Does Switching to VoIP Save You Money?
No doubt, you’ll come across many claims from telecom providers of all flavors, telling you how much you’ll save on your calls because of their great prices. It’s a tempting prospect when you read abo...
No doubt, you’ll come across many claims from telecom providers of all flavors, telling you how much you’ll save on your calls because of their great prices. It’s a tempting prospect when you read about double-digit savings, but the illustration may not be relevant to your business.
Massive savings on call costs are possible for companies that operate VoIP and make the majority of their calls to other VoIP users. But, when you analyze your own calling patterns, you might find that the headline savings are much lower.
Fortunately, headline call costs are not the only factor in the price equation. There are tangible savings in other areas, like lower infrastructure or operational costs, for example. And, the intangibles count too, like the improvements in productivity, which can translate into greater profitability.
So, it pays to look beyond the price promises to see what you’re actually saving with VoIP.
Find out what a call package is really worth
Service providers who offer a VoIP service may include a call package in their deal. Some offer unlimited free or low-cost calls anywhere in North America. Other providers might limit the offer to a fixed number of minutes per month, possibly with time restrictions as well. Providers might bundle calls to certain international destinations with competitive rates on domestic calls.
If you’re going for a deal that includes a call package, make sure it suits your calling pattern. And, check the other fees for your service. Higher fees could offset any gains you might make on your call costs.
Check the services included
VoIP offers many services that can improve productivity, collaboration and customer service. When you review a service provider’s offer, check to see which services are included as standard. It may be that the services you need most come at an extra charge.
For example, if you’re new to VoIP, and are considering a softphone service – one that is based on software on your computer that you access via a headset – you may find the range of standard services limited compared to those in a deskphone service. Check another article on this site, “VoIP Services – Available in a Package to Suit Your Business” to help draw up your shopping list and use it to find the offer closest to your list at the best price.
Plan for upgrade cost savings
If you decide to operate VoIP on your own premises, you could face an unplanned cost further down the line. Software upgrades could come with a charge, and you also face the cost of implementing them across the company. If you have a large number of users, you could also face additional license fees.
One way to save on upgrade licenses is to subscribe to open source software where license costs are considerably lower than those for major branded products.
The cost of future upgrades might also encourage you to switch to a hosted solution. Here, the service provider takes responsibility for managing upgrades, eliminating the implementation costs. You should also ask hosting providers if upgrades are included in their service fee. That opens another area for potential savings.
Calculate the extra costs of on-premise solutions
In the debate over hosted or on-premise solutions for VoIP, infrastructure costs often take center stage. Move to a cloud provider and you can eliminate up-front infrastructure investment costs and the associated operating and maintenance costs. Advocates of on-premise solutions argue that the long-term costs of hosted solutions can be higher.
To add more balance to the argument, you also need to look at the costs of power, space and other services required for the infrastructure.
By freeing up space for other uses and reducing energy bills, you could factor other potential savings into your VoIP calculations.
Put a price on the intangibles
VoIP can save your employees time and increase productivity by making them more contactable. It can help you increase sales by integrating customer relationship management systems with your phones, and it can reduce real estate costs by making teleworking and hot-desking an efficient alternative to traditional desk-bound working.
These are the indirect, sometimes intangible, cost savings that you should consider when you evaluate VoIP. Call costs may get the headlines and attract attention, but it’s the wider savings that could make a real difference to your business.