A new way to cut costs: your phone system
Betsy Scuteri is the Sr. Director of Audience Marketing at Business.com. A mother, and digital fanatic, Scuteri is in charge of traffic acquisition of the companies owned and operated domains.
For the past 10+ years, Scuteri has been leading the conversions of start-ups and their needs as they grow.
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An overlooked cost savings for entrepreneurs is switching to VoIP, or an internet-based phone system for your business. According to a recent survey, over 86% of business owners rated VoIP satisfaction level as “very high.” Why? VoIP and internet-based phone systems offer features, services and equipment that some traditional phone systems can’t compete. In terms of service outside your business and systems inside your business, switching to VoIP can save your business money. Here are some quick tips to get you started:
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) based systems use the internet for calls. Most smaller businesses choose a basic package from Packet8 or Speakeasy for their service. You can also choose a hosted service and all you need is either an adapter (ATA) or a router. The equipment is all done remotely by a provider. If you have a high call volume and don’t have room for wires, this option works well because there is no maintenance and configuration to worry about.
Typically you can get a good VoIP system for under $1000 plus the cost of the equipment. If your business places a high volume of long distance calls, you can expect to save quite a bit. Monthly bills for service plans typically run up from $10-20 monthly. One study tracked the impact on Intel Corp when they switched to a VoIP phone system and found a cost savings of $312,000 a year. Most business owners are surprised to learn that you’ll save the most by becoming more efficient.
Besides the standard features that all businesses need (voicemail, call forwarding, call transfers and hold messaging), auto-attendant is another additional service that lets the caller dial by name, extension, or listen to a general message containing business hours. Features are generally included in a VoIP plan, but make sure you ask if you specifically need a feature like video conferencing or one-click dialing.
There are many phone system providers that offer affordable VoIP solutions. Some of the larger and well-known companies like Vonage and Jive have websites where you can see pricing and packages. You can also visit our quote center and find a list of vendors that match your specific needs by simply filling out this form. There are many systems to choose from depending if you want services outside your business or inside your business so do your homework. You can get an inexpensive system with all the “big name” features and the systems just plug into a standard Analog line.
Ask for free equipment. Most salespersons are allowed to include VoIP phones or adaptors to win a contract. If equipment is a no-go, ask for additional features. Can you get a bundle package for cheaper? Try shopping at the end of the month when sales needs to meet their quota.