In the spirit of tech disruption, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) appears to be the uber of phone calls even though it has been around much longer than the popular ride-hailing company. Moreso, it is growing by leaps and bounds. Yahoo! Finance, recently projected that the VoIP market would grow at a CAGR of 13.4% for the next five years. Market growth means the market could be worth more than $30 billion by 2025.
What makes VoIP possible is IP telephony, which facilitates communication between two or more parties via packets of data. Businesses use it to handle corporate communications.
Transmitting calls over the internet, rather than through Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) lines, is cheaper (even usually free) and more versatile amidst other benefits of IP telephony. VoIP facilitates better collaboration among employees and also ensures better customer service.
VoIP and Omnichannel Communication
The major selling points of omnichannel (or unified) are uniformity and continuity. This age of the internet has made it possible for people to access the internet through various devices. It is not uncommon to find one person using different internet-enabled devices in the form of phones, computers, smartwatches, and other ‘smart things.’ Therefore, businesses must choose an efficient communication process across these different channels.
Likewise, businesses are making more remote work options available to employees. In association with remote working, communication and collaboration can be a real problem. With VoIP in industry, they can effectively bridge this gap and also increase the productivity of your remote staff.
It takes multichannel communication notches higher, by not only making it possible to reach customers across different channels but also creating a consistent experience. “True omnichannel support ensures seamless transitions and consistent experiences from one channel to the next.” It is this consistency irrespective of interaction point that is omnichannel communication, which puts the customer at the center of a company’s communication strategy.
When looking to upgrade their communications strategy to make it more unified, companies usually build on VoIP as a foundation. Then, as resources allow, they may expand with other features. Expanded features often confuses people. Adopting VoIP itself does not make communications more omnichannel in nature.
Many VoIP systems such as only offer phone calling features, though others may go extra with instant messaging and video conferencing. However, we are still dealing with one major channel of communication.
True omnichannel communication is far more extensive, covering emails, texting, social media, voice mail, etc. Sometimes, these channels may all exist on the same platform i.e. Unified Communication-as-a-Service, or they may be dispersed, but the experience is always uniform.
Migrating to VoIP
Migrating to VoIP is not a small project, but does not have to be challenging. It is not just some kind of nice add-on that you just install into your system. Voice over is something that revolutionizes your communications, internal and external. Also, you are not just taking on VoIP, you are adapting it to other channels to create a balanced experience across the board, particularly for your customers. Moreso, it is necessary for businesses to choose VoIP softphones over desktop phones to provide seamless communication across different channels.
Therefore, migrating to this IP telephony system involves determining your needs and goals, assessing your resources and budget, choosing a provider, etc. Each of these requires the utmost attention. We take a close insight into how each of these affects your choice of migrating to VoIP.
Determine your needs and goals
When determining your needs and goals is an obvious first step. Are you adopting it because it is a fad? Or there are genuine problems in your company that you want to solve. In a report by McKinsey, over 70% of companies who have adopted digital transformation failed because they couldn’t ascertain the need. There are many benefits to using a VoIP service, including cost-savings, improved efficiency, etc.
For omnichannel communications, VoIP for enhanced customer experience should be your priority. Then work with a service provider to design a solution that would enable your company to achieve its goals.
Assess your resources and budget
You should test your resources to determine if you have the network capacity and the infrastructure needed to support a VoIP system. Depending on your assessment, you may need more bandwidth, updated, or new equipment, etc. All these are important to ensure that the system runs smoothly once installed.
As you consider this, there is also the factor of cost. Apart from the cost of purchase and installation, you cannot avoid incurring running costs in the form of maintenance and the likes.
Most VoIP service providers have flexible plans and scalable systems, which can be easily adjusted to meet future demands, aligning with the company’s growth.
Choose a provider
There are so many VoIP service providers, each with flexible, attractive plans. So, there is a lot of indecision when choosing. It is easy to say you should choose one that matches your needs and has plans that fit your budget.
After ascertaining the critical need for migration to VoIP, the next question is, how do you know the right VoIP?
In answering this, some factors listed below can be used as a checklist while in the searching stage.
VoIP is for making calls; nothing else matters if the call quality is poor. To determine this, you might have to test the service before you make a final decision. Likewise, read reviews of other people to determine whether the provider’s delivery is satisfactory.
VoIP companies use a cloud PBX (private branch exchange) system to handle calls over the cloud. This can be hosted or managed. A hosted cloud PBX is completely managed off-site and carries the advantage of lower costs. Managed PBXs are located on-site but maintained by the service provider.
Features and Pricing:
these two often go hand in hand. Consider the various features available for each plan and see if they match your goals and budget. With the top VoIP service providers, you would get most of the basic and important features for a decent price.
a good VoIP service provider must take security seriously. Information passed through the internet is susceptible to breaches in various ways. Research the security systems in place to protect your data and privacy. There must be a strong high-level end-to-end encryption. Also enrolling your employees for training such as SAP Certification in the Cloud can further give them more knowledge as to cloud security on VoIP.
Reliability and support:
how does the provider fix issues with service delivery? Can you rest assured of a quality service every time? It is advisable to talk to a provider about their customer support before patronizing them.
Should you switch to VoIP? For a system that has made companies more productive, I guess the answer is obvious. The switch to VOIP is not a decision to be made on a whim. It is a decision that will have a significant impact on your company.
Fortunately, IP telephony is scalable, which means you can easily make adjustments to match your enterprise’s growth.