Maybe you’ve just moved your business into a new office and are considering what phone system will be best for your business. Or, maybe you’re already set up with office phones, and though you keep hearing about these new VoIP or “cloud-based” systems, you’re not quite sure what they are or if they’re right for you. One thing’s for sure: your business can’t thrive without phones!
Technology is ever-changing and it’s frustrating – that’s understandable. But it changes because new and often improved solutions come along, so it’s important to keep an open mind. You made the switch from Walkman to CD-player and CD-player to iPod, didn’t you? Let’s think of trusty old phone systems and cloud-based phone systems in the same way.
What’s the Cloud?
It’s hard to draw a comparison between your two options if you don’t quite know what “cloud-based” means. Essentially, the term “cloud” refers to the internet, so cloud-based phone systems mean internet-based phone systems.
Cloud vs. Traditional: Equipment
One of the biggest differences you’ll notice between cloud-based phones and traditional phones is that you need much less equipment with the former. Cloud-based services mean you can access all of your calling capabilities through the internet, so in reality, you don’t need a physical phone at all since you can have a “softphone” dial pad pop up on your screen and plug a headset into your computer. That being said, a lot of people enjoy and prefer talking on a physical desk phone, which is what makes them hesitant to switch. Don’t fret, though – you can certainly use your cloud-based services through a physical phone, too. The only difference is that you don’t need new hardware or wiring whenever you want to make an upgrade – your computer does the work.
Cloud vs. Traditional: Cost
Bouncing off the previous point, it’s easy to see how a cloud-based system would be less expensive – you don’t need to purchase as much equipment, which saves you money. Many service providers also bundle your phone services in with your fax and internet costs, so it’s sometimes cheaper and always easier. Plus, long-distance calls aren’t going to cost you extra money. Finally, cloud providers don’t have a need to charge maintenance fees or hosting fees.
Cloud vs. Traditional: Flexibility
Since you access your cloud phone services through the internet, it’s a lot more flexible. While you can use your physical office phone when you’re in the comfort of your desk, you can access the services from any computer when you’re not. Whether you’re in a hotel room, sick in bed, or vacation, you can log on and make a phone call from your office number if you please. Some companies even offer smartphone apps so you can transform your smartphone into your office phone. With traditional systems, you have to be in the office to receive calls on your work number.
Customers will find that your company is more responsive because when someone is unable to answer the phone, they can have their number re-routed to the number of a more available person. It’s not so easy with traditional phones.
If you’re switching offices or opening up a new office, you don’t have to worry about setting aside time to have your provider come set it up like you would with a standard phone. You can simply add some lines with a few clicks of the mouse, then order physical phones to the office if you so choose. Just plug in and go!
And, if inclement weather has everyone out of the office, you don’t have to worry about losing time or profits – you can still take phone calls from elsewhere.
And the winner is…
It seems that in terms of hassle, cost, and flexibility, cloud-based phones win every time. It’s tough to argue, after knowing the facts, that you wouldn’t want easier-to-manage bills, fewer annoyed customers, and hassle-free office setup.