Many small businesses will consider skipping over having a phone system and cite the cost of having one or not being big enough to justify clunky hardware. These are understandable reasons, though they misrepresent where small business phone systems are Technology impacts every aspect of life and has in recent years has transformed communication from the bottom up, especially in the business world. Due to the advent of the internet and how it has radically changed the way companies do business and how employees communicate, a business owner has several options for communication technology, i.e. a business phone system.
There are two primary business phone systems to choose from, which we’ll compare and contrast below to better enable you to choose which is best for your company.
What is a VoIP?
A VoIP phone is short for Voice over Internet Protocol phone, which is a type of communication technology using both hardware and software that enables the user to make phone calls via an internet connection instead of a landline. A good example of this kind of technology is a smartphone app or programs like Skype, though a VoIP phone can also be used in traditional phones too.
There are several popular features that a VoIP phone typically has, including:
- Automatic Call Forwarding: a service feature that automatically takes calls to the VoIP phone line and redirects them to another line you’ve chosen. For example, rerouting a call to your cell phone when they’ve dialed your office.
- Virtual Receptionist: This feature is also known as a virtual assistant and provides the same traditional service a receptionist would. It can deliver recorded messages, direct calls, and answer the phone. You’ve likely interacted with this technology when calling a customer support line.
- Voicemail to Email: This is a VoIP service that transcribes voicemails and delivers them to you as an email. Please note that this technology isn’t a voice-to-text feature, but delivers an audio file to your email box rather than text.
How Does a VoIP Phone Work?
VoIP phones don’t use the traditional cables and wires as a traditional phone system does. Instead, they are connected using a broadband internet connection, the same as your computer. The VoIP phone converts calls into digital signals within the phone instead of relying on physical signal exchanges, like a traditional phone.
There are numerous methods a VoIP phone uses to work:
- Via a computer, such as Google Voice or FaceTime. Also known as a “softphone”
- An adapter with a traditional phone, plugging an adapter into a phone outlet, or your router converts a traditional phone into a VoIP.
- A dedicated VoIP phone, this looks like a traditional phone but it can directly connect to a computer network instead of a phone line.
To use a VoIP system you’ll need a reliable internet connection, as the quality of the call depends on your internet connection. This makes security all the more important as your calls can be hacked without having a secure connection.
What is a Landline Phone?
A landline phone is the classic telephone that uses a solid core of twisted-pair copper wire and plugs into a two or four-pin wall jack. This technology hasn’t changed much since the late 1800s and is based on the analog technology of physical switch boxes and sending signals through a series of exchanges.
While the technology is quite old, it is still quite reliable.
VoIP vs. Landline
To choose the best phone system for your business, it’s important to compare and contrast the available technology.
- Lower cost: due to calls taking place over the internet, you cut out additional costs related to traditional phone lines. Instead, you’re only charged for the internet access and you avoid multiple phone line costs.
- Sound quality: A VoIP phone system has a clearer sound than a traditional phone, though it depends on your internet connection.
- Functionality: Due to a VoIP system having additional features outside of just calls, there is enhanced functionality for the user, such as video calls, analytics, and voicemail-to-text transcription.
- Location: A VoIP phone system can be used anywhere there is sufficient internet connection while an analog phone requires a direct hardwire connection.
- Emergencies: Due to voice over IP being reliant on an internet connection, it may be difficult to contact an emergency call or be tracked to an accurate location since the call can be made anywhere. Some VoIP service companies have begun offering a 911 emergency auto-service and can detect your location or set by the user, which can be shared, but this depends on the system you’re using.
- Internet dependence: A VoIP phone is completely dependent on the internet, which can make calls unreliable when away from a strong connection and dropped calls more likely.
Landline Phone Pros
- Consistency and Reliability: Due to a landline phone being hardwire connected, the sound quality and call status are far more consistent. Meaning you don’t have to worry about dropped calls or the sound quality bouncing between poor and excellent.
- Static Infrastructure: The landline phone systems aren’t in danger of transforming or falling by the waist side. While digital communication is becoming the new standard, it’s subject to further transformation and adaptation, which means a business phone system may need to be replaced in the future.
Landline Phone Cons
- Cost: Landline phones are more expensive than a VoIP system as landlines are subject to taxes and additional fees from features added on.
- Spam: A VoIP phone system usually has a feature that can detect spam phone calls while an analog landline does not. You’re far more susceptible to telemarketers with a landline phone, even if it’s a business phone.
- Scaling: A landline phone system has many odds and ends to it, from wires to hardware. This makes it difficult to scale a small business phone system in any meaningful way without costing a lot. VoIP systems are much easier to upgrade and maintain when growing a business.
What’s Best for a Business Phone System?
This question greatly depends on the goals and function of your business. Knowing the key points discussing VoIP vs Landline phones can help you come to a greater understanding of what your business needs from a phone system and help avoid expensive experimentation.
We at F2F Telecommunications understand the needs of a small business phone system and can consult on what makes sense for your company. We encourage you to reach out to us and explore a business phone system that makes sense in today’s business world.
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