A couple of weeks ago, a new property management client of ours asked me for advice on what type of phone service he needed. He was using a variety of services for his business: internet from one company, a hosted VOIP system from another provider, and another internet-based phone service from yet another provider. In order for us to answer his telephone calls, he really didn’t need everything on the list he shared with me. We recommended that he work with his local telephone service provider (which, in this case, was Verizon) to streamline all of his services and that he adds a traditional landline with a telephone that he can plug directly into the wall in his office.
Now, I’m sure many of you are wondering why on Earth I would recommend a landline when we’re all using VOIP technology. VOIP is great for many reasons, especially its cost effectiveness, portability, and multifunctionality. However, it is possible to lose phone service due to power outage or internet interruption. While most phone carriers provide up to 8 hours of stand by service for VOIP in the event of a power outage, you still need battery back up for the telephones to work.
Copper wires have been around for a very long time so you can definitely use a traditional phone line as back up in case of an emergency. It is also important to note that, for situations like power outages, a telephone that requires power from your wall will not work for very long. Thus, for emergencies, you should have plain telephone that you can plug in the wall – they will work!
At Access Answering Service, redundancy is critical not only to our business, but also to our clients’ businesses since they rely on us to answer their calls at all times of the day and during all kinds of conditions. Thus, our redundancy plan looks something like this:
- Two servers – our main server and a back up server
- Major battery back up on both servers (we have UPS batteries that give us 2 hours of power)
- Backup generator
- Each of our operator stations have backup power units
- 2 T1s – our main T1 and a backup; if we lose both T1s for whatever reason, all calls will be redirected to our main line so we can still answer them.
- And, my personal favorite, a plain old telephone that we plug directly into the wall in the event of a power outage
While this might seem excessive and costly, we would rather be safe than sorry.
In conclusion, VOIP has many amazing benefits for small business owners. However, having a backup system that includes a plain old telephone line complete with a regular telephone that plugs directly into your wall is a surefire way to make sure that you still have phone service in an emergency situation so you can make and receive phone calls.