In our previous article Google Voice Alternative – Focusing on Small Business with Talkroute we talked about how Talkroute is becoming the preferred Google Voice alternative for small business owners and entrepreneurs. More recently, Talkroute is now becoming the preferred alternative to VoIP users nationwide!
What is VoIP?
VoIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol, or in more common terms phone service over the Internet. If you have a reasonable quality Internet connection you can get phone service delivered through your Internet connection instead of from your local phone company. Over the years this has become an increasingly popular option for small business owners and entrepreneurs who desire a phone system with the functionality of enterprise level solution. There are 100’s, if not 1000’s, of VoIP providers to choose from and all provide similar offerings. VoIP Providers boast low prices and reliable service. For many, a hosted VoIP solution seems to be the obvious choice for a small business. However, there are negatives to deploying a VoIP phone system in your business. Unfortunately, most of these issues aren’t realized until it’s too late…
VoIP Cost – The Reality
VoIP is positioned as a low cost service and an alternative to expensive on-site systems. While the monthly cost of the service is traditionally low, there are supporting costs that must be taken into account:
- ISP: VoIP requires a high quality connection between the ISP (Internet Service Provider) and your VoIP phone system. This generally results in VoIP users being required to upgrade to a faster connection and at times, a dedicated ISP for the phone system alone.
- Equipment: VoIP will not function properly with your existing phones. You will be required to purchase new IP Phones for your VoIP service. IP Phones vary greatly in price depending on the model and features your business requires.
- Infrastructure: Upgrading your ISP may not be enough. You may need to upgrade your entire network and on-site infrastructure so that your newly dedicated ISP can properly reach your phone system. This can include the purchase of but may not be limited to; routers, switches, new cable, etc
- Breaking Contracts: VoIP providers will replace your current phone service. Breaking these current contracts/agreements can be very expensive.
- On-Site Support: Most VoIP service providers (e.g. RingCentral) do not provide on-site installation and support. It will be up to you to support your phone system and troubleshoot any issues that arise. Not very technically proficient? Get ready to pay big money for private IT contractors who specialize in phone system support.
Once you factor in these additional expenses, VoIP service quickly becomes as, if not more, expensive than a traditional on-site phone system.
Above I briefly outlined the additional cost associated with having the proper infrastructure in-place for a VoIP phone system. However, it is important to understand why the additional infrastructure upgrades are a must for reliable VoIP service. Most existing infrastructure is not sufficient to support a full VoIP phone system. Most potential VoIP users will claim, “My internet is fast, I will be fine!” While this may or may not be true, “Fast internet” does not necessarily mean a satisfactory VoIP connection. Keep in mind that while your internet may seem fast to you, if you are surfing the web and your connection experiences a quality of service issue, you can simply reload the page or wait until the connection is re-established. This is not the case with VoIP. VoIP requires a constant, seamless connection to your ISP or you will experience voice quality issues. Remember, a VoIP call is happening in realtime. There is no buffering or option to wait for the connection to be re-established.
Call quality is the #1 complaint of VoIP users. Most of the time, VoIP providers are utilizing competitor internet service (e.g. AT&T) to provide their phone service. Do you really think that an ISP, who may have their own phone solution, can’t detect a competitors service and potentially downgrade the connection quality? You bet they can! This is why a dedicated ISP is generally needed for just the phone system.
VoIP is generally very reliable, your infrastructure is most likely not. But lets face it. Most small business owners simply don’t have the funds to make the upgrades that are necessary to properly support VoIP. This ultimately brings a poor reputation to the reliability of VoIP and VoIP providers are not taking responsibility by providing their clients with a realistic expectation of what is required to properly support a Hosted VoIP Phone System.
Mobility & Flexibility
While a Hosted VoIP Phone Systems allows you to install IP phones where ever an internet connection exists, they tend to leave mobile devices out in the cold. It’s true, you can take your IP phone with you and plug into any network and your phone will start working (beware that 911 calls will reference the original address you have on file) but this doesn’t allow you to be truly mobile. Over 90% of business communication is conducted via mobile devices. So why don’t traditional phone system incorporate mobile technology into their solution? While there may be no simple answer to this question, Talkroute believes in building our service around the technology that our clients already use on a daily basis and where they spend a majority of their time. There is nothing like having your business phone system in the palm of your hand and staying connected where ever you go. Need to attend a business lunch but don’t want to miss important sales calls? With Talkroute, issues like this are a thing of the past.
How is Talkroute different from traditional VoIP Phone Systems?
First and foremost, Talkroute does not utilize VoIP or an internet connection to function. Talkroute works with ANY existing phone(s) and service provider(s). There is no equipment to buy, no upgrades to make, no contracts to break, and no additional support needed. It is truly a phone system solution that can be deployed instantly and you get to enjoy the reliability of the phones and service providers you have come to trust over the years. Talkroute believes in taking the technology (e.g. mobile, home, office devices) that you are comfortable with, and making them better. Best of all, you get the same great features as those clunky hosted and on-site phone systems!
To learn more, check out this video:
“Our Coffee Shop switched from Google Voice to Talkroute. We couldn’t be happier.” -Lauren K.