Can your business afford phone service interruptions?
Phone lines are a basic requirement of operating any business. Even in the digital age, it’s still the best way to service your clients, so you should choose your phone service carefully. Here are a few things to think about when selecting a service for your business.
Nobody wants to imagine their clients being unable to reach them at a critical moment or a call failing in the middle of a meeting. Lost or dropped calls reflect poorly on your business.
Having grown up using traditional landlines, most of us have become conditioned to believe our phone lines will never fail. And in the case of landline phone service, that would be pretty accurate — landlines work effectively 99.9999% of the time.
It’s a bit of a different story in the world of Internet-based phone service, or VoIP, as it’s known. If your Internet service fails for any reason or the power goes out, you’ll be without access to your phones. You should plan to deal with at least a little downtime with any VoIP service.
For any business, the bottom line is always an important consideration. Every business owner is looking for opportunities to shave dollars off their operating expenses and phone service is often a popular place to start.
There are a wide range of VoIP services on the market and many of them cost less than a traditional land line. But because phones are the primary way your customers reach you, it’s important to factor in the opportunity cost that may result from any downtime you experience.
Service and support
If you ever encounter difficulties with your phone service, it’s imperative you get back up and running quickly — even a little downtime can have a negative impact on your business. So it’s worth giving serious thought to the kind of support your service provider will be able to offer.
With an infrastructure built and tested over decades, landline service is far less likely to experience difficulties. And if you ever have an issue, they have the resources and personnel to respond quickly to problems.
VoIP providers can vary wildly in the amount and quality of help they are equipped to offer and problems are often affected by third party equipment they are not capable of supporting.
Typically, VoIP providers only provide small business customers with the connectivity equipment, such as an ATA device. The customer is expected to manage network setup, connectivity and router setup themselves, which can be a challenge if you’re not technically inclined.
Being able to hear your clients clearly should not be taken for granted. Missing important information can lead to costly mistakes or damage client relationships. The call quality of landlines is consistently very good and is generally a non-issue for users.
In the case of VoIP, call quality is dependent upon your bandwidth, routing equipment and how it’s all configured. It can range from very good to very poor, depending on your individual setup. For example, it is typically advised that you dedicate a portion of your bandwidth to your VoIP connection, otherwise, you could experience choppy, dropped calls. The last thing you want is to miss a critical call because you’re uploading a document.
The decision really comes down to reliability versus cost. If you value reliability, then landline is clearly your choice, but if you think the potential cost-savings offset the risk of downtime, then VoIP might be right for you. Every business is different, so you should determine what is most important to your business and choose accordingly.