Dealing with things we don’t understand can feel uncomfortable. The first time eating sushi, for instance, can be downright awkward and overwhelming to people used to burgers and fries. But if we’re open-minded and give that raw fish a try, we discover it is delicious and far healthier for us than many fast foods.
Why do I mention sushi in a blog post about hosted phone systems?
Because many business owners would rather stick with something familiar, either an on-premise private branch exchange (PBX) system or traditional landline telephone than try something new, like a hosted PBX phone system. But if you’re open-minded, you may end up reaping many benefits with a hosted phone system.
In case you’re wondering what exactly a hosted PBX phone system is, it’s a cloud-based phone system where the vendor houses the equipment and technology necessary for the voice communications. This lessens the workload of an organization’s team members because setup, maintenance, and upgrades are all handled by the vendor.
Now let’s take a look at some of the other benefits:
1. Cost Savings
Research has shown that an organization can save an average of 40% on local calls alone. A small business with 30 phone lines could end up saving $1,200 per month. Do a lot of international calling? You’re apt to save up to 90%. Not too shabby.
2. Flexibility and Scalability
Here’s a common analog phone scenario:
You need to add a couple more phone lines to accommodate some new hires. Should be quick and easy, right? Nope. You usually have to spend time on the phone with customer service first, then wait for an available appointment to schedule an installation. It could be days or even weeks before your new phone lines are up and running.
Talk about frustrating.
With a hosted phone system you can add phone lines easily and within minutes. The flexibility and scalability of hosted VoIP are particularly ideal for organizations with seasonal fluctuations in staffing or companies experiencing fast growth.
3. Robust Add-on Features
Add-on features also tend to be flexible with hosted phone systems. This is really convenient, because a startup may need only minimum features while a larger, more-established enterprise may need more features for more integrated communications.
Some hosted phone system add-on features include:
- Interactive Voice Recognition
- Remote Management
- Video Chat and Teleconferencing
4. Contact Center Benefits
Does your business conduct customer service over the phone? Hosted VoIP is perfect for the needs of any call center, no matter the size. Your reps will appreciate:
- Unified communications (UC): Communicate with customers how they want, either phone, chat, email, video and more…
- Reporting and monitoring: Get access to the insights and metrics that will help you make more informed decisions.
- Interactive voice recognition (IVR): Push-button phone trees are frustrating to customers who need help NOW. IVR lets customers speak their needs so can they get to the right person in a timely fashion.
- Smarter call routing: Hosted systems allow for greater flexibility when it comes to routing so you can optimize the number of calls a rep receives based on skills and training.
One of the biggest benefits organizations gain by switching to a hosted VoIP system is mobility. Depending on your vendor and configuration, you can have phone calls ring simultaneously to both desk and mobile phones. You can also unlock mobile call transferring, or enable mobile failover in the rare case your internet goes down.
Is a Hosted Phone System Right for Your Business?
You just read some of the numerous benefits of a hosted VoIP phone system, including cost savings, scalability and mobility. Are you wondering if this technology would be a good fit for your business?
To help you make the best decision, here are some things to consider:
1. Do you Use Public Internet Connectivity?
Hosted communication requires robust infrastructure. If you are currently communicating over public internet connectivity, also known as “over the top” connections, you will not get the same quality of service. This can result in drops in call quality during periods of peak demand. You may also experience service outages from time to time.
If you’re considering a hosted phone system, understand that you will benefit greatly by upgrading to fiber-optic internet connectivity. So you will have to determine if this upgrade is currently in your budget.
2. How Much Long-Distance and/or International Calling Do You Do?
The more long-distance or international calling your business does, the more it makes sense to switch to a hosted VoIP system. Remember the bit of data we mentioned up top: most businesses with international calling needs can save as much as 90% with a hosted system. While some traditional phone vendors appear to offer good deals, they typically don’t stand up to the flat, transparent fees offered by cloud-hosted vendors.
3. How Many Employees Do You Have?
In almost all cases, organizations with 50 or less employees will experience immediate cost savings switching from an on-premises system to a hosted VoIP system.
4. How is Your In-House Tech/VoIP Expertise?
If you’re thinking about switching to an on-premise VoIP system instead of hosted VoIP system, ask yourself if your IT department can handle the extra workload. Does your IT person (people) know enough about the technology and equipment? Will they be able to monitor call quality and information security factors on weekends? If you go the on-premise route, will you create a talent shortage in your IT department and be forced to pull people away from other important tasks and projects?
If you can’t afford to spread your IT department too thin, a hosted solution may be the better way to go.
5. How Much Customization Do You Require?
When it comes to business communication needs, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But some organizations require more customization than others.
Do you have intensive contact center needs? Do you require sophisticated call routing options? Do some of your reps work remotely? Is your CRM system a bit outdated but you still need it to fit into your VoIP solution seamlessly?
If you answered yes to any of these questions but recognize your in-house IT department may not be equipped to handle these customizations, consider a hosted system instead. The right vendor will be able to offer complete customization to fit your particular communication needs.
Do you still have questions about whether a hosted phone system is right for your business? Give us a call. Evolve IP’s Gartner-noted unified communications solution provides enterprises with crystal clear voice services, award-winning business collaboration tools like video, chat, web conferencing, and screen sharing, and best-of-breed handsets and softphones. But best of all, these features work seamlessly with the business applications your business already uses today.
Get in touch with us and start saving money.