Looking to cut costs for 2020? You might start with VOIP

We don’t endorse particular products, leaving that up to our members to seek their own solutions and decide a company with which to contract. But we can steer you toward some changes in your operation but only after we’ve experienced them.

Are you looking to cut costs in 2020? Probably every member newspaper would respond, “Yes.”

Earlier this Spring, KPA/KPS switched its telephone system to VOIP — Voice Over Internet Protocol.

I was skeptical when Board members Dave Eldridge and John Nelson brought up the thought at last October’s Fall Board Retreat. We’ve been looking for ways to cut costs to save $$$ and they mentioned VOIP as a way to decrease, substantially, our telephone costs. We had something like seven telephone lines, plus two fax numbers and the 800 number and the service cost alone was right at $30 per month¬†for each line. Add on the long distance charges because many of our outgoing calls are long distance, and we were paying $550 to $650 per month just to have telephone service.

Now I had heard of VOIP and was somewhat skeptical. I mean relying on the internet to provide telephone service seemed chancy at best. I took their idea, contacted some press associations with VOIP, who gave a thumbs up, got some proposals and the result was overwhelmingly, “We need to switch to VOIP.”

Early in the history of VOIP, calls were dropped, the quality wasn’t as clear as you are used to, and there had to be enough space (50 mbps is required, 100 mbps that we had was even better). Without that much “space,” VOIP probably wasn’t a solution.But technology has changed and what I was told repeatedly was that calls are seldom lost anymore.

We received three proposals to switch from landline to VOIP and all three came in with comparable costs. And in all three cases, the proposal included brand new phones because it’s a different system. So the new phones are leased and included in the monthly price that’s now less than $250 per month, a far cry from the $550 to $650 we had been paying for landline service.

There are extra benefits with the system as well. We have the main dial-in number as always — 502-223-8821 — but staff members are assigned their own numbers so they can receive direct calls. And if the employee so chooses, any incoming call to his/her line will forward the call to the employee’s cell phone. Automatically. For instance, a call to my number will ring at the desk three times and if the call is not answered, it will then forward to my cell. So we could all be sitting at home, a person calls our office number and we’d get the call as if we’re sitting at the desk. Of course, some employees don’t want to be bothered with calls after hours, if they’re on vacation or if it’s the weekend. But if treated as a 24/7/365 job, then the employee may never miss a call.

If you have a number of lines and phones, if you want to decrease your costs, if you want to cut out long distance call charges totally, and even do away with your 800 number — calls to the KPA 800 number had decreased to less than 10 a month — then investigate VOIP. It could well be worth your time.

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