Wall and ceiling professionals today face numerous challenges: a global pandemic, the affects it has had on the global supply chain, and how they respond to customers, prospects and the public using the latest communications tools.

Many in the industry have decided to switch to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems from traditional phone landlines to run their businesses more efficiently for a myriad of reasons: significant cost savings; the ability for them to work literally from anywhere while still using their office phone number; and the numerous features VoIP provides.

This article is intended to help wall and ceiling professionals understand VoIP and to help determine if switching to a VoIP system is right for you. (For a deeper dive on VoIP, download the free VoIP Guidebook.

What are VoIP Phone Systems?

Voice over Internet Protocol phones, as the name implies, use the internet to make and receive calls. Some service providers enable you to use analog phones, but the majority provide IP (Internet Protocol) phones that can be plugged into any Ethernet jack.

Once connected, you can easily make and receive calls. Using a web portal and login, you can customize numerous features, such as the Virtual Receptionist welcome message or adding new users.

VoIP vs. Traditional Landline Phones

The most significant difference between VoIP and landline phones, in a word, is technology. Landline phones haven’t changed much since the beginning of the 20th Century and require an infrastructure of wiring and exchange hardware. By today’s standards, landline phone technology is limited, allowing users to only make and receive voice calls.

VoIP technology has changed how companies communicate. While IP capabilities have been around several decades, VoIP services have advanced in recent years, thanks to innovation and faster internet speeds.

Unlike landline phones that require add-ons for features at additional costs, VoIP systems come with an array of popular communication features already built in.

How VoIP Systems Work

VoIP phones work by turning your voice into data, which is then transmitted over the internet, like sending emails.

If you’ve used Skype, you’ve used VoIP. VoIP calls are made on your phone, connected to the internet with a network cable or adapter, or via a computer’s microphone and speakers using an app. When making calls, the VoIP service provider routes the voice data between you and the other caller—all within a split second.

VoIP Systems Transform Communications

As your business grows, having a phone system that aligns with the publics’ expectations is critical. Unlike traditional landlines, VoIP systems come with powerful features to help businesses make big impressions. These include:

  • Virtual Receptionist: missing important client calls or new business from those looking for your services because your phone is busy, or your greeting is unprofessional, is easily resolved by a Virtual Receptionist. When someone can’t take a call, the Virtual Receptionist takes over. Instead of hearing a busy signal or being put on hold, callers listen to a message and can be given several options on how to proceed.
  • Ring Groups: to ensure every caller into your business has a positive experience, you can program Ring Groups to ring simultaneously—so everyone in a department, like sales or customer care, receives the call; or ring sequentially—from person to person, until someone picks up.
  • Mobility: staying connected to the public when you and your employees are away from the office working with clients is especially critical today. It’s not practical or professional for employees to use their personal number for business. VoIP systems, unlike landlines, support working remotely through mobile and desktop apps, as well as voice messages forwarded as email attachments—allowing employees to make and receive calls from anywhere in much the same way they would from the office.
  • Virtual Fax: faxing remains an important form of communication for many businesses. With VoIP phone systems, you can still send traditional faxes from your phone to a fax machine. Virtual Fax removes the need for fax equipment. Faxes are converted to PDF files and managed within the end-user portal. Each user who needs access will have fax capabilities via their phone extension. The account manager can review the logs to track all Virtual Fax activity.
  • Keep Existing Phone Number: keeping your business phone number, your lifeline, makes the transition to an IP system seamless. The moment you plug in your phones, you’ll be able to make and receive calls. No need to change your business cards, letterhead and website information. Your VoIP service provider can take care of moving your number to your new system.

Key Advantages of VoIP Systems

  • Important Impression: how clients and prospects view your business often depends on their initial phone interaction. Do they hear a welcome message with easy directions, or are they put on hold immediately? Whether your business has two, 20 or 50+ employees, your business will sound professional with a VoIP phone system.
  • Excellent Call Quality: with technology advances and increased internet speeds, your VoIP phones will provide the call quality you need.
  • Reduced Costs: lower costs are one of the most appealing benefits for wall and ceiling professionals to switch to VoIP systems. Those with landlines understand the significant expense—set-up fees, monthly costs, per-line expenses, etc.—all add up, including IT support. To calculate how much you could save by switching to a VoIP system, use the VoIP Savings Calculator.
  • Connect With Remote Teams: employees today are literally working everywhere. A VoIP system provides the tools to communicate with staff effortlessly—no matter where employees are—in the office or working with clients on location.