While many business-to-customer communications are now performed by email, phones are still frequently used for this purpose. Consumers often prefer to talk directly to a sales representative rather than relaying emails back and forth. As a business owner, you should invest in a phone system that allows customers to call. With that said, you don’t have to necessarily use a landline. You can use a VOIP service as an alternative solution.

What Is a VOIP?

An acronym for “Voice over Internet Protocol,” VOIP is a type of internet-based voice communications technology. It works by compressing voice data — typically using either linear predictive coding (LPC) or modified discrete cosine transform (MDCT) — so that it can travel long distances over the internet.

VOIP services don’t require a physical landline. They only require an internet connection as well as a subscription to a VOIP service. Once configured, the VOIP service will function much like a regular landline but with a few key differences.

Advantages of VOIP

VOIP offers several advantages when compared to landlines, one of which is a low startup cost. It’s typically cheaper to set up a VOIP than it is to set up to a landline. If you use a landline at your business, you’ll have to purchase and install phones for it. A VOIP still requires the use of phones, but you’ll spend less money on both the service and the equipment than you would with a landline.

VOIP supports conference calling — something that’s typically not found in landlines. With conference calling, you can hold meetings with your business’s employees by phone. The conference calling feature of VOIP allows you to talk to multiple people simultaneously.

Another advantage of using VOIP is integrated support for multimedia. Traditional landlines aren’t capable of sending multimedia. Rather, they can only send audio signals. With VOIP, however, you send and receive videos, photos and other forms of multimedia.

Disadvantages of VOIP

On the other hand, VOIPs are susceptible to downtime during internet outages. If your business currently has an unreliable internet connection that regularly experiences outages, it could have an adverse effect on your business’s ability to send and receive calls. VOIP relies on an active internet connection to function, and when the internet goes down, the service goes offline with it.

VOIP services also consume bandwidth. Nearly all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have limits on how data their customers can download in a given month. With VOIP, all your business’s calls will be routed through the internet, meaning it will consume some of your business’s bandwidth.