Is There a Difference Between Cloud-Based Phone Systems and Business VoIP?
Modern businesses don’t just rely on fliers and advertisements to increase their visibility. More and more, they’re realizing the importance of communication in reaching their goals.
Customers are likely to ask follow-up questions and shipping inquiries when you run a business website. But they might lean towards phone communication when they are, for example, setting up a schedule for your services or sharing their concerns about your products. In short, a business phone number makes your brand makes you more visible and approachable to your audience.
In this case, consider investing in cloud-based call center software.
Whether your dedicated business phone number is for everyday inquiries or for customer support, it is an effective way to communicate with your customers and let them know that you are always available to them. And with the existence of cloud-based phone systems, you don’t even need to maintain expensive phone equipment in your office anymore — you can get in touch on the go.
Deconstructing Cloud-Based Phone Systems
The telephone has been an integral part of daily communication since it was invented. Never mind that people can simply whip out their phones to compose a text message or bring out their laptops to send an email — phone calls are still the quickest and most personal way to get in touch. Your tone and delivery can more effectively convey your message than any written message can.
Like all other things related to technology, phone calls have evolved throughout the years. Particularly, businesses can now rely on cloud-based phone systems to facilitate communication with customers as well as among your employees. They improve external and internal interactions alike.
What Is a Cloud-Based Phone Service?
Internet-based phone system, internet telephony, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) — people may call it by different names but they all refer to the same thing: a cloud-based phone system that connects people through the internet rather than traditional telephone line systems.
A cloud-based system transfers voice signals between IP addresses. As such, it only requires an internet connection to begin making and receiving calls on your business phone number. It forgoes the use of on-premise hardware, cutting down on the maintenance costs of a traditional telephone line system.
This is how cloud-based phone services work:
- Voice signals transform into tiny pieces of data for transmission through voice pockets.
- The voice pockets travel through the internet to the sender’s VoIP provider.
- The VoIP provider routes the call through cloud-based Private Branch Exchange.
- The pockets convert back to voice signals upon reaching the receiver’s VoIP phone.
All of this cloud-based communication is possible because of the internet and internet protocol.
How High Is the Quality of Cloud-Based Phone Services?
Traditional phone systems have a network of copper wires and branch exchanges to transmit voice data. And while call forwarding and call conferencing may be available to traditional systems, these features are not immediately available like they are with cloud-based phone systems. The latter streamlines the mentioned features and even includes unique features like voicemail transcription and third-party tools.
Additionally, cloud-based systems are more convenient because they only require quick mobile app installation and strong internet connection to make and receive calls — but what about the call quality?
People who switch from traditional phone lines to cloud-based phone systems often note the high-quality calling experience with the latter. But like with any other type of technology that deals with the internet and internet protocols, cloud-based services still deal with various factors that affect quality:
- Jitter, a disruption of the digital signal traffic, may cause audio clicking and data loss.
- Latency, the wait time for signals to travel across devices, may cause time delays in the call.
- System noise, weak signal, software corruption, and hardware failure may lead to packet loss.
Cloud-based phone service providers use the Mean Opinion Score to measure telecommunications engineering and the quality of a call. The scores range from 1 to 5, five being the highest
Business owners that switch to the cloud must also pay attention to the Mean Opinion Score to ensure the quality of received calls as well as to minimize interrupted and dropped calls.
Why Should Businesses Invest in a Cloud-Based Phone System?
Business owners — particularly those with startup companies or small businesses — may start off using their personal phone number to reach customers. But having a personal phone number on public business listings may eventually lead to accessibility issues and privacy concerns. Besides, it looks unprofessional to some people. So, it is wise to have a dedicated phone number for business.
Better yet, business owners should invest in a cloud-based phone system that boosts credibility and streamlines communication with minimal costs.
Functionalities of a Cloud-Based Phone System
Telecommunications evolve with technology. Where telephone lines were once the only way to communicate with customers without sending a letter or going to them, the internet now provides multiple ways to reach others. You can send emails, conduct video calls, and even replace your old telephone line to make voice calls through the internet.
These are what you can expect when you invest in a cloud-based phone system:
- Gain a fully integrated communications system that streamlines business workflows.
- Have control over your modes of telecommunication and who can access them.
- Enjoy network applications like virtual assistants and call center solutions.
- Have online access to your phone line and improve workplace mobility.
- Improve time management with the help of web-based customer portals.
- Add more extensions or deactivate them anytime you need to scale up or down.
- Remain connected with your customers regardless of the weather or circumstances.
- Direct customer calls to appropriate departments and improve customer experience.
In addition to all these functionalities of a cloud-based phone system, you can enjoy cost savings. The shift from traditional phone lines to the cloud will eliminate the service rates and maintenance fees of traditional systems. As such, you reduce costs and increase profitability.
