In the past, the idea of technology has somewhat become synonymous with cost. The lack of educated experts and sophisticated engineering tools made it expensive and hard to implement. The increasing demand for convenience paved the way for people to get more interested in its study and development. The number of solutions increased tremendously, with lightning speed, to address an overwhelming number of needs in homes and businesses alike. And even at some point, the technology itself created the need for it to be addressed with a more advanced solution.
Somewhere in the mid-1980’s, when the first modern computers began to flourish across most offices and businesses, the economist W. Brian Arthur expressed an idea about his observations in the advent of the computer age, and its impact on business. In the article published by Strategy+Business, he was quoted with his idea the increased value of technology & its effect to the economy. And indeed, most of the technologies we use and enjoy today were products of those economies that were led to unexpected directions, but impacted us, and them, positively.
With technology, the number of its users grew immensely, and simultaneously in many countries. Each is focused on its own economy, enjoying the increase in outputs and its people became more productive that more industries and enterprises started to emerge. But the industry of trade amongst far apart nations slowed down some progress due to distance and costly way of communication. Technology answered this with pushing through with the advancements in the traditional telephone system, and paved a way to an alternative, and less costly way to communicate – the innovation of the VoIP, or the Voice over Internet Protocol. It enabled communication through the Internet channel, accommodating more interconnections across more countries and conveying more quantity of information in real time. The best part is the minimized cost due to less infrastructures for its integration and implementation.
For the past years since the approval and regulation of the VoIP and its gateway, many have ventured in providing a customizable and more efficient way of utilizing the technology. They were later called as VoIP service providers that primarily offer its services to businesses and enterprises who wanted to modernize their business within the growing trend. There were also who developed free to use versions of the VoIP services, mainly for consumer and entertainment use, but eventually offered a more premium subscription to cater a broader number of clients.
Some of the service providers that offer free subscriptions are Skype, Viber, FaceTime, and Yahoo Messenger. The issues with these free of use platforms isn’t on the reliability and accessibility alone, but on certain compromises on privacy, extended features, and lack of customer support. Where to be fair, some businesses have actually chosen among these free software and became successful in the long run, yet many still went further ahead because they chose premium.
The likes of Shoretel, Anvya, Cisco and Mitel are offering more comprehensive and customizable solutions according to their client needs. Although each VoIP provider have different models to suit varied types of businesses, all shared common compelling reasons to encourage more business owners to invest for their companies. Here are 5 advantages of using paid VoIP service for your business.
1. More Professional
That being said, there is an ongoing argument over the issue that reliability in VoIP service is directly proportional to its cost. A number of paid VoIP providers are claiming that premium service comes with a higher cost in terms of development and technology. Premium, however, also translates to a broader and a more professional approach to certain services, making it more reliable in terms of customized solutions to specific business needs.
A more professional over consumer oriented approach also implies being needs oriented rather than an on demand platform. Those free platforms are usually being used by a mass of people with a simpler purpose of communicating with each other. The competitive aspect of free services is the number of people that use them, thus making their business models become consumer oriented and on demand, in contrast with a more professional need of having a backbone structure for efficient communication amongst employees (work related), inter-branches (enterprise) and trade partners which are vital among the higher level of the business hierarchy. To cater on a more professional approach translates to having a staunch support on the growth of business structural needs.
2. Improved Reliability
As above mentioned, the common denominator of the different business models presented by free to use VoIP service providers is being consumer oriented or on demand. The downside of this kind of business model is that it is harder to have complete control over it, translating to unforeseen outages that already happened in the past.
Cite for example, according to an article in Computer Weekly, it mentioned of several noted instances of VoIP service outages in the past, which use free to all platforms. Such are the cases of iMessage, the Apple’s free texting service exclusive to their iOS users, experienced a downtime of around 5 hours during April 2013. Another is around the holidays of 2010 that Skype too had experienced troubles. This happened again after a year. For users, there isn’t a big impact because there are other alternative platforms to compensate with it, but to businesses who have solely relied on their service may have been affected negatively. As for a business, any down time may mean decreased sales, lost clientele, lost opportunities, increased customer complaints, which, if not controlled within a certain period of time, will taint a long-time business reputation.
