Cloud-based phone systems are rapidly phasing out the traditional phone system and even overpriced, localized VOIP phone systems. Despite increasing favor towards cloud-based phone
solutions, many businesses remain skeptic and are unwilling to make the move into the cloud. This article will help explain the “pros and cons” of taking your phone system into the cloud;
which could be the best step for your business to make. If you are investigating a new business phone system, or even an upgrade, you need to take the time to read this.
What Is A Cloud Based Phone System?
A cloud-based phone system is one where all the programming for your phone is in the cloud, instead of the phone closet, or wherever the phone lines come into your location. It’s that place
that the “phone guy” goes when he has to work on your phones. Instead of having a physical location, i.e., phone closet, for the programming or other features of your phone system, you just
access the system set-up via the Internet.
• Communicate from “your office” anywhere you have access to the Internet and at any time. Imagine being able to talk with your customers or vendors, and all they know is that you are calling from your “office number”. At Intellex Communications, we work in multiple locations and sometimes we are not even in the same state. In addition, should we wish to travel outside of the United States, we can still use our phones. Long distance charges are lower than most rates for international calls and are free if calling within the United States.
• Make changes to your phone system, without having to call the phone company and have them send out their “phone guy”. Need to have your number forwarded to another number? Just log into your online control panel and make that change. Have other features or add-ons that you want? Again just log into your online control panel. You no longer have to work your schedule around the time frame that the “phone guy” is supposed to show up. You have the flexibility of making these changes any time, day or night, weekends or even on holidays – your choice.
• Going with a cloud-based phone system will save you money. Traditional phone systems, including VOIP systems, have a high price tag and this is just with the basic features (such as: simultaneous ring, voicemail, remote extension). Should you want additional features, there is a cost associated with that feature. Most of the cloud- based phone systems include these features and additional features are only a few dollars more. Should you need to add features at a later date, you just log into your control panel and make the change. Remember, we like to Keep IT Simple for you.
• Remote staff can work together on a single platform. Cloud-based phone systems offer the flexibility of your phone number being in multiple locations, not just your physical office. Should you need to hire someone that is in another city, or even state, they will be using the same phone system that is in your office. In addition, should you feel the need to monitor your staff, the cloud-based phone systems have features such as detailed call reporting, call monitoring, and call recording, that can help you.
• Reduce your current business phone service bill by up to 30%. Traditional phone systems rely on copper lines, or fiber optics, to transmit your communications. These phone lines require “phone guys” to connect your phone lines to your phone system. By using a cloud-based phone system, you just connect your phone to your Internet connection, i.e., modem, router. Still have that occasional FAX that you have to send? You can connect to a virtual FAX service, send and receive faxes; all while lowering the cost of your current phone bill. We converted our office to a cloud-based phone system and use Comcast as our internet provider. As far as we know, our customers are unable to tell the difference.
• Free long distance calls and lower international calling rates. If calling within the United States, your long distance calls are free. In addition, the rates for making international calls, if not free, are substantially lower than the rates you get with traditional phone systems. Even if you are using a VOIP system for your phones, the communications still have to travel over the phone lines and you will pay for the use of those long distance phone lines.
• Reliance on the internet. So if your internet goes down, you will not be able to use your phones. The good news is you can still receive calls and all features of your phone system still work (voicemail, auto-attendant, etc.). In addition, you can use other internet options (think “hotspot”), log into your control panel and forward your calls to another phone number (such as your cell). The cost of having this done –nothing, nada, zip. Ask your phone provider what they would charge.
• Sneaky lock-in contracts and high initial investment costs. Some providers may charge initial installation fees as high as $5,000 for around ten phones. This is in addition to having you sign a two to five year contract; that may contain an early termination penalty. So while you may save money in the long run, you are not saving money now.
• Voice quality. Unfortunately not all cloud-based phone systems are the same. Most of the larger, hosted phone systems (such as, Simplicity VoIP Solutions) have call centers with technical support teams that can help you quickly resolve most issues. Before you go with a local, or smaller-hosted IP provider, ask them to show you a demonstration of their system and how it works. This way you can determine for yourself if their phone system will meet your needs.
• Vendor dependency. Your service and support is only as good as your vendor’s reputation. Whether you are using copper lines, VoIP or even cloud-based phone systems; you want to know that when you are experiencing problems, there will be someone there to assist you.
No longer does a salesperson or office staff need to be tethered to a physical office to remain productive. Having the proper cloud platforms in place can allow your tem to get the job done anytime from virtually anywhere.
Intellex Communications can analyze your current business communication system and determine whether a cloud-based phone system is your next step and if not, what might be.