If you’re like most Americans, you probably ditched your home landline a long time ago. According to CBS News, more than one-in-four U.S. homes, or 26.6 percent, had only a wireless phone as of June 2010. But even with the rapid deterioration of landlines in homes, many small businesses still depend on a landline service for their office communications.
Today, we’re cutting the cord on this topic and sharing the pros and cons of dropping your landline.
Alternatives to a Landline
Before jumping into the pros and cons of losing your landline, it’s important to understand the alternatives for having a landline service for your small business. A clear alternative is using a cell phone service, either by providing company cell phones or by picking up part of your employee’s cell phone bill.
Not surprisingly, cell phones aren’t the only things making landlines obsolete – technology is involved as well! With VOIP (voice over internet protocol) services becoming more reliable than ever before, many small business owners are turning to Google Voice or Skype to take their business calls. To learn more about the differences between these two services, we recommend this article by Geek Sugar: What’s the Difference Between Google Voice and Skype?
Pros of Losing your Landline
Save Money – The most obvious pro for VOIP is the price – it’s much more affordable than a traditional landline service. In some situations, a VOIP system may actually be free. For example, you can download Skype and make conference calls for free. To do a video conference call, however, you’ll have to pay an additional monthly fee.
Increased Mobility - Another pro is the portability in VOIP and cell phone services. Rather than being tied to your desk when you’re waiting on a client call, you can go anywhere, because your cell phone or laptop can go wherever you do.
Cons of Losing your Landline
Internet Connectivity – One obvious con of cutting your landline in favor of a VOIP service is the consideration of internet being down – if your Internet connection is down, you will be without phone service as well. While there are certainly ways to handle a situation like this (like going to a coffee shop to work for the day), it is an inconvenience and something to consider before making the leap to VOIP.
Poor Quality – Another important con to consider regarding both VOIP and cell phone calls is the quality concern. In an area with bad service, your call may not have the same great voice clarity or the dependability, as both services can drop calls in area with low service.
As with any business decision, it’s important to take both the pros and cons into consideration before making the jump to a new phone service. Our recommendation, though, is to give VOIP a try. First, because of the affordability of VOIP services, it may be worth the risk of inconvenience if your Internet service goes down. Secondly, as technology continues to improve and spread through a wider audience, there is a good chance that VOIP, and particularly services like Skype, will eventually become a front-runner in the way we communicate for business.
As always, we’d love to hear from you. What type of phone service are you currently using? Leave us a comment below and let us know why you chose your phone service. Will you be making the switch to VOIP or cell phones instead of a landline?