Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Is it time for your business to ditch the landline?

CDC data from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey show that nearly 40% of American homes now use only cell phones for telephone communication. An additional 15.7% of the population had landlines, but still received all or almost all their calls on wireless telephones. Poor Americans reported higher rates of complete dependence on wireless phones - 55 percent of adults below the poverty level had only wireless phones at home. Having a landline and a cell phone is a double expense, after all, and when money is tight can't always be justified.

Many small businesses are run from home and have limited budgets. Small business owners may feel there is no good reason to add a landline number and pay another bill. But having a landline has its advantages, including:

  • Clarity of sound - background noise is far more minimal on a traditional landline and voice quality is better than on cell phones or VoIP. 
  • Accessibility - landlines do not need a clear wireless signal or an internet connection to operate.
  • Sturdiness - by virtue of being less portable, landline telephones last longer and get lost less often. Their batteries also last longer. Those old phones your grandparents had in the 1970s still probably work. Does the cellphone you dropped in the toilet or left in your unlocked car?
  • Features - many of the features businesses have come to expect from telephone systems are only available on pricier wireless systems.
There are, of course, advantages to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and cell phones including significant cost reduction, portability, and the ability to route multiple numbers to one phone - a clear advantage to a businessman on the go. 

Still it's clear that communication technology is changing rapidly and will continue to change. At some point, even those who are entirely satisfied with the old way of calling will be forced to update their systems because telecommunications companies will find it prohibitively expensive to offer options that satisfy every user, from techie to Luddite. So small businesses should keep the shift in technology in mind for tomorrow, even they hold on to their landlines today.

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