Needing new equipment can be hell for a small business like mine. It’s bad enough having to replace items which are broken because at least we have insurance for that and service contracts with our IT providers but when new equipment is needed replace perfectly working apparatus just because technology has moved on is enough to have the most successful business or company wondering how they’ll be able to afford the products and the work required.
Take this hosted VOIP for example. I’ve held off on it for as long as I could because of the costs. We’re not, like most other small businesses, doing particularly well at the moment although we’re still going which is better than a lot of our competitors but having a bill for thousands to have hosted VOIP installed and maintained might have finished us off.
Of course, that’s what I thought before I looked into it properly: now I could just kick myself for not thinking of it sooner.
The Initial Costs
Like many other people, I immediately thought that computerized phone calls would cost the earth and not be worth the price tag.
I felt a little silly when I realised how VOIP works and why the costs are so low. When a provider first explained that VOIP means that telephone calls are conducted over the internet rather than the phone lines and that hosted VOIP means that the provider takes care of the connection and sending the calls I was a bit surprised. It sounded a lot simpler than I’d built it up to be in my head.
When they then told me that installation of the new system cost next to nothing and we could do it on our existing phone system you could have knocked me down with a feather. I expected that we’d need a brand new telephone system, a new server for our computer system and probably a new receptionist who could make sense of it all.
I was shocked to realise that not only did we not need anything new but that it wouldn’t alter the way we use our phones at all. They installed everything and showed us how it works. The only thing that’s changed is the way that the calls travel and the amount we pay, more on that in a minute, but in terms of us changing or me paying through the nose I’m delighted.
The Costs of Calling
I also imagined, again wrongly, that calling costs would increase dramatically if we went over to hosted VOIP. The provider asked me to imagine hosted VOIP as being similar to sending emails. Just as there’s no way that you would pay the internet provider for each individual email you or your business sends, hosted VOIP means that individual calls are all covered by the monthly fee and as they take place on broadband, they don’t involve an individual cost per call.
I’m absolutely thrilled with hosted VOIP. Not only does it give us the calling facilities we need but we’ve significantly reduced our costs in doing it.