Small businesses have to find ways to compete with the big box stores and companies with more resources and recognition. The best way is to stand out by developing a reputation for reliability and top-notch service. One of the keys to achieving that is by always being available and easy for your clients and customers to contact. There’s a secret weapon that small businesses can utilize to stay connected: VoIP.
The best VoIP services (it stands for voice over internet protocol, in case you were wondering) go a long way to making this possible while keeping costs low.
So what is a VoIP, exactly?
Think of it like using FaceTime or Skype but as a professional service, or as a souped-up and internet-connected version of your standard landline connection. Everything businesses need from their phone system, VoIP can do better — and often cheaper.
But, how do you know what to look for when seeking out a great VoIP service for your small business? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with a look at the best VoIPs for every kind of small business and every budgetary need.
Why does your small business need a VoIP service?
When it comes to running your business, there is perhaps nothing more fundamental to the operation than communication, from organizing your team to getting in touch with customers and clients. VoIP services provide an enhanced version of what you’d expect from a standard business phone provider. A VoIP service gives you crystal clear phone calls and video calls because you’re connected to the internet and have a digital connection that can transmit more data at faster speeds. Even better, you can typically get service from a VoIP provider at a lower price than a landline service.
That makes it ideal simply if you’re trying to communicate with other employees remotely, but it also offers so much more. Many VoIP providers offer services for small businesses that will give you toll-free numbers, automatic call recording, and even features like a switchboard feature or virtual receptionist assistant. All these capabilities make your business seem more professional to potential clients, as well as help you organize your work practices more effectively.
How does a VoIP work?
Essentially just a fancy term for making calls over your internet connection (rather than your landline or mobile network), VoIP services are simpler than you may imagine. Basically, VoIP systems connect to a server that lets you place calls to other telephone networks across your internet connection. It then converts your analog voice signal into a digital data packet by your VoIP service provider, compresses it, and transmits it over your internet connection — much like sending an email message or mp3 file. On the other end, the experience is nearly identical to placing a call over a mobile network or landline, but the cost is typically cheaper and the quality is typically better.
Why VoIP is ideal for the remote workplace
We already covered call quality and some of the additional features that you can get from a VoIP service, but there are other benefits as well. Key among them is the fact that VoIP systems can integrate seamlessly into your existing workflow. That is a big deal. Anyone who has ever been a part of an office that tries to switch over their CRM software knows just how big of a disruption it can be. The best VoIP services often offer options that allow you to use it with your existing software without any interruption.
It’s also the ideal tool for the modern workplace. As more and more companies are going remote — or staying remote after the pandemic — staying in touch with your team is as important as ever. So is making sure they have access to the tools that they need to do their job. VoIP services aren’t limited to the hard-wired connection of a landline. You’ll be able to set up conference calls and access the full suite of tools from your VoIP’s digital dashboard no matter where you’re working from.
What to look for in a small business VoIP
There are dozens of different VoIP companies out there, so it’s crucial that you know what elements you most need. The smallest of small businesses may only need a cheap landline replacement and some basic collaborative features for remote workers. Still, it’s likely you also want extra features, like being able to record calls or a virtual receptionist to handle multiple clients at once.
Avoid overpaying for services you don’t need. If your business doesn’t rely on CRMs, then you shouldn’t go out of your way to find a VoIP service that includes CRM integration. Make sure your VoIP can grow with you, such as by ensuring that you can upgrade your service as you develop. It’s good to have a business plan for the future.
Here are our top picks for a VoIP service for small businesses in 2022: