Cloud-based phone system, more commonly “VoIP,” is named as one of the business strategies, especially for small businesses and startup companies. Is VoIP for you? It is important to know what you can except from the VoIP system to make the right decision for your company.
4 Top Advantages Of Using VoIP
You will save money, a lot of money, by switching to VoIP. It does not require expensive hardwares or maintenance fees unlike the traditional phone services; phone calls can be made and received through your smartphones or desk phones. According to VirtualPBX, Cloud-based phone system can save up to 80% of your phone bill. The long distance call through VoIP is also much cheaper than traditional phone services.
Distance and location do not matter at all to VoIP system. When you are in the office, or at home, or even on the other side of the world, you won’t have any difference in communicating with people. This is a greatest advantage if you have clients/ business partners nationwide, or if you are considering to take your company global.
Integration of communication
Cloud-based phone system makes it much easier to share the business tools operating in the cloud. Employees can access to all tools whenever and wherever they want with their personal devices; no matter where they are, they can stay connected. It increases the productivity and the efficiency of the workflow.
Flexible for your needs
In the cloud-based phone system, you will be able to choose the features you need for your company. VoIP allows to convert the signals from traditional phones and forward it as digital data through the internet. You can request to have your own VoIP number, which enables you to receive and make phone calls at anywhere as long as you have internet. Also, not only the phone calls but videoconferencing is available through your VoIP phone. There are so many convenient functions that you can choose from.
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What You Should Consider
It is also essential to know the downsides of VoIP system before making the final decision.
Reliable internet connection required
You must have reliable internet connection and sufficient bandwidth in order to fully utilize the functions. Without enough bandwidth, some calls may have issues such as lag and delay.
Not for emergency calls
As mentioned earlier, the internet is “must-have” condition for the VoIP phone system. If the power goes out and you do not have the internet connection, you cannot either make or receive calls any longer. Therefore, cloud-based phone system may not be useful in case of emergency.
5 Tips To Choose The Right VoIP Provider
There is plenty of options available for the cloud phone system. If you have decided to switch to VoIP, here is the list of things you want to know in order to choose the right provider.
1. Do research on technology
It is necessary to at least have a basic knowledge about how VoIP works compared to PBX or other business phone services. You can read books, search on internet, or even ask for the professional advices.
2. Evaluate the features
Assess the features to determine what functions will be beneficial for your company and your specific needs. Before start looking for a provider, make a list of the features you would like to have with the order of priority.
3. Know that all cloud phone systems are NOT the same
Not all providers offer the same services or features. It is important to check as many providers as possible and compare them carefully. Do not only focus on price; having all the features you need is vital for the business solution.
4. Check compatibility
The system provider do not always offer the network evaluation for you. Do not forget to ask if your existing network will be able to handle the VoIP software.
5. Know what to expect in downtime
People tend to forget to do the disaster planning, but it is essential. Ask what you can expect for the disaster recovery from the provider; and evaluate if you will be able to maintain your business and keep the data safe.
It requires a lot of researches and efforts to find the right VoIP service, but finding the best fit for your company is important for your business success. Make sure that you understand what you can expect in order to fully take advantage of this advancing technology.
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Business VoIP – The Benefits, Disadvantages And How It Works
Employee training is the investment. Companies secure large amount of their budgets on the employee training regardless of the industry or the company size. According to the ATD 2016 State of the Industry report, companies in the United States spent average $1,252 per employee on trainings in 2015. Each employee spent 33.5 hours per year, and the learning cost was $82/ hr on average. Most of the companies are willing to spend their money, time, and effort to improve the employee quality.
3 Reasons Why The Employee Training Is Important
Here are the reasons why you want to give the full consideration on the employee training/ development.
High quality employees gather and stay
Motivated employees always seek for the opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge. The great training program attracts them, and gives them a reason to stay in your company. It results in decreasing the employee turnover, which is very important to save money; it is very costly to recruit and train the new employee after losing the current one.
More innovative work team
When the employees have access to good learning materials and new information, they are more likely to come up with innovative ideas or solutions.
Boost customer satisfaction level
Employee trainings are the shortcut to improve the customer service. It will increase employees’ awareness on the matters of customer services.
Now you know why many companies invest in the employee development. But how do you find the appropriate budget for your company? Charles Schulz introduces the following method to determine the training budget:
Set The Nudget Based On The Company Goals
Ask yourself these questions before setting the budget.
- What is your main goal to achieve?
- What are the sales goals and the revenue goals?
- How many customers do you need to achieve the goals?
- The numbers of retained customers & new customers you need?
- What and how to improve the product/ service you are offering?
- Can your existing team achieve these goals with current skills?
It will help you to find out what is the specific things to improve or supplement; what makes your company away from the goal? It may be the workplace environment, the lack of knowledge/ skills, or the old-fashioned system. Take your company goals into account when trying to build the on-point training strategies.
Lastly, Decide The Detailed Training Techniques To Use
There are massive options you can choose from for the training methods and materials. Each training technique has advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is essential to understand the characteristics of each method to choose the most effective one for your work team. TrainingToday explains about the training techniques in its article “The Most Effective Training Techniques.”
- What are your training goal (for each session)?
- Who are the trainees?
- How much can you spend on the training?
- How much time can be allocated for the training?
Based on the answers to these questions, determine the best training method/ material for your company. The followings are the five major training methods widely used today.
1. Classroom/ Instructor-led trainings
It is the traditional method, and one of the most popular options of trainings. It includes blackboard/ whiteboard, overhead projector, video, PowerPoint presentation, and storytelling.
- Efficiently introduce a large amount of materials/ information.
- Face-to-face and can be very personal (Especially when it includes storytellings).
- Everyone will gets the same information at the same time.
- Good value for the price.
- It is difficult to schedule a session for the large numbers of employees.
- Sometimes it is not interactive and cannot gain trainees’ attention.
- Effectiveness of the lecture affects the training success too much.
2. Interactive methods
There are many ways to get trainees involved during the sessions. It includes quizzes, group discussions, case studies, active summaries, Q & A session, role playing, demonstrations, and so on.
- Trainees are engaged in the training, and generally gain more information/ knowledge.
- More enjoyable for the trainees.
- Opportunity for veteran employees to pass on their knowledge to new employees.
- In-session feedback to the trainers is possible. (Because of the direct communication between trainer and trainees.)
- Time-consuming because of the activities.
- Sometimes it can be less structured/ organized.
3. Hands-on training
Experiential trainings are very effective for the specific purposes. For instance, cross-training can make trainees improve their skills and produce the employees who can handle more than one job.
Demonstrations are helpful to introduce the steps for new systems or processes, and coaching can focus on individual needs of each employee.
- Efficiently introduces new procedures and equipments.
- The learning contents can be practical immediately after the training.
- Trainers can easily tell if the trainees have learned the contents during the session.
- Not suitable for the large audience.
- Some methods can cause confusion over the system, and reduce the productivity during the training.
4. Computer-Based Training (CBT)
Computer-based training is getting more and more popular and widely used around the world. It has options such as text-only, CD-ROM, multimedia, and virtual reality.
- Easy to use and convenient.
- Often offers customized version of the materials for a variety of needs.
- Most effective in developing and practicing new skills.
- Cost-effective because same program can be used for large group of people.
- Interactive contents are available.
- Enable to track each trainee’s learning status.
- Trainees must have computer literate and computer access.
- Not suitable for the trainings on customer service, sales, and sensitivity trainings.
- Often difficult for trainees to interact with trainers.
5. Online, E-learning
Since the business world has been greatly globalized, it causes the demand for training technology to share the materials with people in different locations worldwide.
- Efficiently deliver the training to multiple locations, and it saves money on travel expense.
- Good for self-directed learning.
- Easily updated with new policies, procedure, regulations, or issues.
- Variety options for trainees with different level of knowledge/ skills.
- Usually cannot be customized for company’s specific needs.
- Trainees must have computer literate.
- Consumes massive bandwidth of your company’s internet service.
- Outdated hardwares could cause issues on receiving the training.
- Limited access to professional advices and quick questions response.
Each company has different purposes and goals to achieve. By understanding all of these aspects of the employee training, you will be able to determine the most efficient and successful methods for your company.
