Many small business owners wonder how they’ll save on phone bills without missing what their businesses need. If this is you, then take a look at VoIP phone service. Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, uses the internet to transmit voice calls, replacing traditional business phone service.

You may already use VoIP without even knowing it. Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, WeChat, FaceTime, and many other popular apps use a “light” version of VoIP services.

If you’re after enterprise-style communications features, whether your business is large or small, take a look at some of the benefits you can get from VoIP.

How Does VoIP Work?

IP phone service began when scientists working on ARPANET (what would eventually become the internet as we know it) realized they could take the human voice, turn it into data, and then send it over the same network that carried their keystrokes. With VoIP, digital signals are transmitted instantly using the internet, as data packages.

VoIP phones match the call quality and can function just like traditional landline phones. Pick up the phone, dial a number and away you go. But because VoIP combines your phone and data networks, you can get more flexibility, opportunities for collaboration and efficiency.

6 Business Benefits of VoIP

The best business benefit of VoIP is that you can typically take your business phone with you anywhere just by plugging in to a broadband connection. It’s portable, flexible and practical.

When you’re starting out with a VoIP plan, you can try out popular features like voicemail, call forwarding and electronic fax. Easily add others as your business grows. Advanced VoIP has features such as a virtual assistant to route your calls and share prerecorded information.

1. Voicemail

Access your voicemail messaging from anywhere. Internet phone service allows you to access your phone wherever you have internet access and a connection with sufficient bandwidth. 

2. Softphone

In addition to your traditional handset or headset, you have a softphone with VoIP. This software lets you use your computer or mobile device to connect with your broadband phone service.

Usually, you can take your softphone anywhere with you via a mobile app or access through a computer. This means you can easily dial calls on the go from the same work phone number using your smartphone or tablet instead. You can send calls and receive calls from a landline, mobile phone or, of course, another VoIP service.

3. Call Forwarding and Routing 

With VoIP, you can forward calls automatically to another phone or another user. Call routing allows you to create call queues and send incoming calls to different phones or to different phone extensions. 

4. Electronic Fax

Through VoIP service, you can send electronic faxes, even to old-school fax numbers and fax machines. Just like a voice call, VoIP can send a digital version of your document using the internet. 

When you receive a fax, you can generally view it through an online portal even if you’re away from the office. 

5. International Calling 

Because VoIP reduces the cost of maintaining a phone network, VoIP service providers are able to pass these savings along to subscribers through lower calling rates. Even international calls are generally significantly less expensive than traditional phone service. 

6. Virtual Assistants and Interactive Voice Response

If you’re often in the middle of something when calls come in, having a virtual voice assistant to answer with pre-recorded options can help.

A VoIP virtual assistant is an automated system that answers incoming calls. You can set up your virtual assistant to route calls to the appropriate person, give callers the opportunity to choose whom they want to reach and provide prerecorded information such as operating hours and directions. 

Saving you time, effort and money, this may be one of the most helpful advanced features that small businesses have at their disposal.

VoIP Is Different From a Regular Phone

While VoIP phones work very much like regular phones, there are some differences to be aware of. 

  • When your power is out, your phone is too

Unlike a hardwired landline, which is powered through the copper cable that transmits your voice, VoIP phones are dependent on your home’s power and internet service. 

If your router, modem or VoIP phone no longer have power, you won’t be able to make or receive calls. You’ll need to be prepared with an emergency battery backup to give you instant power for several hours.

  • It relies on good bandwidth

When your phone service depends on the internet, you’ll want to be sure you have a strong internet connection with good bandwidth

If you have data-heavy applications using your connection or if you’re downloading or uploading often, upgrading your internet connection bandwidth is probably a good idea.

  • It’s not set up for 911 emergency calls. Be sure to read carefully all warnings and cautions regarding VoIP and 911.

VoIP phone service allows you to choose your area code no matter where you are so your phone number isn’t connected to your physical location. This means that a 911 dispatcher might not know where to send emergency responders if you dial 911 using a VoIP phone. With VoIP, you have to specifically set up your 911 settings so the dispatcher has the right address. 

Getting VoIP For Your Business

Because VoIP costs less than traditional business phone service and offers more, it’s a good investment. In many ways, you get more of what you might expect an enterprise phone plan to have while paying a lot less.

VoIP can help you communicate with your customers, vendors and your team through calls, text and fax with the quality and features your business needs.