Monthly Archives: February 2018
In-House PBX+SIP Trunking vs. Hosted VoIP

What’s the Smarter Phone System Investment?

When it comes to making wise investments, organizations need to borrow a page from the consumer playbook and “get the most for the least.” This doesn’t necessarily mean getting the cheapest price. It simply means that businesses need to assess their needs, conduct marketplace research, evaluate potential solutions, and select the one that delivers the most long-term value.

However, just like consumers, sometimes businesses can mistakenly head in the other direction: getting the least for the most. And since this unfortunate fact doesn’t come to light until after a purchase decision is made, businesses in this situation are forced to absorb the excess costs or purchase a replacement. Either way, it’s costly, time consuming, risky and frustrating.

Here’s what the above has to do with business VoIP phone systems. Some businesses are led to believe that they’ll get the most for the least by purchasing a low cost in-house PBX system, and then purchasing relatively inexpensive SIP trunks (these are telephone line trunks delivered over IP using the SIP protocol, and are necessary for an in-house PBX system to function).

Yet, like some ideas that sound good in theory, this is typically NOT a wise money-saving strategy. Here are the key reasons why:

  • Deployment Costs

One of the primary cost advantages of a VoIP phone system vs. a conventional landline hosted system is that businesses can use a single voice/data network vs. purchase separate networks.

However, this is often not the case when using an on-premise PBX with SIP trunking. To prevent data network degradation— and angry end users — many businesses are obliged to purchase a separate internet connection. This can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars a year, depending on the number of users.

  • Training Costs

It goes without saying that a VoIP phone system will only generate efficiencies and advantages if people use it! However, end user training isn’t included in the on-site PBX+SIP trunking strategy. Businesses must purchase this separately from a consultant or telecommunications firm.

However, this isn’t a cost category with hosted VoIP phone systems. Training is included in the package, because a phone system that isn’t being used properly and fully isn’t an asset — it’s a liability.

  • Support Costs

Perhaps the only thing worse than having unhappy IT staff, is paying for unhappy IT staff. Yet that’s the scenario that many businesses face with on-site PBX+SIP trunking, because instead of completing the tasks in their job description, IT staff are bogged down and held back by endless support requests, software upgrades, configurations, and so on.

As such, businesses must pay higher labor costs (i.e. their IT staff is less productive and/or they must hire additional IT staff), or they must purchase a pricey maintenance contract.

With a hosted VoIP phone system, all support — including handling end user inquiries and performing system upgrades/updates — are covered by the off-site Solutions Provider. And since hosted VoIP phone system deployments use managed routers, many system configurations and changes can be made remotely when the business is closed.

  • Electricity Costs

On-site PBX systems need greater computing power, both for regular operation and for cooling. They also need larger uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units to run the system in the event of a power outage. This translates into hundreds or thousands of dollars a year in additional electricity costs.

With a hosted VoIP phone system, power requirements are minimal. Only Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches and modems/routers need power, along with a relatively smaller network of uninterrupted power supply units.

The Bottom Line

When businesses do the math and add up all of the costs of ownership — both direct and indirect — they typically arrive at a surprising conclusion: the money they expected to save by going with on-site PBX+SIP trunking is not just offset by the added expense, but eliminated. In other words: they would have achieved their goal of “getting more for less” by choosing a hosted VoIP phone system from day one!

To learn more about your options, and to get a clear and accurate understanding of the REAL costs of on-premise PBX+SIP trunking, contact the team today at (336) 560-4400. Your consultation with us is free.

Debunking 4 Myths about Cloud Business VoIP Phone Systems

Some myths in life are perfectly fine to be left as-is. For example, even the most practical of parents don’t want to be responsible for shattering their young child’s belief that Santa Claus lives in the North Pole with a tribe of friendly reindeer and elves. And what parent hasn’t silently said a “thank you” to the great soul who invented the Tooth Fairy. Seriously: is there a better bargain in the world than spending a few bucks to have a child look forward to losing a tooth vs. dread it?

voip business phone systemsHowever, there are some persistent myths that aren’t fun or functional — and like many disruptive technology-led solutions, cloud business VoIP phone systems are caught up in the misinformation net.

Fortunately, debunking these myths doesn’t take a lot of heavy lifting. It simply takes clear, basic facts. To that end, here are 4 things that you need and deserve to know about cloud business VoIP phone systems that you typically won’t hear from conventional landline phone system vendors, consultants, and other folks who have a vested interest in keeping you from the truth:

Myth #1: Cloud business VoIP phone system calling quality is inferior to a conventional landline phone system

The Truth: Cloud business VoIP phone system calling quality is actually superior to a conventional landline phone system. This is because cloud systems use certified VoIP phones that are designed to convert standard analog audio into crystal clear digital packets. The result is consistently outstanding call quality, regardless of what other users are doing on the network (e.g. sending emails, watching videos, surfing the web, and so on). Conversely, conventional landline phone systems essentially use degraded copper wire technology that was invented in the 19th century, and has not fundamentally changed in the last two centuries.

Myth #2: Cloud business VoIP phone systems aren’t suitable for startups and small businesses.

