6 VoIP Features Your SMB Needs for Growth

article by Foster I. author
There are many necessary services that small businesses seek to utilize as they grow, but several of them may be unsuitable for their needs once they scale into larger companies.

One service that does not suffer from this issue is VoIP, or voice over internet protocol, which has several benefits that impart significant value to any growing business.

Automated Attendant

Fledgling companies often do not have the manpower to monitor the phone constantly, but with VoIP companies like Vonage that offer an automated attendant, they no longer need to. Businesses can set up a phone attendant system that guides callers through a customized process, covering all possible needs without putting a potential sale at risk.

Call Forwarding

Teams with few employees often require their people to wear multiple hats, but it is difficult to represent oneself as customer service when using the same number as HR, or sales. VoIP systems can identify incoming calls and direct callers to one of several destinations, even if they all end up in the same place – giving a 3-person team the image of a fully-fledged company with several departments.

If someone is not there to pick up, which may be the case when there are few available employees, VoIP can be programmed to forward a call to a personal smartphone after a set number of rings and to voicemail after that. For small businesses, single calls can be the difference between success or failure, and VoIP significantly reduces the impact of this potential reality.

Mobility

Growth means putting in more hours, but not all those hours need to be spent at a desk. Good for employees on the go, VoIP offers voicemail to email capabilities, putting messages left for a work line directly into the relevant email inbox as an audio file. As previously mentioned, calls can easily be forwarded to a personal phone as well if one is momentarily out of the office, with the customer none the wiser.

Flexibility

VoIP works well with any device that uses data, meaning that employees are free to use their favorite device. Businesses that are just starting out would rather use their available capital on avenues of growth rather than new equipment, so this saves precious time and money.

Call Reporting and Coaching

Mistakes are costly for new businesses, and tasks with a steep learning curve are less forgiving. VoIP enables employers to access detailed call logs and conversation reports, which easily reveal areas of improvement for each employee. Armed with this information, it is possible to use real data to set them on the right track faster. While it was once more efficient to schedule meetings to ensure all workers knew the drill, with VoIP, less effort can be spent on the group and more on the individual, and with greater results.

Also, managers that do not have time to leave their desk can drop in on employee calls to monitor how things are running. They can even speak with the employee while the customer on the other end will not hear a thing.

Scalable Infrastructure

Whereas an older phone system runs on a mess of cables twisting throughout the office, a VoIP system just needs a single internet connection. Adding a new user to a system like this is as easy as plugging in another phone and creating a username, and it costs virtually nothing. This is because a new user represents a small increase in bandwidth, nothing more. Services like Vonage are built to scale, making it easy to add anywhere from a single employee to an entire division to your plan with the click of a button.

Simple Integration and Minimal Support Required

While technology offers a variety of benefits, SMBs are faced with the need to keep everything streamlined and unified. Land-based systems can throw a wrench in those plans by forcing companies to have separate systems to handle calling and customer support. VoIP, on the other hand, can oftentimes integrate directly into many CRM and ERP software suites, allowing for easy cross-functionality and excellent tools that can improve customer service and intra-office communications.

Small businesses have less manpower than big corporations, and when problems arise, it’s usually a much larger drain on productivity. In the case of an issue arising with any office’s systems, one employee tied up in customer support reduces efficiency in a small business significantly more than it would for a big one.

VoIP reduces the need for an IT department, and keeps employees busy with work rather than tinkering. How? Modern VoIP companies have a plethora of ways to immediately address the needs of any client, no matter their size. Concerns about customization, setup and more can be addressed remotely via a web interface or 24/7 customer support.  Due to the fact that everything is done via a single internet connection, there is never a need for a technician to visit the office (or to keep one on staff). Thanks to these advances, more effort can be expended on growth rather than tying loose ends.

SMBs need all the help they can get when they are trying to accomplish explosive growth. Shackling themselves to an outdated and expensive system can hamper them in the long run by forcing them into paying more for things that are really unnecessary when they main concern should be investing in the processes and functions that do matter. To find the best VoIP, all that is required is to do some cursory research or read a few VoIP reviews to find the best fit for any company, no matter the size.