In general, communication costs always increase as a business grows and expands its target market and customer base. Inflation, advances in technology and changes in how people communicate have also increased business phone costs in recent years.
Although many types of alternative communication services exist like email and chat, business leaders and their customers still rely heavily on phone voice contacts. When choosing a phone-based service to conduct business, an owner or a manager has the option of sticking with traditional hardwired landlines and related equipment or switching to Voice Over Internet Protocol tools. The key difference between a landline and VOIP is how signals reach phones. With a landline phone system, signals travel via lines buried underground or connected at telephone poles. They are independent from internet setups. With VOIP, signals travel via internet packets over DSL and traditional phone lines, TV cable lines or cell towers and wireless.
Benefits of Landline Phone Systems
Landline systems offer fewer connectivity options than VOIP, but their benefits shouldn't be disregarded for this reason. With landlines, a business can usually transfer existing equipment from one location to another without upgrading to a newer phone system or adding adapters that increase costs. Landlines also typically offer better phone quality since they're an older technology that has been refined over the years. They usually don't suffer the same types of signal degradation problems seen with internet connections. Best yet, landlines don't put a business into the unwelcome position of going over a monthly data plan limit, which can also increase costs. The two biggest additional benefits involve emergencies. When a business uses a landline phone system with phones that don't require electricity to work and/or feature battery backups, the business can still typically continue to accept calls and even make outbound calls to emergency service personnel during a power outage. Additionally, it's far easier for emergency companies to trace to a specific location a 911 call made from a landline.
Benefits of VOIP Systems
VOIP offers far more features and integration with other systems than a traditional single- or multi-line landline option. Businesses can make and take VOIP calls over existing telephone and fax equipment via VOIP modems and adapters or over computers or mobile devices via special software. Given growing commercial interest in the “Internet of Things”, internet infrastructure is usually in better shape than older landlines, which means businesses can enjoy fewer workday interruptions related to line deterioration. Beyond receiving standard phone features like voicemail, caller ID and conference calling, VOIP users can choose from a growing selection of additional services. They can send voicemails to email, save call data to the cloud, access their systems remotely and even set up automated interactive voice response menu trees and virtual call centers. VOIP can actually save a business money during installation because the owner won't have to pay for additional lines. They only need internet-capable lines, self-install instructions and VOIP equipment, as needed, and a tech-savvy employee. VOIP service plans also offer more options based on budget-friendly solutions and custom features.
How To Choose the Right One for Your Business
Both systems have their flaws. A business might have to pay top dollar to install a multi-line landline system or replace deteriorated existing lines. Some landline service providers charge extra for standard phone features. In areas that have old, poorly-maintained lines, the call quality might be horrific or the service prone to outages. On the other hand, VOIP can cause an expensive data cap overage problem. If the internet goes down, the phones go down as well. If there's low bandwidth or high congestion, call quality decreases. Voices can sound digitized or intermittently disrupted. Calls can drop entirely. An emergency call to 911 over VOIP might not reach a local center because of internet and mobile data routing problems. Thankfully, many VOIP service providers now program devices to always route calls to local emergency sites. Given all of these factors, the easiest way for a business owner or manager to choose the right phone system is by comparing the pros and cons and then taking into consideration their specific needs, budget and future call-related goals. They should also compare service plan prices from different phone providers.