain your callers while they’re waiting to talk to you or record messages promoting products or events to entice them while waiting.
5. You can get a U.S. number no matter where you are
With a rise in the number of digital nomads working remotely from all corners of the globe, these entrepreneurs need resources to help them run businesses smoothly, and often they still need to cater to American customers. Having a U.S. phone number is key to establishing a foothold with this audience.
VoIP numbers allow you to choose the area code for your business number. So if you’re targeting people in Chicago (even though you’re working in Tahiti), you can get a “local” number and people will never be the wiser that you’re not nearby.
6. Phone calls are cheaper
We’re moving away from the per-minute charge for long distance calls these days, but if you call other countries on a landline, you likely are still paying a premium for the privilege. With VoIP packages, often you get unlimited calls to most countries, which can save you a bundle if you’re trying for world domination.
7. It’s scalable
You might be a one-person show now and be satisfied with the basic VoIP package, but if you hire help, you can easily scale up your communication needs without even doubling your expenses. Many VoIP plans are based per user, so you can add lines as needed for a minimal additional fee.
8. You can feed your CRM
If you use customer relationship management software, VoIP can be a great pairing, as many service providers have integration tools that allow you to record calls, open tickets for customer service requests, and use customer data to close a sale.
If a customer calls a second time and she’s in your CRM system, she doesn’t have to re-explain her situation to you; you can look at call logs to see what she called about before and get right to helping her.
VoIP is a smart tool for entrepreneurs. It makes financial sense and offers many technological perks, including mobility and video conferencing. If you’re looking for a little competitive edge, look into switching your traditional landline to VoIP.
Christine Soeun Choi is a digital marketing associate at Fit Small Business. Currently based in NYC, she has a background in business studies and math with a passion for business development. Outside of work, Christine enjoys taking photos, exploring artwork, and traveling.