So many of us take phones for granted. We need to make a call, we pick up the phone and we dial. No real thought to the costs associated with each call.
Many people are getting rid of their home land lines and using cell phones instead. While it’s tempting to do this with a small business, I think most people would find this to be a mistake. Cell phones frequently don’t get as good reception with a cell phone as they do with a landline and while that might be acceptable when talking with a friend, it can be a deal breaker when trying to close a sale with a client.
An extremely effective alternative is to use a VOIP phone. VOIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocal and basically, it uses the internet to make the call (until the very last part where it goes over the local phone line to the recipient unless they are using a VOIP phone as well).
I use the VOIP service from www.packet8.net and in the 6 years I have been with them, I can honestly say their service is wonderful. The only times I have had any problems with losing phone service is when my internet connection has gone down (which doesn’t happen much). I use a regular phone (so I’m not forced to use a microphone and headphone set) and, in fact, have it set so I have two cordless phones using the same connection. I very easily could get multiple phone lines with their service, but in my case, it’s not needed. Along with the regular phone service, it comes with voicemail, call forwarding, call waiting, three way calling and much more. I also get free calling to anyone in the US, Canada or many international cities. There are many other features available including bridge lines, virtual meetings etc.
One client I met with last year was complaining about how much everything cost and when I looked at their phone bills, we were able to switch them to VOIP and they saved over $2500 a month because they had multiple offices all within the same state but they were far enough apart they were getting billed for instate long distance when simply calling from a satellite office to the home office.
Another neat feature that I use is the ability to add virtual numbers. If you have a client in a different area who needs to call you a lot, for around $5 a month, you can get a number that is local to that client so he calls a local number and it rings in your office. It potentially can save some money but also, it’s a convenience for your clients that might separate you from your competition.
I have found it easier to only give out my VOIP number so when people call that number, the phone on my desk rings but I also have it set to forward to my cell phone so if I’m away from my desk I can still get that call.
For large offices, there are simply too many features to write about. It can do pretty much everything a large, expensive PBX system can do plus much, much more.
Again, there are other companies offering similar type services but this is one I have been with for around 6 years and I know it works and is inexpensive
Have a great day!