Believe it or not, information found on the Internet is not always factual. Big surprise right? This is no different when it comes to researching technology for your business. There are folks out there writing articles that, on the surface, appear to be very helpful – but beware. They are trying to get your information and sell it. More on that in a moment.
Case in point, let’s look at a recent article I found on VoIP News called ‘Every Business Can Use VoIP.’ Sounds harmless enough right? VoIP is a relatively new technology – lots of businesses have heard of it and are interested in utilizing its benefits…but EVERY business can use VoIP? Hmm…not so sure about that.
First bullet point says that, even if you have a legacy VoIP system, you can use VoIP. Just get some IP phones and some ATA’s! IP phones are cheaper and more feature rich! Then the article goes on to say that using an ATA doesn’t give you all the features of the IP phone – so they disproved their own argument. And cheaper? Perhaps – but, just like anything, you’ll get what you pay for…cheap IP phones are often exactly that – cheap. For a quality IP phone, you’ll pay somewhere between $150-$300 bucks. Not exactly cheap, and probably in the same range of comparable phones that attach to your legacy system that do not compromise the features.
The article then goes on to say that it doesn’t matter what level of IT expertise you have. This is a dangerous statement to make. Implementing VoIP into an environment that is not suited for VoIP costs money, wastes time, increases frustration for employees and customers and can LOSE you business if your phones are down, or if your customers’ can’t hear you due to poor quality. This statement drives me nuts because it is just so wrong. I have seen countless instances of customers implementing VoIP into a network that isn’t capable of handling it. All it leads to is frustration and anger, and the most common cause was lack of education.
Finally, the article claims that one of the biggest benefits is flexibility. I agree that VoIP can be more flexible than traditional telephony, however that doesn’t mean that it’s without its limits. You have to know what you’re buying, and what the capabilities are. Some VoIP phone systems don’t have the ability to integrate with any custom software or CRM systems. Other VoIP phone systems lock down their phones so that you can never use them with another vendor. Flexibility in terms of being able to unplug a phone, move it to another desk, and plug it back in is great – you no longer have to deal with 66 blocks and punch-down tools – but don’t think every VoIP system is flexible like a yoga instructor – that’s just not the case.
So, if this article is so misleading and disingenuous, why is it on voip-news.com and who is writing this stuff anyway? The people writing this stuff are folks who want to sell your information. They are masters of marketing and SEO. They make sure to write many of these types of ‘fluff’ articles that are designed to get clicks and views so that a percentage of viewers will call their telephone number or fill out a contact form. Once they have your information, they sell it to phone system vendors, and you become a ‘hot lead’ for their Sales department.
Look at this nice gentleman on voip-news.com:
Looks like a nice guy – and look at that – if I call the phone number, he must be the expert in VoIP they’re referring to. The picture kind of looks like they type of photo tech companies use to show you that their employees are real people – “here – stand against this white wall for the obligatory company photo.” But where have I seen this guy before? Oh yea – on other similar sites.
Wow! This guy knows a lot. He’s the same expert on VoIP, ERP, CRM, and probably a handful of other acronyms. Funny though that the actual information on these pages is vague, and they don’t really seem to be proponents of any single phone system, ERP, or CRM vendor. Hmm.
Case in point – I recently worked with a small business customer who has an NEC DSX digital phone system with 3 extensions and 2 POTS lines. They are in a pretty rural area, and their Internet service is DSL. Being that they’re pretty far from the DSL provider, they have high latency and about 15-20% packet loss. Their Internet service isn’t ideal, but it works OK for email and regular web surfing. VoIP would be a different story though. If I went in there, talked the talk and said all of the best buzz words and got them to purchase a VoIP system, they would have a horrible time. Call quality would be in the toilet, and the money spent would be completely wasted. You may argue that I could sell them a VoIP system that utilizes the POTS lines for dialtone, but uses VoIP for the extensions – sure…that would work. But their NEC system is only a couple of years old, and it works fine – so what’s the point? They wouldn’t have any additional features, but would be out a bunch of cash. The best thing for them is to stay where they are until they NEED to swap out that digital system…they’re good for another 3-5 years.
If you’re considering VoIP (or any other technology for that matter), please do some research, take the time to educate yourself on the subject, and be confident in your decision before you open your wallet. If you are interested in help, there are REAL VoIP experts out there who are happy to assist, will listen to your particular situation and tailor a solution that works for your company and your budget – who work for YOU, and not the highest bidder. Full disclosure – I’m one of them.
For VoIP consulting or VoIP software solutions, please contact Chris Sherwood at Crosstalk Solutions – https://crosstalksolutions.com.