In our increasingly impersonal world, it’s worth remembering that people really do like to talk. While email has its uses, there’s nothing like the immediate interaction of a phone call – indeed, a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive revealed that 81% of Americans prefer to communicate by voice.
In a business setting, phone calls can help establish a rapport that is difficult to achieve with email. Unfortunately, until now, phone calls have been seen as something of a luxury, with employees encouraged to email instead. The arrival of VoIP is changing all that, allowing business owners and employees to benefit from the internet in ways many would have never thought possible.
1. Cheap national calls
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) works by sending data over the internet as opposed to using traditional phone networks. For this reason, VoIP service providers are able to keep their charges extremely low. Calls through VoIP are typically not based on the amount of time spent on the phone, using instead a single charge per call. If the call is being made to someone using the same VoIP service, then it’s likely to be free from any charges.
2. Cheap international calls
International calls are usually charged according to how long the call lasts for. Some service providers offer businesses cheap international calls or the option of making as many international calls as they wish for a set price.
Businesses can arrange to have an email sent to them when someone leaves a voice message.
Many VoIP providers allow businesses to nominate numbers for calls to be diverted to. Calls can also be diverted to other numbers if not answered within a set period of time.
Calls made to VoIP networks can be forwarded to multiple extensions that will ring simultaneously until answered.
6. Ring back
Those making calls using VoIP can continuously call a line that is busy until it becomes free.
7. Three-way calling
Mini-conference calls can be set up using a three-way calling service offered by VoIP providers, such as Vonage.
8. Encouraging business
Businesses that already use VoIP will be more likely to receive calls from customers and other business that also use VoIP – after all, everyone likes to save money. In 2008, 80 per cent of all new installations of PBX lines were VoIP.
9. Administrative simplicity
Having one VoIP provider means that businesses can use the same company for both their voice and data services.
10. Streamlined working practices
VoIP providers help businesses unify their communications by allowing phone calls, voice mail, faxes and email to be converted to discrete data packets that can be sent to any computer or smartphone.