In the past, most businesses purchased their phone service in the same way that they would arrange for any other utility service needed. The specific vendor that provided your service didn’t really matter much, because most of those services were exactly the same, so the real differentiating factor was usually cost.
Even with the arrival of VoIP, not much changed with this scenario, and most businesses simply switched to a VoIP provider to realize cost savings. However, it is now becoming very clear that VoIP can be used in some very innovative ways in the workplace, possibly even to provide you with a leg up on the competition.
Because VoIP phone services can be customized and personalized to accommodate your company workflows, they are far more valuable commodities than the original phone service of decades ago. It’s also possible now to create intelligent applications which are centered around VoIP as a supporting platform. All this was impossible years ago, but because of the advanced capabilities of VoIP, some very creative and innovative uses of this phone service are now possible.
Using VoIP in a Virtual Office
VoIP has a powerful capability to support virtualization, which is something that very few businesses could have envisioned as recently as a few years ago. VoIP can support the possibility of ringing multiple devices simultaneously, doing call forwarding, and even replicating an entire call center setup.
It’s possible to mimic a full-blown call center, with all the features typically associated with such centers, even with your employees not physically present in the office. Of course, not all small businesses have a need for such advanced capabilities, but the virtualization support also covers situations such as having employees work from home.
Almost any business could take advantage of this feature, since it would mean you don’t have to hire employees who are geographically close to your company. However, if you do have offices located in multiple geographic areas, it’s very easy to accommodate employee movement between the two centers, and to have them take their phone numbers right along with them.
That means you don’t have to wait for any kind of new setup or wiring at the employee’s new destination. Anything you need to do in this regard can be managed in just a few minutes from a web dashboard.
Using VoIP With Complex Routing
Even at the current level of development, VoIP supports some really complex routing scenarios. As an example, a salesperson who has to leave the office to attend some kind of training session would have had to transfer all his/her incoming calls to voicemail while away from the desk, or someone else would have had to take all those calls. In a VoIP environment, you would have the capability of establishing priority rules for all incoming calls to handle situations just like these.
You could have all incoming calls transferred to voicemail if the call goes unanswered, or you could have all those calls transferred to someone’s mobile phone, if the call comes during normal business hours. When an important customer calls, you could have the call routed to a specific stand-in employee, while sending an instant message to the intended person’s mobile phone.
Lastly, you would also have the option of sending transcribed voicemails to a person’s email inbox as an attachment, along with the voice message actually left by the caller. While these may seem like fairly complicated calls to route, they are easily managed by modern VoIP systems.
It doesn’t even call for a high level of expertise to program these features into your system. For the most part, they can be set up in your system by using an intuitive interface that makes it a breeze. When you can set up call routing using advanced rules like this, it will be possible in your workplace to have all calls managed in such a way that busy workers are never disturbed, and to have all calls reach the right person.
Use VoIP to Extend Brand Recognition
You can use your VoIP system to increase your branding recognition with customers in a number of different ways. For instance, you can include subtle branding messages on your voicemail features, holiday greetings, and even the music which you provide to callers while they’re waiting to speak with their intended parties.
While in the past this would not have been something that most small businesses, and probably even most large businesses, would have thought about, extending your brand through your VoIP features is now a distinct possibility. Most VoIP service providers offer you the tools which will allow you to customize voicemail prompts, voice recordings, and hold music.
This will let you choose from among hundreds of different samples, so that you can find those which are the best reflections of your company brand. If necessary, you can also swap these out at a moment’s notice at any point in the future. There’s no doubt that a number of branding opportunities are presented by being able to customize recordings to be a reflection of the location, time, and season currently in effect.
This might particularly be advantageous for companies which have offices in multiple countries, since each area would have its own holidays and celebrations. In this kind of environment, callers from one specific country would hear customized greetings which are appropriate to their country, as opposed to random greetings which have little or no meaning to them at all.