Some VoIP services are feature-rich and perfect for businesses, while others offer only basic functionality at low cost or no cost, making them perfect for consumers.
Most are aware of the consumer-grade VoIP offered by tools like Skype and Google Voice thanks to their low barrier to entry.
But without knowing the advantages of business VoIP services, small business owners are liable to drastically underestimate their value.
Early, free VoIP services weren’t feature-rich enough to replace the business phone systems used by large-scale enterprises, but it was clear this technology was a step forward.
VoIP technology caught the attention of innovators and, with the growing demand, they drove stark improvements to VoIP services making them the first choice for business voice communications.
Here are some of the major improvements business VoIP boasts over consumer-grade services.
Depth of Feature Set
Consumer VoIP platforms like Skype offer very limited functionality because individuals don’t need the same depth of functionality.
In many cases, the ability to make calls over their internet connection is all a consumer is after.
Business VoIP, by contrast, bundles a range of features that empower businesses to manage communications, both between staff and with their clients and customers, on a large scale.
Organisations need a secure phone system that gives them granular control over how calls are routed, plus professional features, like call queues and IVR menus.
Such features are not offered by consumer-grade services.
That means, if you’re a business using a consumer-grade service, your customers can tell.
When you make your clients message you via WhatsApp, or give them a personal phone number instead of an office phone number (even if it’s a virtual phone number), you risk undermining the strength of your brand./p>
But when you put customers in a call queue rather than straight to voicemail or play an informative message outside of your opening hours, customers feel respected and looked after.
Naturally, consumer VoIP services are cheaper than business-focused systems because they are simple. WhatsApp allows you to send messages and voice/video call friends and family over your internet connection for free, after all.
Business VoIP costs more because of the deeper functionality. For your investment, you’ll get a fully-fledged business phone system and the best VoIP providers will include after-sales support at that price.
Business VoIP, however, is much cheaper than other business phone system solutions. Analogue and on-premise phone systems are more expensive to install, run and maintain than hosted VoIP systems.
What’s more, the call costs when using hosted VoIP are far lower.
For example, it costs just 1.5p per minute to call US mobiles from the UK using Yay.com.
With BT, the same call would cost you 62.7p per minute according to their website. That’s a saving of 97% and domestic calls would see you saving 95% on our service.
The quality of business VoIP calls is always going to be much higher than the consumer options. That’s because money and resources have been invested to create a product worthy of business communication.
When you’re making business calls, the stakes are high. If you’re using an unreliable phone service, you risk losing opportunities right when you should be winning them.
This means that stability, while a concern for consumer-grade VoIP services, is critical for business-grade ones. Business VoIP services are literally competing to offer the most stable and reliable service.
Yay.com’s VoIP platform, which distributes its responsibilities across servers at a level of sophistication we’ve not seen replicated anywhere else.
These responsibilities include the initiation and termination of calls and the handling of live voice data packets.
Should any part of our platform have an issue, the data packets that form your call instantly re-establish on another part of the platform with zero call disruption.
This means with us your calls are more stable, and your experience more reliable, than almost anywhere else.
While consumer VoIP has a very similar call experience to a regular call, business VoIP allows you to craft a very specific experience that’s on-brand and enjoyable for your customers.
Being able to set up flexible, custom call routes allows businesses to be intentional in crafting their caller experience.
This means custom messages informing your callers of their position in a queue or letting them know how much you value their call. It means custom IVR menus for callers to shuttle themselves right to the department they want.
But it also means a better internal experience for staff-to-staff calls. Extensions make calling colleagues instant, while added value from features like business instant messaging make for faster collaboration and seamless inter-department communication.
Consumer VoIP systems tend to be standalone platforms. Businesses need their communications to tie into a variety of other services if they are to maximise productivity.
As such, we’ve seen companies like Skype for Business superseded by Microsoft Teams, which allows for integrations to augment its functionality.
When you use a Teams Direct Routing integration from a third-party like Yay.com, you transform Teams’ functionality. This is necessary if you want to provide an excellent caller experience for your customers.
Best Business VoIP Phone System
These are some of the ways that consumer VoIP differs from business VoIP. Each one of these differences comes at a cost, but all of them set business-grade VoIP services far above consumer-level products.
If yours is a business that believes in offering its customers the best experience possible, and its staff the best tools possible to succeed, it makes sense to invest in a business-grade service even if you’re a smaller company.