How to Use Your Business Goals to Set Your Employee Training Budget
The Most Effective Training Techniques
ATD Releases 2016 State of the Industry Report
You may have heard about the potential of business VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), or virtual pbx, but are not aware of all the benefits it could bring to your organisation or small business. Here I will explain them.
How it works
To put it simply, VoIP is a way of taking ordinary landline calls and instead sending them digitally over the internet. This method of calling, if used correctly, could revolutionise your current long distance call plan – particularly good for business trips where roaming charges are a problem, or if you’re building relationships overseas.
Since VoIP is digital, you should experience clearer, higher quality calls than you’d have with a traditional landline. As long as your broadband connection is able to adequately support VoIP, you should be able to make calls without any interference or hanging.
Lowering your costs
Although it is true that VoIP could save you money, not all VoIP calls are free. When calling another IP phone, or calling PC to PC, you would not necessarily be charged for the call. However, this changes when you need to call a landline.
The charge will depend on your VoIP service provider, and in some cases it may still be cheaper to use your traditional landline call plan, but you could see considerable savings on your calls.
The option of ip telephony has become more a more realistic route for businesses in recent years because of the increase in high-speed internet usage, and providers.
Major telephone carriers are also becoming wise to the trend and offering their own call plans with are usually charged either on a monthly or pay-as-you-go basis.
IP telephony can be integrated into your business gradually, or all at once, but it does not have to completely replace your existing landline, as the two can be run in tandem with each other. It only takes a couple of hours to set up VoIP within a small company, and it is simple to operate. In fact, many companies are ditching their traditional landlines altogether in favour of a high-speed digital ip service.
Some service providers offer a free service adapter which works alongside your modem and traditional phone, while others provide VoIP handsets and headsets.
For small businesses, VoIP phone can seem like a daunting prospect, but service plans can be tailored to suit your needs so that you only pay for what you use, while optionally still keeping your traditional landline.
There is nothing more frustrating than taking the time to call a company, being routed through what seems a legion of options, and then ending up being told: “Your message is very important to us”. If you run a small business, the routing may not be as complex, but the customer frustrations can still be the same. You may even suffer from potential customers hanging up, going elsewhere – and your business just having lost an opportunity that you will now never even know has existed!
Moving onwards and upwards
With line and equipment costs for a traditional PBX operation often high, along with some of the drawbacks of that system in a world where business is conducted in so many places – both actual and virtual – it is surely time for small business owners to search the heavens for inspiration. Or, more accurately, in the clouds.
The advantages of virtual PBX
Using a cloud-based virtual system has many advantages, both in terms of cost and in the ways it can help you and your team to conduct your business anywhere, at any time, and in many ways. Using business VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and did (direct inward dial) number technology means you are able to:
- Access your communications from virtually any location, in a moment, simply by using an internet connection. Members of your team might work from home, or undertake trips to different locations. With this they can always be in communication with you and your customers, even in the occasional road traffic jam or frustrating airport delay!
- Using a truly flexible system allows you, for example, to have calls to traditional, mobile or internet numbers routed whenever you want to one number – right there in your hand, briefcase, purse or pocket, so that you never miss that vital call. It can also integrate your different methods of communication into a seamless single entity – one that you can amend online and instantly, whenever circumstances change or new needs arise
- A huge choice of additional services are instantly-available to you and your people. These might range from call recording to conference calls, custom ring tones identifying key people to personal greetings messages. You can kill those constant “engaged” tones or organise email delivery
- Virtual PBX offers lower set-up and operation charges and the chance to combine all your communication in this simply-managed resource
The benefits of using business VoIP and a virtual PBX
From the advantages of using this system for your small business communications, you can see advances in both productivity and results. No time is lost through delays caused by having different sources – such as separate mobile and landline locations. Current and potential customers gain contact whenever they need it, and are given the impression of a seamless and professional operation.
Your team will learn how to use the system with very little training, and can quickly focus on getting things done for you, rather than forever chasing one message or another – or trying to find where an email ended up. Through all this, you present your operation as being communicationally switched-on and ready for business.