Do You Still Need a Traditional Phone Line for Your Business?
If there’s one thing businesses can agree on, it’s that a communication platform is critical to their success. Whether you need to connect with clients and partners or communicate internally with the team, phone systems are a vital tool for operations.
The traditional telephone system took center stage in business communications years back. Since technology’s growth, however, we’ve seen newer systems steal the spotlight. Virtual phone lines, mobile phones, and Business Voice over Internet Protocol (otherwise known as Business VoIP) are just a few.
Technology improvements have made it easier for businesses to communicate with customers and partners at a lower cost with greater flexibility. It’s no wonder more organizations are making a switch.
With convenient features like easy setup and the ability to work anywhere, it makes sense to just hang up on traditional phone lines and connect to Internet phone systems for small businesses.
However, should you cut the cord on traditional telephony?
Traditional Phones Are Still Useful in Business
The introduction of newer communication technologies has made telephony a last resort. It doesn’t have to be the case always, though.
In some situations, digital methods lack the functionality and nuance a complete telephone system can provide. For example, companies based in remote areas, areas prone to electrical power issues, or areas that have poor Internet connection would benefit from using a landline than VoIP systems.
Marketability is another reason businesses keep their landlines. One misconception surrounding VoIP systems is that it directs callers to robotic “techies,” which intimidates some companies. Traditional phones are simple and require no elaborate explanation.
But Should You Stay Traditional for Long?
Traditional phone lines are handy in a handful of business situations, but in today’s marketplace, staying traditional is not a sustainable decision. Landlines give you access to caller ID, voicemail, and call forwarding but these features can be costly add-ons.
Many businesses are moving forward with their communication methods by switching to cloud-hosted solutions. One of the primary reasons that fuel the change is the fact that most citizens have stopped using their landline phones. In 2016, a survey from the National Center for Health Statistics indicated that 50.8 percent of American homes didn’t have a landline but had at least one wireless telephone. More than 70 percent of all adults between the ages of 25 and 34 lived in wireless-only households. As a result, business owners now ponder on cutting ties with their phone company and subscribing to VoIP.
The Shift in Business Communication
The past years have seen businesses transition from fixed telephone lines to VoIP, which means data and voice are all stored on the same online network. Companies that still relied on landline services spend more money for fewer features. VoIP is seen as a more affordable alternative since both voice and data are sent through existing Internet infrastructure. Instead of residing on-premise at the business’ location, the system is in the cloud, which means more savings on maintenance, set-up fees, and monthly service charges.
The shift drastically changed the way businesses communicate internally and externally. Employees now use their VoIP phone services remotely, wherever they’re working on their tablet, smartphone, or desktop. They also benefit companies with multiple locations.
Landline vs. VoIP: A Side By Side Comparison
How They Work
Analog telephones are built on networks of switches, copper wires, and branch exchanges. It’s a combination of physical pathways (some larger than others) with complex interchanges.
VoIP phone systems convert audio signals from your speech into digital data that travels via the Internet (DSL, cable, or fiber optic) to its destination. Instead of the traditional phone jack, you plug the system into an adapter that connects it to the computer or modem.
Landline services provided by telephone companies offer access to a selection of functions, such as call forwarding, caller ID, call blocking, three-way calling, voicemail, and international calling. Most of the basic landline packages come with add-ons that include nearly all or some of these services.
VoIP providers, on the other hand, offer all the communication functions that come with a business landline and more. The features provided by this cloud-based solution are particularly beneficial to your business.
For example, VoIP enables employees to receive or place calls and listen to voicemails right from their desktop or laptop computer, tablet or smartphone. It also provides the option of managing your features and services online.
Another plus? Your business can take advantage of videoconferencing.
Landlines are more reliable than VoIP. As mentioned above, telephones are not powered in the same way electricity is, so even during an outage, you still have phone access.
In case of a power interruption, you’ll lose your Internet connection, which results in losing your VoIP service, too. Even if there is electricity, if your Internet service experiences a disruption, it will affect your VoIP service. Reliable Internet service is necessary to keep this cloud-based system up and running.
Telephones are the champions of sound quality. While they might not offer the extensive suite of features that come with a VoIP system, users benefit from clear voice calls and rarely experience dropped calls, interference, or poor call quality.
The Internet was not designed for voice communication. Its primary purpose was to carry data, so there are challenges with smooth connections. Since the phone sends data over the Internet, the sound quality is not 100 percent clear. Echoes, crackling, and interruptions are some of the difficulties associated with VoIP communication.
Fortunately, recent years have seen VoIP providers polishing their systems to make sure callers aren’t aware that their calls are taking place over VoIP. While there are still occasional blips, VoIP’s sound quality is more polished than before.
