Every business requires communication within the organization and with customers to achieve their business goals and operations. Technological advancements have redefined how employees connect and collaborate, and interact with customers. Nowadays customers look for a fast and unified way of reaching out to support staff or your employees want to reach out to their team members to resolve issues. When you make a phone call using a traditional phone system or a landline phone it is difficult to settle disputes in a timely manner as you need to jump between applications, put customers on hold, or call them back to answer their questions.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems, or IP telephony, converge all forms of communication such as emails, phone calls, video calls, and conference calls, to the internet. VoIP call technology allows users to connect from home offices and abroad, and remotely utilize the voice, fax, and data services of your office via your intranet.
Given the many options available on the market, choosing the best VoIP service for your business is important. To help you figure out how to find the tool that matches your business needs, we’ve created this buyers guide that has all the essential information relating to VoIP software.
Here’s what we'll cover:
What is VoIP software?
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) software, also known as internet telephony, IP phone, or internet calling, is a solution that enables the transmission of voice telephone calls and other multimedia content through internet networks. With a VoIP service, the voice of the caller is converted into digital packets, compressing the voice signals. These are then encoded into digital signals and transmitted to the receiver via an IP network. At the receiver’s end the digital signals are decoded and converted back to audio signals.
Unlike public switched telephone networks (PSTN), which uses a landline and circuit switched telephony between two points for the duration of call, a VoIP call can be made from any device over the internet. This can be from one phone to another or from a computer to a phone.
Call routing in VoIP.ms software (Source)
Common features of VoIP software
The features vary by product or vendor but most VoIP phone systems have the following in common:
||Facilitate virtual conferences that connect multiple people remotely over the phone.
|Online voice transmission
||Convert your voice into a digital signal, compress it, and send it over the internet. On the receiving end, the digital data is uncompressed into the sound that can be heard through a headset or speakerphone.
||Listen to agents’ calls live to track and improve their performance with the goal of improving customer interactions.
||Capture or record audio and screen activity associated with phone calls between a customer and an agent. These recordings can be stored, retrieved, evaluated, and assessed for business needs.
||Place incoming calls in a call queue and distribute these calls to the specific agents based on a predefined set of rules and criteria.
||Identify incoming calls, such as access to customer caller ID and number of the caller, to decide what action to take and how to initiate the conversation.
||Convert audio voicemail messages into text format, which can be sent to the user via email or text message. It is also referred to as ‘speech to text,’ ‘voice to text,’ or ‘voicemail to text.’
|Session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking
||Enable users to make and receive phone calls over the internet to anyone in the world with a phone number, over the internet.
What type of buyer are you?
Before purchasing a VoIP phone system, you should assess which buyer category you belong to. The majority of buyers fall into the following categories:
- Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) (up to 500 employees): Buyers in this category are companies that serve a small market and don't have many clients/customers. They often have a strict budget to invest in technologies and hire employees. Due to their limited budgets, they face the challenge of managing front desk operations and reducing customer frustrations. VoIP software can be cost-saving for such businesses as they do not require separate landline phones or telephone hardware. All they need is an internet connection to communicate with their customers.
They should opt for a software that can transfer and forward calls to personal cell phones, for office, or working remotely. A VoIP system with basic features such as call screening, call routing, automated attendant, and call analytics will be helpful for such buyers. This will help maximize communications across phone systems and simplify customer journeys with better collaboration.
- Large enterprises (over 500 employees): Unlike SMBs, large enterprises have a complex business environment with a large customer base. Due to the large customer base, customer service agents end up getting huge volumes of queries through different channels such as via phones, emails, text messages, and so on. They need software that can route these huge inbound and outbound calls to different agents and manage calls efficiently.
A fully featured VoIP platform with conference call, video meetings, and instant messaging features would be beneficial for such buyers. This can help them increase productivity by answering customer questions and communicating with suppliers, clients, customers, and co-workers from anywhere in the world.
Benefits of VoIP software
Listed below are some benefits you can expect from using a VoIP phone system:
- Better communication: Communication is an integral part of any business whether you are communicating internally with your employees or externally with your customers. VoIP phone calls provide a means of unified communications with your customers by sending/receiving faxes and documents, placing international calls, and more, which can all be done from one device. Moreover, employees can use the same number on their desk phone, laptop, desktop, smartphone, or tablet, which can help address urgent matters from anywhere.
- Higher scalability: As your business grows, so will your employees, offices and customers. A VoIP solution will grow with your business. Unlike traditional phone systems, you do not need an extra phone line, or separate numbers for new employees (saving you from the cost of buying any expensive hardware). Scalability functionality of such software allows you to expand the number of VoIP lines without downtime to the phone system.
- Improved security: Encryption, identity management, and call screening features of VoIP software can help you mitigate security threats such as fraudulent phone calls to employees. VoIP provides end to end encryption of calls which makes it difficult for hackers and telecom providers to access your communications.
- Custom mobile applications: The workforce is now shifting towards a remote working model, which requires companies to deploy software that can run on their employees’ mobile devices. Make sure that the VoIP system you choose offers a mobile app with robust feature set including security, call screening, and voicemail services.
- Third-party integrations: Integration capability of software allows you to add features and tools to your business processes to respond to market demands quickly. App switching or jumping between applications to send a message, view customer data, or record conversations after the call can be a time consuming task. The VoIP service that you decide to invest in should integrate with your already existing platforms such as help desk software and customer relationship software (CRM) software. This way your support agents can call customers with a single click from the CRM app, record phone conversations and transcribe them automatically, and pass data back and forth between the systems whenever required.
Here’s a market trend to keep in mind when selecting a VoIP phone system for your business:
5G communications will enhance the VoIP market: As the VoIP technology is changing how businesses communicate with ultra high definition video meetings, and virtual reality functionalities, the need for a stronger bandwidth has risen. 5G networks provide the ability to make high quality uninterrupted calls from around the world. A VoIP provider who implements this upcoming technology can offer faster speeds, greater network efficiency, significantly lower latency to improve response time, enabling individuals and businesses to have instantaneous communication with co-workers or clients.
Note: The application selected in this article is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation. It has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.