Benefits of a Cloud-Based Phone System
We have defined the different functions of a cloud-based phone system and how it boosts workplace efficiency. Now, consider the different ways you can benefit from the cloud for telecommunications:
- Minimize the use of hardware and avoid costly equipment purchases and maintenance.
- Configure features and user access through a web-based console you can access anywhere.
- Set up a cloud phone system as easy as you download a mobile application.
- Gain easy access to auto attendants, call logs, and conference calling.
- Place and take calls from virtually anybody with an internet connection.
- Take advantage of unified communications and integrated features on different devices.
In addition to all these benefits of a cloud-based system, you can communicate with customers and manage information anywhere you are. You don’t need to be at the workplace to make and take calls; the cloud can store all the information you need and make it available wherever you can access them.
Moreover, you can have peace of mind knowing that the cloud collects valuable data from your calls. This way, you can keep track of the customer experience and survey the analytics to optimize customer communication.
Where Does Business VoIP Fit into All of This?
People often use buzzwords like “cloud-based phone systems” and “business VoIP” interchangeably — but how does the latter actually fit into cloud-based communication and call center systems?
Business communication has evolved because of the internet and internet-based VoIP services. The rationale for using a business phone system, however, is the same for businesses that switch to the cloud as it was for businesses that started out with traditional phone lines.
- Business owners use VoIP to cut down the cost of telecommunications without sacrificing the quality of calls and their accessibility to customers.
- Business owners also invest in a phone system to implement external calling and extension dialing on the same system.
Essentially, VoIP eliminates the need for wiring and the cost of hardware maintenance because it runs entirely on the internet. This feature of VoIP is why more businesses are transitioning to or opting for cloud-based business phone systems.
Are Cloud Phone Systems and Business VoIP Interchangeable?
The short answer is, well, they pretty much are. But there is a fine line between the two.
Cloud-based phone systems and business VoIP essentially have the same functionality. But if we were to go into detail, the cloud is where businesses pull up information and use the services from a VoIP server.
Additionally, the cloud turns any device with internet access into a potential phone. It integrates all the services of a VoIP server and more. These include extension dials, instant messaging, video calls, and voicemail management. As such, the cloud gives you a phone number for customers to call as well as collaboration features that streamline your workflow.
Why Should You Invest in a Cloud Phone System or Business VoIP?
Cloud-based phone system or business VoIP — whatever you choose to call it, it is undeniably helpful for businesses that want to connect with customers on a more personal level. After all, talking to customers over the phone and hearing their tone of voice give you a better understanding of their concerns rather than when you are reading it tonelessly through an email. That being said, invest in the cloud today.
Here is why you should invest in cloud-based phone services:
1. Cloud-based phone systems are a cost-effective alternative to traditional phone lines.
In addition to internet services, you only have to pay for the cloud system setup costs and the monthly payments. Local and international calls cost less because both course through the internet. And you don’t have to pay for hardware maintenance like you would for a traditional phone system.
2. Regardless of the size of your business, the cloud provides reliable and constant communication.
Whether you just opened an 8-person start-up business or a 200-employee company, you can rest assured that the cloud keeps communication constant. A cloud-based phone system is not tied down to a single location so you can communicate with customers and employees anytime and anywhere you have internet access.
3. A cloud-based phone system gives your company more room to reach out and grow.
The cloud lets you grow your phone system based on the size of your business. You can add phone lines and extensions without worrying about copper wires and on-site equipment that you would fuss over if you stick to traditional phone lines. As such, scalability is never an issue.
4. Gain more security from a cloud-based phone system than from a traditional system.
Fraud, phishing, and spoofing are the most common phone security risks. A cloud-based phone system pays close attention to these risks to improve security for you and your business. The cloud features various security measures like data encryption, network security, and voice and video security.
5. The cloud gives you mobility and flexibility without fear of cutting communication lines.
Cloud-based phone services gives you the freedom and flexibility to work anywhere there is internet connection. With the cloud’s accessibility through mobile apps, you can access cloud communication even when you are in remote locations. You can easily make and take business calls from home or during business trips.
6. Maintenance is not an issue and you don’t have to pay for hardware maintenance
Another great thing about cloud services is automatic updates and upgrades. You don’t have to worry about maintenance because your cloud-based phone system software automatically adds new features and downloads bug fixes.
7. Hosted cloud services give you more room to focus on growing your business.
Cloud-based phone services are usually hosted services. As such, the host addresses software malfunctions and hardware maintenance. All you have to secure are a stable internet connection and working IP phones — now, just focus on your business.
Cloud-based phone services aim to streamline your business process and make you more accessible to your customers. Secure your internet connection and take advantage of the cloud anywhere you go.
Come to Lingo for cloud-based phone services. We provide IP-based call center services for small and medium businesses. Contact us today for more information.