There are many technological advancements which have caused a fundamental shift in how business is handled over the years, some of which are more conspicuous and celebrated than others.
One which often flies under the radar, and deserves more praise than it receives as a result, is VoIP telephony and the associated computerization of all sorts of systems and solutions related to voice calls.
So what impact has this had exactly, and what makes it such a significant step forward compared with what came before?
Making communication truly global
While it’s been possible to make long distance and overseas calls for decades, until the arrival of VoIP it was neither convenient nor cost-effective to do so.
Now, companies can cultivate and cater to customers in every country, without needing a physical presence there, because it’s cheap and easy to handle all calling through computer-based phone systems and service providers.
Even small businesses can afford to spread their wings and expand their target markets without being held back by their communications budget.
Facilitating remote work
More recently, the tidal wave of remote work has rocked the world of business, and organizations have only been equipped to accommodate the needs of modern employees thanks to tech like VoIP.
For example, being able to set up a virtual phone system so that calls are forwarded to domestic landlines or employee mobile handsets, was a godsend during the height of the pandemic, and continues to empower team members today.
Improving customer service quality
Millions of people still prefer to contact companies with a phone call, and with VoIP handling this, the opportunities to enhance the experience for the end user are almost endless.
Automatic call forward means that inbound calls are never missed, and that customers get through to the right person. Voicemail transcription allows messages left by customers to be converted to text, and then attached to their profile within a CRM, meaning that queries and complaints don’t slip through the cracks. Integration with support software empowers employees and puts them in the best possible position to serve callers effectively.
Embracing scalability & flexibility
Traditional business phone systems were inherently limited because of their reliance on distinct, physical phone lines and the desktop handsets that were tethered to them. If you wanted to grow your team and cope with more calls, that meant adding more lines and more hardware to an already expensive and extensive on-site setup.
Virtual phone systems are more scalable and flexible, since they aren’t tied to copper landlines and don’t even need to be beholden to fixed endpoints.
Calls can be made and received from almost any device with a network connection, whether that’s a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, a desktop workstation or a dedicated IP phone.
Increasing the capacity of the system is simple, as the heavy lifting takes place elsewhere and modern VoIP providers can accommodate everything from tiny teams to entire call centers without breaking a sweat.
Once again this is a means of leveling the playing field and ensuring that startups and multinationals have access to the same telephony technologies.
Facilitating collaboration between colleagues
It’s not just external communication that has felt the benefit of computer-based phone systems becoming the norm.
Internal interactions among teams and across departments can take place more seamlessly and conveniently through VoIP services.
Integration with other collaboration tools is also worth mentioning here; for example, VoIP often sits alongside assets like instant messaging and video conferencing within the suite of services that are at the center of many businesses today.
Finally, companies are more resilient to disruption and disasters with digital telephony on their side. Should on-site systems be compromised, or access to the premises be prevented for whatever reason, remote access to phone services allows entire organizations to continue functioning, until normal service is restored.
For businesses that have adopted VoIP systems, it will be hard to imagine going back to a time before this changeover took place. For those that are still sitting on the fence, now is the right time to make a move, because failure to migrate will put you at a competitive disadvantage.