At its best, a business voice service uses a communications platform that is integrated with carrier-grade phone systems and call center functionality to handle all incoming and outgoing calls, SMS messages, web chat, and email. At its worst, a business voice service is a confusing collection of random systems that don’t speak with each other and frustrate users on both ends. This dichotomy of services is important to distinguish because they can make or break your business’ communication abilities and, ultimately, your bottom line.
When it’s time to choose which type of business voice service is the best fit for your needs, there are four main options from which to choose. Let’s review the pros and cons of each type of business voice service to give you a clearer picture of what they offer, as well as their limitations.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has become very popular recently because it uses the internet for voice services.
- Mobile functionality means office phone calls can be forwarded directly to mobile phones and calls made from mobile phones will appear to be from the office line.
- Instant messaging for communicating with customers is just as convenient as it is effective.
- Third-party integrations with other software and apps (such as CRM) streamlines the process.
- Scalability allows for the seamless installation of more lines without having to upgrade hardware.
- Cost of setup, equipment, and minutes are based per user, not per line, which tends to make it quite affordable.
- Transition costs may not be effective if landlines are already installed.
- There is less reliability if there is poor internet connectivity.
- Susceptible to malware or viruses since the system is all online, although this isn’t very common.
Landlines are the traditional, installed, copper-wired connections that have been around for over a century.
- Reliability is usually higher since it doesn’t need internet connections.
- Lower upfront costs are required with pre-existing wires and systems.
- A higher level of privacy can be expected.
- Added costs for each type of service (caller ID, etc.) plus taxes and fees make it expensive.
- It can be weather-dependent, making the lines go down.
- Service problems are becoming the norm as upkeep focuses more on internet lines than old networks.
3. Cloud Communications
Cloud Communications involves a voice and data network with managed solutions and on-site SBC deployment. It’s designed to avoid fragmented communication, broken processes, poor teamwork, and lost productivity.
- Cost effectiveness comes from cheap and easy installation with little required support.
- Plug and play anywhere there is an ethernet port.
- Professional call routing uses auto attendants that can ring multiple phones, add call queues, and make easy changes.
- Easily integrate business apps with files, emails, calendar items, content sharing, and chat.
- Enhanced video conferencing features HD voice/video and screen sharing.
- High scalability and specializations are available for growing businesses that need extreme flexibility and consistency.
- Pay as you go is perfect for small-scale or short-term projects.
- Service outages are possible.
- Security and privacy is always a risk with online communications.
- You may have limited control since a service provider owns, manages, and monitors the cloud infrastructure.
- Vendor lock-in is real, even when there are gaps in service or data vulnerabilities and exposures.
4. Contact Centers
- Analytics enables a deep view into customer interactions, agent performance, and quality management.
- Predictive routing gets customers connected quickly to the optimal agent.
- Workforce management uses historical data to automatically and optimally schedule employees.
- There is continuity between voice, email, chat, and social media with managers, agents, and customers.
- You’ll get improved outcomes from a reduction of call abandonment rates, an increase in resolved issues, more satisfied customers, higher sales conversions, and greater revenues.
- Extra costs are possible with fees, premium licenses, and the transition investment.
- The quality of voice and speed depends on the quality of the internet connection.
- Not all applications and software will integrate.
- Security depends on the provider.
Ultimately, you will need to apply your unique situation to whatever platform you choose. That’s why getting a business voice service communications platform that most closely meets your needs is so beneficial.
If you want more personalized help in choosing which option is best for your business, contact our team of experts at FirstDigital!