When it comes to managing business communications, many companies choose to use more than one tool on a daily basis: a landline phone and a chat or video conferencing app (such as Skype, Slack or Hangouts). The former is used to handle outbound and inbound calling, while the latter is for streamlining internal communications.
While this approach works for some businesses, there’s actually a much better solution which costs less but offers more features: a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system.
At its core, VoIP is a technology that transmits phone calls over the internet instead of the more expensive Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). VoIP saves businesses money because calls made over the internet is much cheaper compared to the traditional telephone system. However, they do more than just handle calls. VoIP phones are also equipped with advanced features not offered by ordinary video conferencing apps.
Here, we’ll list some of the most compelling reasons why a business VoIP phone system is a far better choice than a video conferencing app.
Record calls for training, collaboration or customer service
Call recording is offered by most VoIP service providers as a standard feature or as an add-on. It’s a particularly useful tool for businesses that want to improve staff performance, learn more about their customers, as well as resolve disputes. With call recording, teams can also capture accurate notes and verify details of a conversation (such as during internal calls and meetings).
Voice and video conferencing apps, however, are unable to support call recording. Skype, for instance, doesn’t offer a call recording feature although they have third-party developers that offer apps for this; while Google Voice only lets users record incoming calls but not outbounds calls or calls made or received via the Hangouts app.
Transfer calls with ease
The ability to transfer a call with ease is a must for modern businesses. Aside from making you look more professional, it also streamlines communications and helps increase customer satisfaction.
Call transfer is built into most VoIP phone solutions today. This feature makes it easy for users to transfer calls to another phone, an extension, a conference bridge, or an outside number all in a press of a button (on your phone or softkey if you use a softphone or a mobile app).
On the other hand, call transferring in voice and video messaging apps (especially free versions) is limited. An example is Viber, which only lets users switch ongoing calls between devices that share the same account and only takes place when you are near the new device. Sure you can tell the customer to call a different number, but this is extremely inconvenient and makes you look unprofessional.
In times of emergency, businesses can rely on their VoIP phone system to provide a safe and reliable means of communication. Providers such as Vonage and Jive offer a 911 Dialing service to assist users during emergencies or disasters.
With this emergency calling solution, when the user dials 911, the latter’s telephone number and physical address will automatically be forwarded to the most appropriate local emergency center so help can be deployed immediately. But customers need to register their address first with their chosen service provider. Users can register different addresses for individual extensions or for the entire account.
This service is not available in apps like Skype. In fact, Microsoft also explicitly stated that Skype isn’t a replacement for your telephone and can’t be used for emergency calling.
See who’s available
The Presence feature on business VoIP phones lets you monitor the status of your colleagues or employees. You can see who’s available, who’s on a call, or who has a call ringing. This feature is common in chat applications like Slack, Skype and Facebook Messenger (with statuses such as “available”, “away”, and “busy”) but don’t really give much insight into the availability of a user.
The Presence tool in VoIP phones is more robust as it is typically able to monitor across devices (whether the employee is using the desk phone, softphone or smartphone via a mobile app). Chat or video conferencing apps don’t have this ability, which means an employee may receive two calls at once on different devices.
For businesses that want to access the best communication and collaboration features, a business VoIP phone system is the obvious choice. Apart from the cost savings, it is loaded with a host of features not available in handy voice or video conferencing applications or the traditional landline.