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Written by
Katy Ratican
21 Mar 2022
4 minutes

What is VoIP? | Your business guide to a VoIP phone system

Looking for a VoIP phone system for your business? Here’s everything you need to know
What is VoIP phone system

Traditional phone systems bind you to your desk. Mobile phone numbers limit you to a device. A VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system, on the other hand, frees you from both. If you’re considering it, here are the answers to all your questions including the advantages and disadvantages of a VoIP phone system.

What is a VoIP phone system?

Also called IP telephony, internet calling or internet telephony, the VoIP phone system is the digital alternative to the traditional phone systems. It uses the internet to make phone calls as opposed to traditional landlines. A VoIP phone system is based in the cloud, which gives you the freedom to use it from anywhere.

With VoIP for business, you can manage one or several phone numbers, all working over internet connections. Instead of hardware, you’ll have to download an app to make and receive calls.

How do VoIP phone systems work?

Traditional phone systems use specific physical paths from your number to the recipient’s number. A VoIP phone system works differently by converting audio into digital packets. When you make a call, the voice is compressed and converted by ‘codecs’ into these packets and transferred over the internet.

The digital packets are transferred via RTP (Real-Time Transport Protocol) or SRTP (Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol). The latter is an encrypted and, therefore, a more secure option than the former.

Once the data packets reach the destination, they’re immediately decompressed and decoded by codecs. Now they’re back to being audio signals, which the recipient would be able to hear.

What are the advantages of using a VoIP phone system?

VoIP systems, especially non-fixed VoIP phones, offer significant advantages to businesses.

Lower costs

If you go for a traditional phone system, you need to buy devices and a PBX (private branch exchange) if you want additional functionalities. Businesses will also have to pay for installation and maintenance. Moreover, the calling charges are higher.

With a VoIP phone system, you don’t have to pay for expensive hardware. Once you download the app, you can use it on your connected devices. The monthly fees are also considerably lower than traditional phone lines. Plus, there are no maintenance costs for VoIP for business.

Scalability

One of the biggest disadvantages of legacy phone lines is limited scalability. If you want to add additional phone numbers, you have to incur expenses on hardware and its associated maintenance.

A VoIP phone system can grow with your business. You can easily add lines during holiday seasons or when you expect more calls to come in. If you’re opening a branch, you can integrate it effortlessly into your VoIP for business.

Portability

The fact that you can use a VoIP phone system from anywhere makes it the ideal companion for remote work. Unlike a traditional phone system, you don’t have to worry about relocating your hardware or getting another number.

VoIP for business lets you route calls to remotely placed team members or receive voicemails through email. You and your employees can be working from home or travelling and still be accessible at all times.

What are the disadvantages of using a VoIP phone system?

Dependent on your internet connection

A VoIP phone system is as reliable as its internet connection. With unsteady connections, the service will be undependable. For remotely placed teams, this can be a problem since no business can guarantee the stability of their employees’ internet bandwidth.

Latency and jitter

When there is a delay or wrongful reassembly of digital packets, there will be latency and jitter in the network. These will lead to interrupted phone conversations. Since it’s dependent on internet connections, sometimes the problem could be due to suboptimal routing of traffic. So, poor-quality audio could be due to reasons beyond your control.

Top features of a VoIP phone system: Are they enough for business use?

With VoIP, you get the freedom to choose from toll-free and local numbers. With some VoIP services, you might also get enhanced features such as auto-attendant, call queuing and texting. These will make your business seem familiar, customer-friendly and professional.

It doesn’t require any new device and comes with low monthly fees. Those cost savings can be compelling for small businesses.

But the unreliable audio quality of VoIP phone systems can turn into unsatisfactory customer experiences. If customers can’t get through to you or can’t register their complaints due to interruptions, your business will come across as unreliable and unprofessional.

There are also serious security issues associated with VoIP. It also suffers from poor customer support and complex pricing methods. Finally, most VoIP systems don’t offer all the enhanced features with their basic packages.

Chalkboard: A second number alternative to VoIP

Understanding the vulnerabilities of VoIP, Chalkboard uses cellular networks to give you an advanced virtual number. It’s exceptionally affordable, comes with all the advantages of VoIP and offers you more features. With Chalkboard, you can:

  • Organise your contacts

  • Broadcast messages to groups

  • Use auto-reply for missed calls

  • Automatically send review requests to customers

  • Use enhanced chat for conversational marketing

Download this virtual number plus marketing tool using the following steps:

  • Download Chalkboard for a free trial

  • Choose your new second number (UK mobile or US local number)

  • Import your customer contacts or add them directly

  • Start making and receiving calls

Download Chalkboard and start your free trial. When it comes to virtual numbers, it's the one made especially for the needs of small businesses.

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