Jan 12th 2010
By Chad Brubaker, www.emochila.com
In our day-to-day life we use our cell phones more and more due to reasonable rate plans and ease of accessibility. Why not apply this same reasoning when considering your office communications needs, especially in cases involving long distance and international clientele? Any accountant who has tallied up a hefty telephone bill would definitely agree that the firm might benefit from utilizing the other resources available such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This is the general term for voice communications being transmitted over the Internet. Many firms have made the switch over to VoIP after realizing the savings and realizing the value they can achieve. For example, many VoIP services, such as Vonage, offer a flat rate unlimited long distance plan for under thirty dollars a month, a fraction of what you pay for per-call plans, especially if you have clients out of state.
First, because VoIP companies such as Comcast and Vonage charge customers per amount of data transferred and not by minutes, they are able to charge a lot less than traditional phone companies. The only requirements for starting service are a router and sufficient Internet bandwidth. You are able to perform more or less the same functions that traditional phone services provide such as faxing, dial in dictation, on hold, and call recording. Vonage and Comcast hava been the leading service providers for voice over IP with millions of users worldwide. Skype is another good option when cutting costs.
How does this translate to gaining more clients? With the recent craze dedicated to Internet marketing, accountants have had one major question: Is the quality of the lead generated going to equal that of a referral from a client? Additionally, the cost-per-lead generated by the Internet may very well surpass that of the cost-per-lead of simply giving your existing client base a call on the phone. Generally, an existing client is going to offer a better quality lead at a lower cost-per-lead price. VoIP can be a major factor in this ratio. If you’re paying dollars per long distance call on a traditional land-line, you might need to resort to Internet marketing. However, if you’re paying a flat rate for all your long distance calls, you might reap the reward of the good old fashioned method of “asking your clients for referrals.”
With that said, another aspect to take into consideration for accountants is the advantage of having a sales force dedicated to building new clientele. If your firm takes this approach then the most cost effective and reasonable decision would be using one of these VoIP providers. You can operate from anywhere in the world and possess a local phone number. Many business owners have realized the benefits of using voice over IP and are currently reporting savings of hundreds of dollars off their monthly overhead.