Many small businesses have switched to VoIP in search of better scalability and better reliability. In a study from 2014, those were the top two features that drove the VoIP purchase decisions and 57% of these were first time VoIP buyers.
When they were asked why they chose VoIP, the top reasons for greater reliability and to make it easier to scale the business. Around 31% were still using landlines before the switch, but 13% had already adapted to the new mobile world, relying percent exclusively on their mobile phones as the backbone of their business communication network.
The View on VoIP
There’s no question that VoIP has some cost advantages over old-world telephone systems.
It’s estimated that there will be around 1 billion VoIP customers by the end of this year. PC world did a study that found VoIP became a cost-savings engine after adding 40 phone users or more.
On review sites, buyers unhappy with the deliverables, in terms of voice quality, complexity and price, have been vocal about what they needed.
When your read Quality of Service (QoS) reviews for VoIP providers, it refers to how close the quality of the voice component comes to what people have come to expect from landline phones. The QoS reflects the amount of delays, static, random noises and echoes as a percentage of completed calls.
To maintain the highest QoS, business VoIP providers must provide excellent bandwidth availability, the most current telecom hardware, and the fastest processors in their servers. If not, calls fade in and out or drop completely, which can be devastating for a business.
That’s one of the reasons why VoIP makes more sense for larger enterprises, where the VoIP service is hosted either in the cloud or on dedicated enterprise level servers. In contrast, the low-cost and free VoIP services like Skype and Google Voice can be serviceable for smaller companies, but their servers tend to get overburdened by unpredictable spikes in usage, leading to spotty QoS.
Another issue that recurs on VoIP customer service lines is that often businesses find that some incoming calls are being lost. This is related to the complexity of setup and maintenance. For example, if voicemail isn’t set up correctly in the VoIP account, the provider will have no routing address for the calls and they will simply drop. Callers might hear a fast busy signal or “Call cannot be completed as dialed.”
To counter the situation, some VoIP providers have a feature called "Call Forwarding upon the Loss of Registration" which you specify a new number if there is a loss of connectivity or it can’t find your voicemail setup.
The fact is that spotty or lost calls could result any time an applications that shares bandwidth with your VoIP connection takes up too many cycles and interferes with standard operations. You will need to constantly have processes in place to check for malware, run a routine that looks for packet loss, and search for higher bandwidth options from your Internet provider.
A Different Option
A new model is emerging for small companies of 20 or less employees. It carries all the advantages of VoIP, such as easy scalability, a web-based interface for self-service modifications and PBX-like features. At the same time, it has much more steady QoS because the major mobile networks and carriers provide the service.
AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are all offering their own alternatives to business VoIP, sometimes referred to as HD Voice.
Application over the top can deliver PBX grade features while mantaining crystal clear voice quality.
At Spoke, we make it possible to convert your employee devices into a virtual business phone system, just by downloading an app. Spoke offer business VoIP features like call forwarding, hunt groups, porting in existing numbers and intelligent presence built in. Spoke provides both team members and the company with first-class mobile security management.
Spoke also solves the scaling problem effortlessly. Whenever you hire new team members, just send them a link to the app. No add/delete/move, no IT involvement, no worries. To see if Spoke is right for your business, check out our features page or try our free trial, no risk, no obligation.