Brad Monks of VosTel explains why IP Telephony will be the standard for SMEs within the next few years.
Having discussed setting up special-use domain names so that you can measure the web traffic from print adverts and other offline promotions, I was contacted by one of the more go-ahead internet telephony providers, VosTel, who suggested that we also discuss how easy it is nowadays to set up special-use telephone numbers. Brad Monks from the company takes up the case.
"Following on from the recent theme of telecoms I thought an awareness of IP (Internet Protocol) telephony may be beneficial to readers, most of who will be using a POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) rather than PANS (Pretty Amazing New System). IP telephony is emerging in the UK SME business sector now, after many larger companies and corporations have been utilising VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) for many years; in the USA and Australia IP communications is fast becoming the standard for all sizes of business.
"The high costs of migrating telephony from analogue to IP have often been the deciding factor for businesses to continue with existing systems, but now companies such as VosTel are breaking through the cost barriers. Reductions of line rentals and call costs are not the only draw. Features such as time of day routing, call recording, remote extensions, IVR’s (interactive voice response) and the myriad of features available are now made affordable to even the most frugal of businesses.
"Hosted telephony packages also mean that a company no longer has the cost of purchasing and maintaining expensive equipment such as PBXs and switching equipment; add this to the cost and time savings gained by utilising the benefits of IP telephony and it is easy to see why experts predict this generation of communications will be the standard for SMEs within the next few years.
"One of the real growth areas at VosTel is "marketing specific numbering". In short, we provision a telephone number (any UK geographic or non-geographic) which a client uses for a website, specific mailshot, advertising hoarding, individual customer, magazine advertisement etc, and calls to that number are forwarded to the client's usual telephone number by VosTel.
"The cost for this service is just £2.99 per month to retain the number, and a call forwarding cost of 1p per minute to UK landlines, or 9.4p per minute to a UK mobile. Add to this the fact that contracts can be monthly, and that you get a spreadsheet showing what number called, what number they dialled (if a client uses multiple numbers), when it was called and what number the call was delivered to, then you can see why this is such a powerful tool for marketing professionals. By using this concept a caravan park recognised that some very expensive advertising which they thought generated a significant income for them did in fact generate little revenue …all for less than £5!"