I was a somewhat late proponent of VoIP telephony, despite the growing interest in the technology, and I hesitated to include it in our services portfolio. While the allure of significant cost savings combined with some useful and (admittedly cool) features, we still had zero tolerance for poor call quality.
Not too many years ago, I received an important call from a partner using his firm’s shiny new VoIP phone. After two torturous moments, he told me that he was going to call me right back from his cell phone so that we could hear each other. That experience validated my prevailing VoIP opinion.
Working with a demanding clientele, my hesitation also stemmed from the fear that if one of our clients had a poor call quality experience while speaking with an investor, that it would mean my head prominently displayed on a pike in Central Park.
If you think about it, VoIP, in its purest sense, lets you communicate over the Internet (the “IP” in “VoIP”). This is great until you begin to think about the variability in your general web browsing experiences and you get an idea of the performance risks involved. Hybrid technologies came into play that combined the best of both worlds utilizing VoIP with standard switched technology and often proprietary tech. The experience was quickly improving.
In the post 2008 environment, interest in VoIP gained further traction, not so much due to the tech, but as a means of reducing operating expenses. Fortunately, the voice quality associated with select, properly implemented VoIP systems had improved to the point that voice quality had reached acceptable levels, but there was still room for improvement.
While not really needing any more convincing, there was one last element to consider beyond call quality and feature sets – ease of implementation and support.
Last month, we had two clients relocating offices over the same weekend. In addition to relocating major on-premise network infrastructure, we were also putting new VoIP systems in place. Now, a relocation is not necessarily the ideal time to introduce major changes, voice or otherwise, however the ease with which we were able to get these new systems implemented to the client’s exacting specifications, was simply astounding – particularly when compared to traditional phone system roll-outs.
Beyond exceptional call quality, VoIP’s long running promise of substantial cost savings were immediately recognized. All in all, these redundantly configured systems not only brought increased functionality, but in this case they did so with a 50% reduction in monthly telephony costs.
As an aside, that Monday was business as usual with all IT systems running beautifully. In their post-relo feedback, both firms specifically singled out their pleasure with the new VoIP implementations.