VoIP is a term that’s tossed around pretty commonly these days, whether in business circles or even in regular conversation. You don’t want to sound like you’re incompetent in these conversations, so here’s a quick guide with everything you need to know about the absolute basics of VoIP.

VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol. Essentially, what that means is you can enjoy your phone services over a different medium, most often the Internet, instead of using a dedicated phone line. As many locations now have internet access these days, it is a simple matter to create a phone number and have a virtual phone line. This is especially nice for small businesses that already have an internet connection and don’t want to try to figure out the hassle of a business phone.

As with any other system, there are pros and cons to using it. Here are just a few:

PROS

There isn’t an extra phone bill each month.

You’ll still need some kind of service to help you handle calls, but the phone won’t be on your list of bills to pay.

You usually don’t have to get a new phone number if you change over.

Often, you can get your current number ported to a new system and keep it, so you don’t have to worry about confusing customers or losing business because people don’t know about a new number yet.

It’s usually cheaper.

Between standard costs and maintenance, it is usually less expensive to run a VoIP system than a traditional phone system, especially in a business where you might need special services like multiple lines and other features.

You can often combine multiple services with VoIP.

Phone, email, fax, live chat and more can be combined with many VoIP systems to even further reduce the number of services you’re using.

You can make and receive calls on different devices.

With VoIP, you can often have calls routed to your cell phone so you can still answer them even after you’ve left the restaurant for the day (or before you come in).

CONS

If your internet goes down, your phone does, too.

Even aside from a power outage, if something happens to your internet connection, your VoIP phone is basically toast. No calls in, no calls out. If your restaurant is still open but your internet is down, you run the risk of losing business you might otherwise get. That is, of course, unlikely, but it is a possibility.

Heavy use can decrease the quality of calls.

If you are on a shared bandwidth system, or have high traffic on your system, your call quality can suffer. Latency – or delays – and other quality issues may make it hard to communicate with people on your VoIP system.

If your provider has connection issues, service issues, or attacks by hackers, your service goes down.

When your VoIP or ISP goes down, you automatically have phone issues. This is, of course, very similar to what happens when your phone company has connection problems, so it’s mostly a tradeoff from one system to another, but it is still an obvious inconvenience.

VoIP systems are vulnerable to privacy issues.

Anything that passes through an internet-connected device or system is automatically in danger of being hacked. That means, while highly unlikely, it is possible for personal data and conversations to be compromised.

In spite of the somewhat scary-sounding cons listed above, VoIP is a cheaper and more convenient alternative to traditional business phone lines, which is why it’s becoming so popular.

So what’s the deal with Reachify, then?

Reachify is a VoIP provider with full phone service capabilities but also several extra features that can help you make day-to-day restaurant business run smoothly. Features include phone services, automated menus, call deflection, texting and team chat functionality in one convenient service. If you would like to learn more about what we offer, click here.