As businesses look for ways to take advantage of the latest technology, one of the biggest changes has been the rise of VoIP. While it has been around for several decades in some form, widespread and high-speed internet has made VoIP much more accessible and it is now a popular choice for companies around the world.

But what is VoIP? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using VoIP? This article will give you a clear VoIP definition and help you better understand what is VoIP and how to use it in your business.

What is VoIP?

You may have seen the term VoIP used when describing the latest technology used for making phone calls. But what is VoIP phone service?

VoIP Meaning

Voice over Internet Protocol — the technology that enables users to make voice calls using the internet instead of phone lines.

Unlike a traditional telephone system — which sends an analog signal through a phone line to a physical exchange — Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) works by converting audio into a digital signal that can be then sent as data packets. In the same way that you can use the internet to send and receive emails, photos and videos, Voice over Internet Protocol allows people to have a conversation over the internet in real time.

what is voip

As more people around the world gain reliable internet access, the infrastructure is in place for companies to move on from the traditional phone solution to a VoIP solution and the benefits that come with it.

How does VoIP work?

For a VoIP call to work, it’s essential that the conversation is in a format that can be transferred over the internet. So, rather than an analog phone signal, you need to have a digital signal.

In order to convert audio signals into digital packets, you either need hardware devices or software-based processes. Nowadays, pretty much all users have access to devices, such as smartphones and computers, which support VoIP calls without any additional hardware (such as a dedicated Voice over IP phone or VoIP computer).

As long as they have a reliable internet connection, businesses can use Voice Over IP networking for all their phone-based needs. With mobile broadband such as 3G, 4G or 5G, you can also have Voice over IP mobile, creating a truly remote phone solution.

However, there are also digital call solutions that can fulfill specific business requirements, both for their staff and their customers. For example, with SnapCall’s VoIP service, businesses can allow any customers with an internet connection to speak directly with their sales and support teams, from any digital platform.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using VoIP?

One of the game-changing advantages of VoIP is how much cheaper it is for businesses to make and receive calls, something that’s especially useful for sales and support teams. Rather than worrying about how much you’re being charged for each minute you’re on the phone with a customer, a VoIP subscription plan that includes all your calls, anywhere in the world, is a huge cost-saver.

All you need to get started is an internet connection, a computer and/or a mobile device, and audio equipment; a basic headset with headphones and a microphone is sufficient. This is useful for both smaller teams who are operating on a tighter budget and larger teams who need to equip hundreds of users.

Another important advantage is that a VoIP system isn’t tied to a physical location. Whether they’re working from their desk in the office, at home, or in another country entirely, users can make and accept calls. As the shift to remote work continues, people are increasingly seeing the appeal of a flexible VoIP solution.

For companies with an international presence, a VoIP such as SnapCall makes it possible to offer all your customers a contact number. In most countries, obtaining a business phone number requires you to have a physical presence, such as an office in that country. A VoIP means you can offer calls from anywhere in the world, without having to worry about any regulations.

voice over internet protocol
SnapCall enables businesses to offer free voice calls to their customers right from the website or mobile application

This was the situation for Devialet, a company with customers around the world:

As Devialet is operating in 45 countries, including Asia region, Australia, and New Zealand, it has always been our goal to provide top-notch voice support in all our operating countries. Due to Telco regulations, it’s costly to provide traditional phone support in these markets. SnapCall helps us save big.

Customers also benefit when businesses use VoIP phones. With SnapCall, customers don’t have to worry about expensive premium-rate numbers or international calls — every call made with SnapCall is 100% free for the customer, without requiring them to have any special hardware or download any additional software.

However, there are also potential disadvantages that businesses need to be aware of. Unlike traditional phone lines, which take their power from the local telephone exchange, you usually won’t be able to use a VoIP system during a power cut.

You’ll also need a reliable internet connection. While the required internet speed for VoIP is low (using less than 0.5mbps), you still need a consistent connection. Sound quality can also vary depending on the specific situation (although this can often be improved by using best practices). Additionally, in certain cases, VoIP systems aren’t able to contact emergency call services. Of course, if you’re using VoIP exclusively to engage with your customers, that won’t be a concern.

Top VoIP phone system features

It’s important to be clear on what you intend to use a VoIP system for and ensure that any solution you consider can meet those requirements. Along with the advantages already discussed, VoIP solutions offer a wide range of features that can help boost your team's efficiency and increase customer satisfaction.

Customer insights

With traditional phone systems, you know nothing about the person on the other end of the phone. SnapCall’s VoIP solution enables you to see valuable customer data and insights into their customer journey before you even pick up the phone, including their name, email address, shopping cart contents, location, ticket history, and even customer intent.

Call filtering

A VoIP system means you can be more strategic with your communication. Rather than having a phone number that can be rung by anyone at any time, SnapCall lets you segment your users so they only see the option to use the service when there’s an agent available — meaning your customers won’t be waiting for hours on hold. You can even prioritize your work by enabling voice calls for selected personas, high-value transactions, or customers with complex queries.

Improved analytics

If you want to improve your phone support, you have to be able to analyze your calls and identify potential areas of improvement. With a VoIP system, it’s easier to see data associated with your calls. For example, SnapCall allows you to visualize your call history, see what devices your customers use, review customer feedback and assess your team’s performance.

Conclusion

VoIP technology is increasing in popularity, and for good reason. By using digital, businesses can cut costs while having greater flexibility—perfect for both office-based and remote teams. Along with these benefits, VoIP solutions like SnapCall also come with features that can transform your business, from access to more customer data and improved analytics.

Interested in upgrading to a VoIP platform? SnapCall is the ideal VoIP solution for sales and support teams, with plenty of features that can level up your phone service. Book a demo with us today.