When you can’t meet in person, a phone call is the next best option. With texts and emails, you miss a lot of the communication conducted through tone of voice. And while these communication methods are highly popular, many businesses still find voice communications relevant and important.
If you’ve put off getting a phone system for your business because of the expense and installation hassles, you’re in luck. A new breed of phone service is available for businesses like yours and it’s affordable and easy. Really!
What Is a Cloud-Based Phone System?
Here is what you need to know: a cloud-based system is a phone system that uses your internet connection instead of traditional phone wires or cellular services. This is valuable for a number of reasons.
How Is a Cloud Phone System Different From Traditional Phone Systems?
Traditional phone systems have consistently relied on hardware that is expensive, outdated, and not always easy to acquire. Meanwhile, cloud-based systems rely only on the infrastructure of the Internet and minimal hardware (such as the phones themselves).
Related: What Business Communication Services Are Essential for Your Business?
Cloud phone systems, which are also known as voice-over Internet provider systems – or VoIP systems – take away much of the need for purchasing old-fashioned hardware. As long as you have an Internet connection and a desired endpoint (a traditional desk phone, software in your browser, or an app on your cell phone) you will be able to set up a cloud phone system.
How Well Does the Call Quality Hold Up?
In the early days of VoIP, call quality was low. Cloud-based systems could not necessarily be relied upon to perform as expected. However, that has all changed now. High-speed broadband connections are extremely common, and this means that the phone calls are better able to be made over a VoIP system. VoIP systems are now touted for their strong call quality and for providing their users with the kind of crystal-clear audio that they have been looking for.
Can You Use a Cloud Phone Service on Your Cell Phone?
With the on-the-go nature of business nowadays, a mobile experience for cloud phone services is key. Some providers even offer an app to make using your cell phone easier. The app shows the person you are calling your business phone number instead of your personal one. This makes it easy for your employees to answer work calls on their personal cell phones, and your clients can’t tell the difference.
Can a Cloud System Grow As My Business Grows?
Yes! One of the best attributes of a cloud-based system is the fact that it provides extra capacity as you grow your business. The system may be used at a scale that is as small as a one-person operation, or as large as hundreds or even thousands of employees all on the same system.
Traditional phone systems lag behind cloud systems because you will likely need an entire in-house IT team or outsourced technician to fix even the most minor issue that can come up. With a cloud-based system, you can always contact your provider in the event of any technological hiccups.
With a cloud-based system, an administrator just needs to use the admin panel. From there, they can add anything they’d like. No on-site maintenance is needed.
Finally, you may want to consider a cloud-based system simply because it can add an extra layer of legitimacy to your business. Such a system makes your business appear larger than it really is in some cases, and that may encourage some prospective business partners to give you a second look.
What Are the Benefits of a Cloud Phone System?
Investments in your small business pay off in many ways down the line. Cloud phone systems provide numerous upsides including:
- Presents your business as “professional”: As previously mentioned, most customers prefer to deal with companies that seem established. They feel that this helps keep them protected and that the company they are doing business with is legitimate and above board. A cloud-based phone system can help add to that feeling in the minds of many customers.
- Nearly eliminates maintenance: You won’t need an entire IT department or specialized skills to help fix any issues that may come up. Rather, you can rely on your provider to perform updates automatically.
- Allows you to add or remove locations and users on demand: When you use a landline, as your business grows, you need to add more phones, and you might even need to add phone outlets throughout your physical location. And when people leave and you don’t replace them, you’re often stuck paying for lines you don’t need. With VoIP, you can add and remove locations and users straight from your portal with no technicians or equipment required. You are always paying for exactly what you need.
- Includes all of the business features you need: Do you need audio and video conferencing? Do you want a phone system that can send SMS texting or convert a voicemail to email? A cloud system can handle that and more so you can enjoy truly enterprise-like voice features.
- Offers mobility: A business landline keeps you chained to your office or business space. With a cloud phone system, an app makes it a snap to take customer calls anywhere you roam.
Some benefits are more important to certain business owners than others. As your business grows, you may also find you want to invest in the more advanced features cloud phone systems offer. No matter which system you choose, you can rest assured knowing your cloud phone system will grow and evolve with your business.
Can You Use Your Personal Phone for Business?
Using your personal phone number as your business phone is to be avoided at all costs. Aside from helping to create a clear and important separation between your work and home life, using a business number ensures your business looks and sounds polished and professional. VoIP gives you peace of mind your employees aren’t using their personal phone numbers to communicate with customers either.
How Secure is a Cloud-Based Phone System?
Any phone system has some vulnerabilities, but you can rest a bit easier with a cloud-based system. Certain security measures such as data encryption, network security, HIPAA-compliance measures, secure voice and video and more are standard with cloud-based systems.
Is It Really No Maintenance?
With a cloud-based system, you don’t have to worry about maintenance. Any time there is an update from your cloud phone system provider, such as bug fixes or new features, they are added to the software automatically without any work on your end.
What’s the Cost for a Cloud-Based System?
Despite the endless benefits, cloud-based systems are extremely affordable. Chances are you already have an internet provider, so the main expense is likely to be the setup and the cost of your monthly internet bill.
Prices vary based on features, so it’s smart to shop around. One word of caution, however, is that cheaper doesn’t always mean better. Make sure you add features, quality, flexibility, and support into the equation during your evaluation. You can absolutely find an affordable solution that will meet your needs.
When you do the math, a full year of a cloud system will cost far less than half the prices of a typical landline system.
Choosing the Right System
Depending on your business size, needs, and budget, there are several provider options.
You may want to get a system that offers features such as call blocking and/or screening, hold music and conference calls. These tools may convince a new customer that you are a major player in your field, even if you’re just starting out.
Cloud-Based Systems Are the Way of the Future
In the modern world, landlines are falling to the wayside. Your company can benefit from a cloud phone system that offers communication flexibility and grows with your company without a lot of additional expense. With a minimum of fuss, you can get to work from anywhere today.
If you think your business can benefit from a cloud-based phone system, don’t hesitate. Contact us directly and set it up today!