Managed voice is not your dad’s VoIP (voice over internet protocol). Gone are the jittery lines, garbled voices and dropped calls. Advances in technology have made VoIP calls a clear, reliable and cost-effective solution for small and medium sized businesses—as long as they are configured and maintained correctly. That last part is where managed service providers (MSPs) come in.
Hosted phone solutions for business are the most reliable and cost effective when they are well-managed. Managed voice simply combines both voice and data into a fully integrated network, one that prioritizes voice data over other internet traffic. Because configuration and integration with your data network is so important for a successful hosted phone solution, some MSPs, like Aeko, offer managed voice services to their customers.
The term “managed voice” is often used interchangeably with unified communications or unified communications as a service (UCaaS).
Benefits of Managed VoIP for Business Over PBX Systems
Whether your business has four lines or 40, a managed voice system is able to handle them with ease. Choosing VoIP for business over a physical PBX system has many advantages for small businesses and very few disadvantages.
First, you’ll only pay for what you need and your costs will be adjusted based on the number of phones you use, not how many calls you make. Plus PBX telephone equipment is expensive, takes up space and requires staff with the technical knowledge to maintain.
Managed voice systems can manage all your voice communications from a central web console no matter how many extensions you have or where they are located, including off site. It’s cheaper than landlines and can include video conferencing /team collaboration and is easily scalable without special IT knowledge.
Cost Effectiveness of Managed Voice
In terms of monthly cost, VoIPs are typically 50 percent cheaper than landlines. Part of that is because landlines have copper wiring fees and PBX charges. VoIPs don’t.
Landline phones often charge for extra services such as call forwarding, call waiting and caller ID. Those types of services and more are included with VoIPs/managed voice systems. Long distance calls are included with most, too–not so with landline providers.
With managed voice, you get access to voice conferencing, voicemails sent to your email, automated attendants and computer integration. It turns your computer, smartphone or tablet into a “softphone,” by way of an app. Translation: It goes where you go so you can access it from anywhere. Voicemail, auto attendant, do not disturb, as well as mute, hold and transfer are all included.
There is also some cost savings related to freeing up staff and space in the office. You will no longer need space for PBX systems nor the staff to maintain it. Instead, you get a system that handles multiple functions, is user friendly and is easily scalable, up or down.
Scalability of Managed VoIP for Business
A managed voice system is scalable in both directions. That means it is easy to add on new lines as you grow and even to scale back when needed, such as for seasonal lulls. You only pay for what you are using, not investing in equipment that ends up gathering dust.
In fact, with a VoIP system, when you want to add more phones, all the lines in the system will be updated automatically. Every component of your hosted business phone system can be easily adjusted by your managed voice provider.
If you are using landlines, there are expenses for each new line, plus buying new phones and adjusting the system to accept them.
User-Friendly Managed Voice Features
Managed voice systems can be customized with a user-friendly interface. The interface allows the user, for example, to route all incoming calls to a single number or multiple numbers based on a variety of specific conditions such as day of the week, time of day, etc.
Another popular feature is the ability to digitize voicemails into text and send them out in an email. There are many features that can be customized to your company’s specific needs.
Are There Any Drawbacks of Managed VoIP for Small Business?
Honestly, there are very few situations where a managed voice plan would not be recommended. The only critical factor is your internet connection. If your business location(s) has spotty or slow internet connections, a VoIP system may not be right for you.
Of course, if your business has spotty or slow internet connections, that is a challenge you also likely need to overcome for future growth and profitability.
Other than a good internet connection, all you need for a hosted phone solution is a VoIP router, a Cat-5e ethernet cable and an expert who can help you configure your system. Keep in mind that with any VoIP, your physical location isn’t transmitted like it is with a landline. But there are many other ways to let clients know your locations, including a website with your physical address, phone number and email address or a contact us form.
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