The Truth: Cloud business VoIP phone systems are ideal for startups and small businesses, because they are extremely affordable vs. conventional on-premises systems — both to setup, and to maintain. What’s more, businesses can start with less than 5 users, and scale up as required to over 5,000 users. That’s why both small startups and large enterprises are switching to cloud business VoIP phone systems. It simply makes bottom-line sense.

Myth #3: Cloud business VoIP phone systems aren’t as reliable as conventional landline systems.

The Truth: Conventional phone companies “go to the well” on this myth often in order to avoid losing customers. As you might expect, the truth is a very different story! Cloud business VoIP phone systems are actually more reliable than conventional systems, because they leverage multiple automatic backup and failover systems (learn more about these here). That’s why during brownouts and blackouts, when businesses with conventional landline phone systems cannot even get a dial tone, businesses with a cloud solution are making and receiving calls without any issue.

Myth #4: Cloud business VoIP phone systems lack solution control.

The Truth: Cloud business VoIP phone systems empower businesses with unprecedented control over all aspects of the solution via a simple-to-use web interface, which can be accessed from any computer, laptop, tablet or device — anytime, anywhere. Instead of having to “call the phone company” and wait days or weeks for a technician to make a change, businesses can easily adjust call flow rules, forward calls, add extensions, and so on.

The Bottom Line 

When it comes to making smart and successful decisions, businesses need to empower themselves with FACTS and steer clear of MYTHS. Keeping the above in mind will help you understand why a cloud business VoIP phone system makes sense — especially when it comes to your bottom line.

To learn more, contact the team today. Your consultation with us is free, and we’ll gladly provide you with a live, guided demo of our solutions and services.

4 Signs that Your Business Should Upgrade to a VoIP Phone System

voip phone systemIn life, there are signs that alert us to potential trouble — and if we’re attentive and wise, we heed these warnings and avoid bigger problems in the future.

For example, our car may be sluggish and sputtering, and pleading with us for a tune up or some preventative maintenance. And our bodies often tell us through various aches and pains that we need to dial things down and take a break — or else a break may be thrust upon us.

Now, what does this have to do with telecommunications? It’s this: businesses also receive warning signs that their conventional landline phone system is no longer supporting their success and growth — on the contrary, it’s bogging them down and pulling them back. And while these signs aren’t as blatant as a car dashboard warning light, they’re pretty easy to spot if you know what to look for.

And so, here are 4 signs to help you clearly see that it’s time (or make that past time) for your business to upgrade from a conventional landline phone system to an advanced VoIP phone system:

  1. Your telecommunications costs are much higher than they should be.

Here’s something that most people don’t know: phone companies don’t make a great deal of profit from residential customers; in fact, sometimes they even lose money. But business customers are another matter entirely! They’re nothing short of cash cows, which is why bills range from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars per month — and that’s on top of a wide range of other fees, such as for maintenance, technical support, and so on.

VoIP phone systems dramatically lower business telecommunication costs — and not just for the first year. The savings continue into the future, since there are no maintenance costs, no update or upgrade costs, no long distance costs, and adding numbers or extensions does NOT require physically adding new underground lines — which makes doing so extremely affordable.

Add up the numbers, and most businesses can expect to see a year-over-year savings of at least 40% compared to a conventional landline phone system. And it’s certainly not uncommon to realize savings of well over 50%.

  1. Your remote workers are out of the loop.

While remote working isn’t new, in the last few years it has skyrocketed. As noted by Global Workplace Analytics, 50% of the US labor force now works remotely at least 20 percent of the time. And with the rise of tablets and other mobile technology devices, these numbers will only increase in the years ahead.

The good news is businesses that enable remote working substantially reduce overhead costs — which is especially valuable and vital for startups and small businesses who don’t just want to maximize working capital, but need to in order to survive.

The bad news is that conventional phone systems typically keep remote workers on the outside looking in, which makes collaboration difficult, drains productivity and reduces customer satisfaction. That’s where VoIP enters the picture and changes the game!

With a VoIP phone system, all employees, contractors and other authorized system users are connected on a unified, centralized cloud-based platform, which they can access anytime from and any device: computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Instead of working on disconnected islands, remote workers — whether they spend 100% of their time out of the office, or occasionally work in the field or from a home office (or their favorite Starbucks!) — are always in the loop, and can effectively collaborate, communicate and contribute.

  1. You’re losing business to larger competitors.

These days, SMBs can’t afford to be perceived in the marketplace as having less capacity and credibility than their enterprise-level competitors — or else some customers will take their business elsewhere. Unfortunately, this is what happens when SMBs are saddled with an old fashioned conventional phone system, which offers little more than features that haven’t been innovative since the 1980s: call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, and so on.

Of course, this begs the question: why don’t these SMBs simply add advanced calling features? The answer is even simpler: because phone companies charge an arm and a leg (and often a few other valuable body parts as well!). Remember what we said about business customers being cash cows? This is a perfect example.