Varying levels of expectations within certain phases in a business growth might be hard to achieve in using free VoIP services in the long run. At a certain phase, the business will be critical of its demand of reliability which should remain uncompromised all the time, at all costs. Such are enterprises with international business relations, which rely a lot on continuous communication with its people in many parts of the world.
With that being said, reliability is still a subjective expectation in a business. Yes, it should indeed exist in all aspects, in all services, even in all employees, but it also has varying degrees a well. In the business world, reliability is weighted heavily amongst priorities. The paid VoIP service gained a lead on this one, experientially speaking.It is a clear mark of being one of the top business VoIP software. For reliable rankings of both paid and free to use VoIP service providers for business, see list of Reviews of Business VoIP Software here.
3. More Dynamic
Different types of businesses have different expectations in all of the third party services that need support from. A coffee shop, for example, might focus on inter-branch communication and logistics support for getting a VoIP service provider. An offshore oil and gas business will need a strong and reliable communication facility for its ships and people that come from different parts of the world. The varied needs should be supported at all times with a customized solution, that only a paid VoIP service provider might be able to cater. To clear the point, it is not solely on the basic service provided, which to be fair enough, those free platforms were able to give as well. The point is on the extended features that most of the time, the premium versions only can offer.
There is still a need to address if this advantage is also applicable to small businesses. The term “dynamic” makes an impression of a bigger scenario, which for some, a small scaled business doesn’t have yet. But as you see, who wouldn’t want a his or her business to grow? And for it to have plenty of room for unhindered growth, a sensible option is to adapt future ready business models that are dynamic enough to support near future goals. It will be cost effective in the long run.
It requires a more in depth evaluation on the business owner’s part to know the extent of privacy each of the VoIP software service providers can offer. The first step would definitely the analysis of the amount of data that the VoIP service provider can access from your business in the process of integration and implementation. How much of the company data are you willing to spill to this third party service provider? In terms of the communication, aside from the reliability of the service, the integrity of the information that is to be transmitted should also be ensured. In addition, a number of information, especially containing confidential business plans which at one time needed to be conveyed across the employees, should have privacy to protect the company’s interest. To some professional business owners, there is doubt that a free VoIP software can compromise this aspect. Nonetheless, the paid VoIP software service providers even note this one important aspect of its disclosure agreement with their clients.
5. Continuous Product Support and Development
According to a market research study conducted by Telecomm Reseller in 2015, in an excerpt from its executive summary, it was mentioned that one of the non-technology aspect of a business, the customer support, is one of the growing concerns for a service provider’s success. It is also a clear indication of market maturity. The growing popularity of VoIP software service providers in the business, primarily provided a solution to a more efficiently managed communication among the employees and business partners, and also to its customers and clients. The provision of the service is also being extended to a continued customer service and support to ensure the success of the integration in the long run. While in all business models for VoIP service providers there is this feature, the extent in each is significantly different in approach and coverage. When you try to compare the list the top Business VoIP software service providers in the market today, basing on feedbacks, it is worth noting that the paid VoIP providers have better positive reviews than the free ones, primarily in the business and professional aspect. Furthermore, some even provide a dedicated support team for each of their clients, as requested, for a better working relation in the long run. The provision of value added features of paid VoIP software service providers also constitutes to more sophisticated technology behind it, thus the need for a more reliable customer support on the business end. Logically, we cannot complain much about free services nowadays, but the responsibility of service providers remains intact and should be realized in all aspects.
The ever changing market should always be supported with varied solutions to arising conflicts and needs. The cost of technology remains to be on the provision of convenience and innovation in all aspects of people’s lives, whether in business or in homes. In the case of the rising popularity of VoIP in the business, it is imperative that the business which availed them should utilize the technology up to the last detail in their companies, to achieve its real purpose. The cost of modern technology, whether in time, convenience and money, should be countered with the corresponding promise of satisfaction, guarantee and long term success. With all things evaluated, the choice is yours to take.
Can’t decide yet? Here is CrowdReviews.com’s Business VoIP Software list to help you evaluate the right service provider for your business’ needs.
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