Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a phone system that uses new-age technology to help customers make affordable calls. To say it simply, VoIP utilizes your existing broadband connection in order to make and receive calls. This, in turn, making calling more affordable for you. But as a potential VoIP customer, you have to make a critical decision: am I using VoIP for business or residential purposes?
Although VoIP makes and receives calls the same way for business and residential services, there are actually a number of differences between business VoIP and residential VoIP. One of the first things you will notice is that business VoIP plans are more expensive than residential VoIP plans, but this is because of the flexiblity and mobility that makes business VoIP perfect for companies of any size. Here are some of the major differences between business VoIP and residential VoIP that you should be aware of:
1. Business VoIP has more features
Residential VoIP services are very straightforward and include a limited number of features. The most common ones included with a residential VoIP service include call blocking, call waiting, caller ID, do not disturb, e911, and voicemail. But with a business VoIP solution, you get more features that are specifically catered towards improving the productivity and efficiency of businesses. Think call management features like conference calling, conference bridge, call forwarding, call hold, and more. Or mobility features like find me/follow me, call routing, unified inbox, and mobile apps. There are even helpful training features like call recording, whisper, and barge. Check with specific providers to see what business-focused features are offered with their business VoIP plans.
2. Business VoIP accounts for more calling
One of the major differences between business and residential VoIP is overall usage and traffic. With unlimited calling plans, residential VoIP assumes that you are not using as many minutes as business VoIP. It is likely that calls from your business will include more long distance and international calls, in addition to a higher frequency of calls.
Also, please be aware of what is known as the "acceptable use policy", which basically keeps users from abusing unlimited calling plans.
3. Business VoIP is more flexible than Residential VoIP
Residential VoIP is very basic, and includes standard calling with basic features. There isn't a lot of room for customization. But business VoIP lets you add features, extensions, numbers and more. You can easily add new employees or extensions at will, or make changes in the admin portal and see your changes in real-time. Plus, business VoIP has mobility features that let employees stay connected to the phone system regardless of whether they are working from a remote location or are connecting on the go. Plus, choosing a business VoIP option like hosted VoIP or a virtual PBX gives consumers access to the cloud.
4. Business VoIP gives you extra numbers
With residential VoIP, you get the option to keep (otherwise known as "number porting") your existing number, or to choose a new number. Business VoIP also allows this, with the addition of adding virtual extensions or toll-free numbers to your service (often at an extra charge). Virtual extensions (also known as virtual numbers) are numbers that forward to another number. Virtual extensions are helpful for keeping remote employees part of the same phone system. They also help give your business a bigger presence and further expand your phone network without the need for extra phones or devices. Toll-free numbers are great options for businesses who want to give their customers the option to call them free of charge.