A VoIP phone system permanently eliminates this excessive cost barrier, by providing SMBs with a full range of advanced enterprise-grade calling features at no extra cost, such as: voicemail-to-email, voicemail-to-text, video calling, auto attendant, one-number service, direct-inward-dial, and the list goes on.

The end result is that a VoIP phone systems significantly helps SMBs compete with the “big boys” in their marketplace — which is critical for short-term success, and long-term survival.

  1.  Your business is located in an area where brownouts are common.

As noted by a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the nation’s aging and over-burdened utility infrastructure triggers thousands of brownouts each year. These are relatively brief — but certainly noticeable — power outages that can last for a few seconds to a few minutes.

The problem for business is that going off the grid — even for 10 seconds — can mean the difference between impressing a customer, or losing them to the competition. It can also mean critical internal communications get delayed and costly misunderstandings occur.

With a VoIP phone system, fearing brownouts are a thing of the past. That’s because the system is supported on an on-premise network of backup power systems, which immediately and automatically spring into action in the event of power loss. Even if computers and laptops can’t be turned on, users can simply access the VoIP system from their smartphone. Incoming calls from customers, partners, suppliers, vendors or anyone else continue as usual with no disruption or reputation-damaging “we’re sorry, the number you have called is not in service” recordings.

If your business is experiencing any — or possibly all — of the above, then it’s clearly time to upgrade to a VoIP phone system! To learn more, contact the team today at (336) 560-4400. Your consultation with us is free.

5 Questions to Ask Prospective VoIP Solutions Providers Before You Sign on the Dotted Line

As we have looked at previously, there are three categorically different types of VoIP business phone system companies in the marketplace: do-it-yourself mass market vendors, carrier service providers, and established VoIP Solutions Providers.

voip business phone systemClearly, you want to partner with a VoIP Solutions Provider, and steer as clear as possible from the other types of companies — because your happiness, success, ROI and shortest path to value all depend on it.

To help you make this critical choice — and filter out companies that are unworthy of your time from those that deserve your consideration — here are 5 questions to ask prospective VoIP Solutions Providers before you sign on the dotted line:

  1. Do you specialize in business VoIP phone systems?

It’s vital that any vendor on your shortlist specializes in business VoIP phone systems. It cannot be something that they “dabble in” as they focus on other product and service lines. They must be legitimate experts in the field who understand the technology inside and out, and have several years of verified experience.

  1. Are you independent and “brand agnostic”?

A qualified and experienced VoIP Solutions Provider will recommend certain technologies and brands for items such as managed routers, back-up power supplies, certified IP phones, and so on. However, these recommendations will be based on evidence and experience — not on any self-interest, ulterior motive or hidden agenda. You need to know that any advice you receive is based on what’s best for your unique business, and you’re not being pushed and prodded into buying something that you may not want or need.

  1. What is your service commitment and capacity?

The importance of this question cannot be underestimated. If you have a question, concern, issue, or simply want to learn more about a certain aspect or feature of your business VoIP phone system, you need to know that your VoIP Solutions Provider is committed to addressing your needs, and that they have the in-house capacity to provide responsive support. Instead of leaning backwards after the sale, your VoIP Solutions Provider should learn forwards to ensure that you are getting optimal value from your investment, and reaping ALL of the rewards — not just some of them!

  1. Can we see testimonials and talk to your customers?

An experienced and credible VoIP Solutions Provider will be delighted to provide you with testimonials, and connect you with customers so that you can have a private conversation (or email dialogue if you prefer) to discuss their experience. Any VoIP Solutions Provider that hesitates to provide you with “social proof” that they keep their promises should be crossed off your list.

  1. Will you help our team use the system?

Some employees love new technology and are the first to embrace it. Others can be somewhat less enthusiastic, while some can be outright resistant; not because they are anti-technology, but because change — even the positive and progressive variety — can trigger uncertainty and anxiety. It’s vital that your VoIP Solutions Provider is ready, willing and able to provide your team with the training and support they need. This includes working with employees who are not excited about or adept with technology, and who therefore need to be introduced to the VoIP phone system from a more fun and functional perspective vs. a technological one. It may also include training “super users” on your team, who serve as on-site support resources, and who facilitate routing questions and issues to your VoIP Solutions Provider. 5 for 5

voip business phone systemsAt, we proudly answer the bell on all 5 of these questions. Specifically:

  • We are recognized experts in the field with nearly 20 years of experience, which is far more than most companies in the marketplace.
  • We are 100% brand agnostic, and only provide advice and recommendations that are best for our customers — not for us or for hardware manufacturers.
  • Our commitment to service before, during and after implementation is unmatched. We don’t succeed unless and until our customers do.
  • We love sharing testimonials and recommendations from our roster of satisfied customers. Upon request, we’re also happy to connect prospective customers with existing ones, so they can have a confidential and private discussion about anything they deem necessary.
  • We know that a VoIP business phone system is only an investment if employees USE it to its full potential. We provide full training, and we have the seasoned ability to take fear, confusion and anxiety out of the experience, and replace it with clarity and confidence!

To learn more, contact the team today for a free, no obligation consultation. Our experience is your advantage!

No comments yet Categories: VoIP