VoIP phone systems vs mobile and landline alternatives?
VoIP phone systems versus mobile and landline alternatives? Which version do you use and what would you recommend based on your experiences?
Skype is what I live off. I have phone numbers setup so people can call a local number (numbers setup for different states and countries). That call will come to me no matter what country I am in and the customer has no idea. This is great and doesn't cost the client or me anything for the international call. Also I have the ability to receive the calls on the mobile, great for when I am out of the office and want calls to come through. I believe Voip is a much better solution for any business, even if you are within the main country you offer services in. With Skype I have never had an issue with call quality, regardless of the country I am in. You just need to make sure you have good internet. And at the end of the day if you are working in an office or from home you will have good internet anyway. I had a client call me about a data purchase, I was not able to access the data at that time (not near my computer) however my business partner was. I messaged him only to find out he was in the middle of nowhere. I was in Thailand and he was busy travelling, I believe he was just over the Thai boarder at the time by a river at the edge of the jungle, yet I was still able to message him via Voip and he was still able to run a query on the data via his laptop in the middle of nowhere. Within a few minutes he sent the summaries to me on Skype and we worked out the rates. All while we were both out of the office and in remote areas, and the entire time I had the client on the phone. He called a local QLD number and had no idea that someone was running queries on a server that is in the USA from the edge of a jungle just out of Thailand, and communicating with my business partner via Skype while I was also speaking to them on Skype to get the answers they needed. I have unlimited calls to any landline in the world and I believe I pay just over $10 per month. I pay around $80 per year for the phone number I wanted (ends in DATA) and that is it.
VoIP with all the PABX features of a sophisticated phone system is the way to go providing the call quality is equal or better to a traditional landline. If it isn't then it can not be classed as true business grade, and it would be a step backwards / compromised service.
As for mobile, I still see this a secondary call option (when you must be mobile and make calls) and not when you are in your office with access to a real phone system. Call quality isn't as good on mobile and limited exposure can only be a good thing for reducing radiation to your brain.
We couldn't survive without our VoIP system, and can't imagine a situation in which we would consider reverting to landlines. Because we travel a lot, it's really convenient to setup 'temporary office' at a location and plug the phone into the Internet, and then continue as though nothing has changed. It means we can make and receive calls from the other side of the world, feel totally accessible to our clients, and still only pay local call charges. In fact, we don't even pay STD rates - calling any landline in Australia is one low fixed fee, and calls to mobiles are just like calling from an Aussie landline to a mobile.We're using MyNetFone and have been delighted with them - in fact, we've setup a number of other companies on their platform as well. Their service is stable, support is reasonable, pricing is competitive, and functionality is excellent.If you make a lot of international calls, VoIP providers tend to offer the best deals too. We can, for example, agree to an international plan and suddenly we can call US, UK, etc... for only 10c fixed cost per call! We don't get quite as good a deal on calling mobiles as we would with the special deals available for landlines (e.g. unlimited mobile calls to all mobiles or to Telstra mobiles), but the value and convenience of the landline calls and the portability more than offset that.VoIP is also great when you've got a distributed workforce. We can have staff working from home offices, other states/countries, or from client locations, and they can still be reachable via their regular 'landline' number (i.e. a local number with an area code). We can also do free 'intercom' calls to our own team members, transfer calls, put people on hold, and all the stuff you would normally do with a PABX - but all we had to buy was some decent VoIP handsets (we use Cisco) and didn't have to spend megabucks on traditional PABX equipment.Mobile plans these days offer a lot of great deals, including unlimited calls - but people calling you may have to pay per minute, and may not consider you to be as 'established' or professional. Of course, you can get a 1300 number and have it 'terminate' at (divert to) your mobile phone. But then you pay for your customers' incoming calls.The only proviso with VoIP is that you need to have a stable Internet connection with decent performance. Ideally you'll plug your handset into your network/router with an Ethernet cable rather than Wi-Fi, and if you're using ADSL you need to ensure that you're not too far from the phone exchange, as poor ADSL performance is a regular cause for complaints from VoIP users. The connection doesn't have to phenomenally fast, it just has to be 'reasonable' and consistent.