Are you Still Paying Heavily for International Calls?

Posted on: 2017-12-15 | Categories:SIP

Once upon a time, the Plain Old Telephone System ruled the roost. The calls you could make and the price you paid for them depended on geography to a large extent. A local call cost next to nothing but calling someone on the other side of the country was more expensive. International calls were the costliest but for most people also quite rare. Unless you were a jet setting millionaire or a high-ranking executive, most of us didn’t have much of a reason to make international calls very often.

Things have changed quite a bit since then. Multinational corporations are not the only businesses who need to make international calls on a daily basis. Even a small business may be dealing with customers or suppliers scattered across the world. More businesses are switching to VoIP systems every day and it’s not surprising why. You can get more value for the same amount of money you pay your traditional phone operator with VoIP. Or you can slash your phone bills substantially if all you need are the basics.

While it is not surprising that enterprises have international communication needs, even consumers make more long-distance calls than ever before. Many people have friends and family living abroad or move around quite a bit themselves. Single person startups and entrepreneurs (especially web-based ones) need to contact people in other countries often. Corporations use enterprise class VoIP systems and consumers have their own networks for VoIP calls. Who hasn’t used Skype or even WhatsApp to call someone on the other side of the world?

Something Is Still Missing

In the age of widespread consumer and enterprise class VoIP, it can be a bit jarring to have to call an international landline number. But this is still a thing and it happens more often than you would expect. You can buy a phone made by a Korean company in the US while on a business trip from France. What happens when you have an issue with the phone while in Germany and you have to contact customer service? You have to call an international landline number.

In spite of using VoIP systems for their internal communications, quite a few businesses use landline numbers for their international customers. What’s even more surprising is that these numbers generally feed into the internal VoIP system anyway. But since you are calling an international landline number, you have to pay exorbitant prices!

Don’t companies realize that this is a huge gap in their communication strategy? Consumers are used to VoIP systems that led them to experience HD quality video conference calls for free. But organizations expect their customers to contact their sales or service office and pay long-distance charges. Depending on where you’re calling from and where you’re calling to, you might find yourself paying hundreds of dollars for 20 minute conversations. We’ve all experienced situations where it takes much longer than that to resolve a problem.

Not only are traditional long-distance calls more expensive but they’re riddled with audio quality issues (static, call drops, delays, abrupt moments of silence) that we have long since forgotten with VoIP. It’s quite ironic that quality issues hindered the initial adoption of enterprise VoIP. Now we find that traditional calls cannot compare to the clarity and quality of IP calls.

It’s Time to Bridge the Gap

For companies that are only now switching to VoIP, it is understandable that they don’t have the infrastructure for customers to contact them. But there is no excuse for organizations that have not only embraced VoIP but have moved on to unified communication suites as well. Why is that your employees can contact each other with VoIP but your customers cannot? In most cases, the simple answer is that the company hasn’t considered all the use cases for VoIP since deployment.

One of the many benefits that come with VoIP is the ability to purchase local numbers in multiple countries. It doesn’t matter where you have your offices or headquarters. You can buy as many local numbers with the relevant area codes as you need. Some countries have additional documentation and procedures for companies that don’t have a local presence. Other nations will not have any such requirements.

If you purchase VoIP services from an external vendor, they can guide you in purchasing local numbers. Customers can call these numbers without incurring long-distance charges and they won’t even know that you don’t have an office in their area. As far as they’re concerned, they are calling a local number. It doesn’t matter that your sales or service staff is sitting in a neighboring state or a country on the other side of the world.

Mobile apps like WhatsApp and Skype have billions of users that are quite used to free VoIP calls. It’s about time that corporations extended the same service to their paying customers!