The 2nd part in this series explains different voicemail options for a business.
There are endless possibilities for business voicemails these days. If yours is a small business with one phone at the front desk that only requires one voicemail answering system and no other extensions, pretty much any phone system that is purchased will support that! However, for many businesses, this is not the case. Larger businesses require multiple line extensions with multiple voicemail boxes, as well as more complex features such as forwarding calls to a cellphone when away from the desk or being able to receive voicemails by e-mail or text message. For more complex solutions, most businesses will require a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system in place.
In the 2nd article in this series, we will explain what a VoIP system is, along with 3 different options to support these systems within a business location.
VoIP is the acronym used for Voice over Internet Protocol, which is the method of placing or receiving phone calls over the internet rather than a regular (analog) phone line. Many consider VoIP an alternative to using a local telephone company, however, they are also offered by local telephone companies such as Shaw or SaskTel. VoIP systems integrate many communication technologies into one unified system such as a number of audio, video, or text-based communications. It is important to note that a high-speed internet is required for VoIP to work effectively, and also will require a specialized phone system. Here are 3 options to support VoIP for your business:
1. On-Premise VoIP
On-premise VoIP means the hardware equipment is at the business location, usually in a computer equipment or server room. With this type of set up, the company owns or leases the hardware that is required. If more phones are required, an IP phone can simply be purchased to add on-site. While this gives more control over the hardware, software, and customization of features, this also requires someone in-house that can maintain and manage the system. There is a higher upfront cost to set up a VoIP system in house, however there are no reoccurring monthly fees outside of the high-speed internet required. The more users or phones that are required will make this option the most cost-effective, so it is usually mid to large sized companies that choose this option. It is also important to note that if the power fails or the hardware is down, there may be a period where no calls can come throughout without a backup plan in place.
2. Hosted VoIP
Hosted VoIP systems are connected via the internet to an offsite location where a company (host) provides communication services to multiple customers. The provider has the hardware equipment at their location, and also maintains and manages the technology required to provide the services. With the hosted server option, there are lower initial costs which only involve purchasing the IP phones and possibly making a network or router switch to ensure it is dedicated to VoIP. On top of the initial costs, there is a monthly fee associated with the service being provided. There are also usually costs associated with adding extra features or additional lines.
It’s good to keep in mind that overall system improvements are out of your control with Hosted VoIP systems, and there are limited customization options. Loss of internet is highly unlikely to interrupt your day as the calls can be sent to voicemail or mobile phones, and most off-site service providers have backup power sources and safeguards in place with 24/7 monitoring. This option is most useful for businesses with fewer employees, and new users can easily be added to the cloud phone system as needed.
3. Hybrid VoIP
Hybrid VoIP involves a combination of the above 2 solutions, usually involving a hosted system from a provider run with an on-premise server and hardware. With a hybrid system, typically existing handsets and extension lines can be connected through a VoIP gateway, which is a hardware device that converts the telephone traffic into data that can be transferred over the internet. This solution tends to offer the best of both worlds and is a great solution for companies that are ready to move to VoIP but don’t want to invest in the rewiring required to host a system. This is also a great solution for smaller businesses that want VoIP, as the company doesn’t need to manage the system itself.
With the 3 solutions listed above, it is likely that most businesses can gain access to VoIP and start experiencing the benefits. On-premise tends to be the most involved with the most customizations available, while hosted services require the least amount of work and have the highest ongoing costs, and hybrid VoIP can offer the best of both worlds! If your company is currently not using VoIP solutions for their phone services, it may be a great time to consider if this could be a good solution for offering professional voicemail options with the many benefits that can be experienced!
For the last article in this series, we will explain recording professional voicemails.
Download this resource Company Voicemails Part 2 – Options.