VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): Everything you need to know

If you’ve started looking into Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology and its potential use in your business, you’re in good company. Over the last twelve months, we’ve seen a surge in businesses rushing to hang up their desk phones in favour of VoIP. But if you’re still relying on a traditional business landline, how can you be sure that VoIP is right for your organisation?    To make things a little easier, we’ve compiled the most pressing VoIP questions into this short blog to help you decide if you’re ready to cut the cord. Whether you’re brand new to the term, or you’re looking for the steps to get started, we have the information you need. 

Let’s start at the beginning: what exactly is VoIP? 

In simple terms, VoIP is a type of communication technology that allows you to make phone calls between devices that have an internet connection, including mobile phones and computers. It’s very likely that you already use VoIP at home through the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype.    Where the traditional phone line relies on wires or optical fibres, VoIP shares messages over an Internet Protocol (IP) network, meaning using the internet to send the data rather than physical cables. VoIP technology isn’t new, but it’s rapidly evolving and telecoms providers around the world are increasingly moving their landline customers to VoIP. For example, BT will switch off its ISDN and PSTN services (the landline technology they use) in the UK by 2025 with over two million businesses expected to be affected. The good news is that it promises some rather compelling business benefits, which leads us nicely onto our next question:   

Why should you choose VoIP? 

Good news: VoIP has proven itself to be significantly more cost-effective than traditional telephony, particularly when it comes to high volume or long-distance calls. It allows businesses to spend less on customer service without compromising on call quality or customer care – although you’ll want to make sure you have the internet connection to support your call volume.    As well as cost, the scalability of VOIP also makes it an attractive option for growth-focused organisations. Due to the cloud technology utilised by VOIP, you can easily increase your throughput without requiring additional hardware, phone lines, and without reducing your call quality. This holds especially true for international calls which can be made anywhere in the world with minimal setup.    Finally, while you can buy VoIP-enabled hardware, it’s entirely possible to migrate to VoIP without any special hardware at all. Your team can continue to use their existing computer devices providing they have good audio quality. Most customers simply use headsets plugged into their individual devices, making it even easier to get going. 

How complicated is the migration to VoIP? 

The right partner will provide a seamless migration with minimal downtime. You may need to provision for a limited-service period whilst you move your number from your existing provider into your new solution, however, this can be minimised by close communication with both parties. It’s often sensible to err on the side of caution when it comes to planning the move, but even conservative estimates can place a VOIP migration at between 1-4 weeks allowing you to move at a good pace. Of course, if you need further advice, we’re always available to help you move. 

Time to Get Started: 

Now you’re ready to get going, it’s worth asking yourself these four key questions: 

  • What kind of phone do you want your team to use? Would you prefer VoIP-enabled hardware or a headset plugged into the agent’s computer? 
  • What kind of platform do you need? A good partner will integrate VoIP as part of your overall solution rather than a bolt-on. 
  • Think about the mix of inbound and outbound calls. How can callbacks and IVR’s be used to maximise both self-serve and minimise inbound pressure at key points in your journey? 
  • Think about where telephony via VoIP will fit in your omnichannel approach. VoIP gives you a great opportunity to increase efficiency by dovetailing with digital channels. 
Answering these questions should give you everything you need to start, but sometimes it can be helpful to talk them through. For more information, book a call with us and see our VOIP technology in action.