The nature of work is changing and being chained to a desk phone is becoming less and less appealing. As more professionals and industries embrace flexible schedules, remote work, and fully digital processes, desk phones and personal cell phones are being ditched in favor of VoIP technology.
Voice over Internet Protocol makes life simpler. With nothing but an app and an internet connection, each of your team members can make reliable phone calls from a device of their choice — all without having to give out their personal number. The advantages of VoIP are hard to beat.
But even if the benefits of VoIP phone services are enormous, you still want to make an informed decision and know your options before you invest. We’ll help you weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP, so you can decide if switching to VoIP is the right choice for your business.
Advantages of VoIP phone systems
Business VoIP systems have a lot of benefits over traditional phone systems, ranging from greater ease of use to lower costs. Here are six major advantages of VoIP to consider.
1. Increased mobility
When you’re working on the go, you can’t take your desk phone with you. Traditional phone lines rely on hardware that’s stored in your office, so when you walk out the door, you won’t know when you miss an important call.
A key benefit of VoIP and softphones is their mobility. You can manage calls from whatever internet-enabled device is most convenient for you. Working from your office? Manage calls from your desktop or browser. Walking through a park? Pull out your mobile phone and tap on your app. Flying in an airplane? As long as you have internet, you can make it work. ✈️
Even better, because many business VoIP providers have mobile apps that will ring your business number on your phone, you get all the convenience of using your cell phone without having to share your personal phone number.
Some VoIP providers are compatible with desk phones, so the option is still open if you want it.
2. More ways to strengthen your business
When you ditch the traditional phone hardware, you won’t be leaving any perks behind. Many VoIP service providers offer all the key features of a desk phone — and much more. On top of features like voicemail and call forwarding, which are available on traditional landlines, VoIP services like OpenPhone let you:
- Make more informed decisions: Enhance coaching and staffing decisions with call recordings and analytics, including heat maps that show you when you’re getting the most calls and texts.
- Streamline business processes: Connect to the tools you already use through integrations with email, Zapier, and more.
- Create a stronger local presence: Build trust and increase the likelihood of clients picking up their phones with local phone numbers in the communities you serve.
- Stay on top of business relationships from anywhere: Stay informed about client and team needs from any device. The best providers even let you take calls and messages straight from their browser-based app. You can even VoIP text from most platforms.
Unlike landline phones, VoIP services help you streamline all your business processes and give you insights that help your team perform better.
3. Greater ease of use
Using a desk phone system often requires memorizing a list of codes to use the features you need. It’s not intuitive at all. Most of your team members won’t know off the top of their heads to dial *72, a phone number, and pound (#) to forward calls.
VoIP platforms have user-friendly interfaces that act like the built-in phone apps your team members are already using each day. There’s a far smaller learning curve, which means you don’t need to spend much time (if any) training your team.
4. Lower costs
When you’re running a small business or startup, the cost of a traditional telephone service can put it out of reach. One desk phone alone can cost you over $100, and that doesn’t include the cost of setup, ongoing maintenance, or other hardware you may need. 💸
One of the major advantages of VoIP is its affordability. VoIP phones are low-cost solutions that save you a ton of time and make tracking all your business conversations easier. Pay a small monthly fee (OpenPhone starts at $10 per user per month), and you can unlock all the features you need. You don’t necessarily even need to invest in any extra hardware since VoIP telephony is in the cloud. Team members can make calls from their browsers or desktops, or by downloading an app on their own smartphones.
With VoIP, you won’t need a full-blown IT team to manage calls — even if you want to build a virtual call center. VoIP services like OpenPhone come with customer support.
Alternative options like VoIP providers tend to offer significantly lower rates on long-distance calls, too. If you’re working with international clients or team members, this can save your wallet from massive phone bills. You can even work abroad and make unlimited calls to the US and Canada. All you need is an internet connection.
5. Easy scalability
With a VoIP service, adding a new team member is as simple as inviting them via email and paying a little extra each month. OpenPhone gives you the option to assign each new employee a brand-new phone number or a shared phone number.
If you choose to create a new number, you can choose from a wide range of US and Canadian numbers (as well as toll-free numbers), no matter where you’re located. This way, if you’re expanding your business to Canada from the US, you can avoid international call fees and build trust with a local number.
The advantages of VoIP are tremendous when your business is quickly scaling up, especially for startups experiencing rapid growth.
6. Reliable voice quality
We’ve all experienced poor sound quality, lags, and dropped calls on our smartphones. There’s a reason why the phrase “Can you hear me now?” resonated with so many people in the 2000s (and still does today). When your signal isn’t strong, standard calls can lead to miscommunication between you, your team members, and your clients.
Today’s VoIP phones are some of the most reliable phones around. As long as you have a solid internet connection — whether you’re using Wi-Fi, data, or broadband internet service — VoIP phones can work with crystal-clear call quality wherever you are.
Disadvantages of VoIP phone systems
With a phone that runs on the internet, there aren’t many limitations to what you can do — but there are a few. While VoIP systems are always improving, you may experience three disadvantages of VoIP that could affect your business.
1. No offline functionality
When you’re somewhere with no internet, your clients and team members won’t be able to reach you instantly through your business phone number.
Let’s look on the bright side: When you want to vacation in a remote destination, there won’t be any business calls ruining your peace and quiet. 🏕️ Even if you’re without service, VoIP systems will send callers to voicemail, so you can call back later.
If you are on a call through Wi-Fi and you need to step out of the office, depending on your provider you can switch to your data plan without having to call back.
2. Potential for jitter
To help you make calls over the internet, your VoIP service breaks down your audio into small “data packets.” When you and your caller both receive clear messages — as is normally the case — that’s because these bits of data are being assembled on time and in the right order. But when jitter occurs, some packets may be delayed, which can lead to choppy audio and other call quality issues.
The most common cause of jitter? A poor internet connection. VoIP solutions typically use less bandwidth than video conferencing services, but having high-speed internet is still ideal to avoid this disadvantage of VoIP.
3. No built-in emergency services
Non-fixed VoIP phones aren’t tied to a physical location, which is what gives them the mobility that many professionals need. But this can cause issues when calling 911. There’s no way for emergency services to trace your location. If you have a physical address linked to your VoIP account, but you’re working on the go, emergency workers may be dispatched to the wrong location.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also notes that VoIP 911 calls are sometimes routed to an administrative phone line that isn’t properly staffed.
However, your team members can still use their standard cell phone service to call 911 when needed.
Tap into the benefits of VoIP
The advantages of VoIP systems are hard to deny. More ways to save time, more data-backed decisions, and more mobility at a far lower cost. That’s a win-win-win situation in our books. VoIP phones can improve your business communication while keeping your wallet happy.
When you consider VoIP’s advantages and the disadvantages — the latter which may not even affect your business — the perks likely make the switch from traditional phones to internet phones an easy decision.
If you want to test out all the benefits of VoIP phones before you commit, start your free trial of OpenPhone to see how powerful an internet-based system can be.
Emily is a freelance business and marketing writer based in the desert, though her writing is anything but dry. Her passion is writing compelling, human-friendly content that helps growing businesses perform better.