5 Benefits of Hosted VoIP for SMBs

Posted on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 @ 01:32 PM by Carlos Lahrssen

VoIP systems can benefit SMBs in more ways than you might think.50 percent of medium-sized businesses deemed VoIP as “mission critical” to business operations in 2010, according to AMI’s 2010 VoIP Update – U.S. SMB Market report

Lower costs, flexibility for a mobile workforce, and advanced features are a few reasons businesses have already opted for hosted VoIP technology. Need more incentive to move to hosted VoIP for your SMB? Following are our top 5 business benefits:

1.  Competitive Cost

When comparing your current communications technology to on-premise and hosted VoIP solutions, consider the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the complete system, including:

    • Hardware and infrastructure, such as phones, PBX, servers, switches, routers, firewalls and more.
    • Network, bandwidth and lines. As your business scales, hosted VoIP give you flexibility for costs of adding or removing users.
    • Usage and license fees. Pay for only what you use, and benefit from the economies of scale that hosted solution providers offer.
    • Support and maintenance. Compare the costs of IT maintenance, as well as incoming call management—can a hosted VoIP system outweigh the costs and benefits of a receptionist?

With a hosted VoIP solution, SMBs benefit from the most reliable technology, service, and support included in monthly subscription charges.

2.  Backend Technology Management

Once phones are installed and/or connected to your hosted VoIP solution, your service provider handles all technology maintenance and support—as outlined in your terms of service agreements. This includes licensing, installation, software and hardware updates, ensuring uptime, and more. There are no costs associated with Moves, Adds or Changes (MACs).

As we do for our clients, many providers will also train your staff to use all the features of your businesses hosted VoIP solution, and train an in-house “expert” to troubleshoot minor or common issues businesses can experience.

3.  Enterprise-Level Communications Features

Give your SMB access to communications features that enable the same level of professionalism and efficiency as a global corporation. For example:

    • Incoming Call Management: Maximize efficiency of inbound calls by using a hosted VoIP system to answer calls while already on the phone, screen or park calls received, route calls based availability, and more.
    • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and/or Auto Attendant: Greet callers with information and options to effectively direct the call to its appropriate recipient.
    • Local and International Phone Numbers: Make your business appear larger with local and international (virtual) lines.
    • Find-Me-Follow-Me: Let employees go mobile without sacrificing the benefits of office phone systems—integrate mobile phones into your hosted VoIP solution for seamless call jumps.
    • Meet-Me Conferencing: Connect with colleagues and clients, wherever they may be, with advanced scheduled conferencing in real-time or recorded for a later time with web conferencing for VoIP.

4.  Interoperability: Systems that Work Together

Integrate a hosted VoIP solution seamlessly within your business’ existing network, phone systems and business software. Moving to a cloud-based or hosted VoIP solution enables SMBs to scale technologies with business growth.

When evaluating potential communications technologies, know what assets you already have in place, and ask providers how these components will integrate within the hosted PBX solution. Also, be sure to find a provider who asks about your current, short- and long-term business goals—your hosted VoIP solution should be equipped to impact current business and roll into technology upgrades.

5.  Built-In Reliability and Redundancy

Hosted VoIP provides the advantages of enterprise-level redundancies and disaster recovery (DR) planning that a small or medium-sized business could not afford on its own.

A common concern for any business is that all will be lost (email, web browsing, web conferences, and IP phones) when or if the Internet fails. What businesses may not realize is that some hosted VoIP solutions offer out-of-service conditions (OOS), which transfer calls directly to a professional’s mobile phone during Internet or power downtime.

Ensure potential communications providers outline promised uptime, backup and DR protocols, and ramifications if uptime is unmet, within detailed service level agreements. For example, Nexogy’s customers experience an average 99.99% uptime.

Final Thoughts

As the benefits become harder to ignore, more SMBs are moving toward hosted VoIP solutions, and seeing real business results and impact.

What are the benefits your business has realized from its hosted VoIP solution? Please share in the comments below.     

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About the Author

Carlos Lahrssen
Carlos Lahrssen
Carlos Lahrssen is president and CEO of nexogy, as well as founder, president and CEO of LD Telecommunications, Inc., nexogy’s parent company. Lahrssen is an industry fan, follower and advocate — stay...read more