As we explored previously, running a business is a challenge at the best of times – and that is without factoring in the unprecedented 18 months we have all experienced because of Covid-19. Due to Covid-19 – and its seemingly sudden arrival – businesses across the globe were forced to adopt a remote working strategy practically overnight in order to keep trading. The way they chose to operate from home was fit for purpose temporarily but – with many choosing to keep an at least partial remote working team – it must be more flexible going forward.
We also briefly discussed VoIP in Microsoft Teams as the solution to most of the problems that come with the way businesses previously worked. Now, let’s take a closer look at VoIP.
The concept of VoIP
VoIP stands for Voice over internet Protocol and is also referred to as IP technology. VoIP is a phone service delivered over the internet – it allows you to make a call directly with a computer or a VoIP phone.
In business, arguably the most important thing is the bottom line. With the death of ISDN only around the corner and traditional landlines being so expensive, VoIP is a logical decision when it comes to the choice of which way to connect to your employees wherever they are. Another reason is the drastically reduced price tag – this makes it overwhelmingly attractive in comparison to traditional expensive telephone services.
Mirror the professionalism of the office setting
VoIP also allows you to mirror the professionalism that you achieve in office. Theoretically, your clients should have no idea that you are working from home, as every step of the process is the same to them, the number they call is the company number and the call is answered with the company slogan or greeting. This makes a big difference to a lot of clients; professionalism is, after all, a massive part of the service you are providing.
VoIP systems follow you wherever you go. On a traditional phone system, a telephone line that runs to a business is assigned a specific number (like your home number with a zip code followed by your unique digits) which makes any movement to remote working a tedious task when having to remember the right codes or keys to dial on your phone and allow it to show up as the office number.
A lot of time is wasted in doing this and waiting for calls to be transferred before you can commence with your working day, etc. VoIP allows for advanced service mobility too. You can have a remote working team that perhaps only work at home two days a week, and, to accommodate a team member’s busy schedule, the days they work at home change weekly, With VoIP it makes no difference when or where they work as – from the client’s perspective – they are still sitting at their desk in the office.
VoIP has small features that, when all connected, make for big improvements in comparison to traditional phone systems. VoIP allows for voicemail-to-text, for example, which are transcripts of your voicemails that are sent directly to your email inbox – allowing you to miss your call, get a voicemail and get on with your day as normal with a record of what was said to refer to later. There are many available features that seem small but all – if used correctly – can change the way you go about your day’s work.
Methodical client interaction
A lot of businesses worldwide – including some of the biggest in the world (Coca-Cola and JPMorgan Chase) – have eliminated voicemail altogether. Their reasoning for such a drastic move is that it takes far too much time. As much as this isn’t an option for everyone, with a VoIP phone system you can choose where your calls ring and how. For example, you could have the first few rings to take place to your office phone, but if you aren’t there or don’t answer due to being busy, the following rings could take place to a second device, then a third device (say a mobile phone or app), so you never need miss a phone call again!
It is true that, if not used to its full potential, when the internet stops working, so does the ability to make calls. But this doesn’t have to occur if VoIP is used correctly as call-forwarding is incredibly flexible (as we have touched on previously).
The ability to choose where your calls are forwarded to, and how, means that you also do not have to lose productivity because of unforeseen power outages and problems. If the office phone cannot be answered you can just forward them to your mobile or laptop.
Why VoIP with Teams
Undoubtedly, you know what Teams is, but just in case. Microsoft Teams is one of the best additions to Microsoft’s suite of tools – but don’t take my word for it – with over 115 million daily average users it is the most popular app of its kind ever. It is a platform designed specifically to provide businesses with the ability to communicate, collaborate, and be productive – from anywhere! Teams’ features include Chat, Teams, a Calendar, and Files; its chat-based features allow for document sharing and online meetings. It is extremely useful and has the power to revolutionise the way you work.
But why VoIP with Teams?
Using VoIP alongside Teams is a no-brainer, as, with Teams offering you the levels of collaboration, communication, and productivity that can rival any business, connecting VoIP to that will make it practically flawless.
Using VoIP effectively within your organisation will truly set you up for the future, especially with ISDN slowly on its way out (and it being mandatory to change soon), so now is the time to get ahead of the crowd and make the change.
The options and considerations
There are many VoIP options on the market and it can be hard to know what’s best for you and how to go about implementing them into your organisation.
If you already have a Microsoft 365 license you will need to purchase a ‘Microsoft 365 Business Voice license’ on top of your monthly subscription.
You will also need what is referred to as a ‘Trunk’, a Trunk provides network access to multiple users simultaneously by sharing a set of circuits, carriers, channels, or frequencies, instead of providing individual circuits or channels for each user. We at P2 provide Trunks for a set fee per every 4 users we are providing for, this fee also gets you a ‘call bundle’ to UK landlines and some UK main mobile operators also.
Once having implemented the above options, considerations around the features that enable you to use VoIP effectively need to be made, these include; options around phone handsets, headsets and laptops, and whether you want DDI (Direct Dial In), all of which can be worked out with you depending on the number of users you would like and your own requirements to provide the best service.
Ensuring remote working works for your organisation – P2 Technologies
At P2 Technologies, we’re helping professional service organisations just like yours to get ahead of their cyber concerns, meet compliance objectives and be one step ahead in this digital age. Concerns around communication, collaboration, and productivity are very common – especially when making the transition to a remote work setting. Contact our team today for a free, no obligation discovery call – during which we will learn about you and your business and allow us to discover and provide tailored advice on the best path forward for a secure and prosperous future for your organisation.