Landline costs remain reasonable, if not affordable. Most phone companies offer discounts and bundles specifically for small businesses. Companies who take advantage of these special packages benefit from the lower cost of services.
VoIP might seem pricier compared to a landline. But if you compare the cost of landlines to VoIP feature to feature, the latter emerges as the more budget-friendly option.
Even the most basic VoIP package includes several features. It’s common for providers to offer free unlimited local calls and free international calls (with a specific number of minutes per month). Also, if you switch to VoIP, your business can still use the same phone number. The provider will include an adapter to your package at no charge.
Obsolescence and Updating
Nobody knows what communications technology will look like in the future, but some trends provide a good indication. Most of these trends are leaning towards the VoIP’s side.
Unified communication is becoming more common as businesses integrate all of their communications technology into a single platform. Advanced VoIP systems now integrate everything from the CRM software to digital faxes.
Landlines might seem like the simpler option between the two. Some small business owners choose to stick with their telephones to save more and “stay simple.” Despite the benefits of landlines, however, companies that still run on traditional systems are due for a change.
When Changing Systems — Go for VoIP
VoIP is a handy tool for businesses that require a system change. One such situation is when the company relocates to a new place. Instead of buying a smaller and newer system or migrating an old one, VoIP allows businesses to transfer a big part of their system through the Internet, thereby cutting costs involved in switching. It allows companies to integrate systems easily should they choose to stick with their old system, to reduce downtime.
If your business is experiencing explosive growth, upgrading your traditional landline can be time-consuming and expensive. VoIP offers a plug-and-play model to simplify the upgrade process, enabling you to expand your communications network faster.
Mergers can also pose a communication nightmare. Partner companies don’t often have phone systems that are compatible with each other. Instead of adjusting to the other company’s system, implement a VoIP to standardize the phone system to minimize the risk of operational disruption.
Better Features than Traditional Phones?
VoIP persuades businesses to make the switch with its selection of innovative features that surpass those of traditional landlines. There are notable features that make it a better communication alternative:
Call routing. You’ll never have to worry about missing an important call with this feature. Call routing routes incoming calls to multiple devices of your choice. So if your office desk phone rings and you’re out, your system will alert your home phone, mobile phone, and other devices before it sends the call to voicemail.
Virtual numbers. A virtual number gives you easy access to a local number anywhere in the world. If you have a large market of clients in a local area, you can get a local number with the area of your choice. When someone in the US calls your virtual number, it will transfer to your phone — whether your business is in the state or in a different state. This feature helps your customers get in touch with you easily.
Better conference calls. VoIP and a fast Internet connection allow you to include an unlimited number of people on conference calls. You may also use videoconferencing to see clients and colleagues in person.
Multi-functionality. VoIP is more than just making and receiving calls. Modern systems incorporate other communication services such as presence information, instant messaging, and faxes via email.
Call analytics. Improve your business’ productivity by gaining insight from your calls. VoIP operates over a data network and integrates with software to provide you with detailed reports regarding call frequency, call costs, and call quality.
Portability. As long as you have access to the Internet, you can use your VoIP system anytime anywhere. It allows you to make and receive calls from multiple devices so customers and colleagues can always contact you. VoIP also enables you to transfer calls to other departments without requiring customers to call another number. Feel free to set your status to inform caller if you’re available for a chat or not.
Call screening. Putting up with limited call screening options is not a concern with VoIP. It allows you to control the numbers that can reach your phone, as well as when these individuals try to call you.
Increased productivity. VoIP eliminates “phone tag,” a phenomenon where two parties attempt to get in touch by telephone but are unable to reach one another. Phone tag is one of the primary culprits behind increased customer frustration, which leads to a decrease in sales. VoIP programs phone numbers to ring on different devices before proceeding to voicemail. This reduces the likelihood of customers and businesses not contacting each other.
The Verdict: Can Analog Phones Still Stay in the Picture?
Definitely. There is no harm in keeping your landline at the office, but relying only on analog phones might cost you countless business opportunities. Times are changing and so should your communication style. Instead of just depending on traditional phone systems, it’s time to prioritize VoIP systems.
Lingo can help you with that.
We offer cloud-based solutions that come with features so robust that they enable small businesses and start-ups to overcome big communication hurdles. Compared to traditional phone systems, our centralized and affordable phone system don’t require costly hardware or complex cable installations to run. All you need is your preferred device and a strong Internet connection.
Find modern and efficient cloud VoIP solutions for your business. Take advantage of Lingo’s expansive nationwide network to improve how you communicate with your clients and colleagues.