Skype is a huge VoIP (Voice over IP) player, launched in 2003 and used by over 300 million people! It’s oftentimes a person’s first introduction to VoIP, and with good reason. For the average consumer Skype has lots of bells and whistles such as video-calling, instant messaging, and a mobile app. They have even tried launching a platform called “Skype Connect” to try make more of a reach to the business world. We will be comparing the features and viabilities of Skype to the standard business phone VoIP system looking at both basic and business functionalities!
Skype is not recommended as a replacement phone system. Their site explicitly states “Skype Software is not a replacement for your ordinary mobile or fixed line telephone.” Skype is not capable of dialing 9-1-1. Business VoIP Systems utilize e911 (sends your address, callback information, subscriber name, etc.) to ensure emergency services gets essential information.
Skype also does not let you choose your number completely. It has a pool of numbers you can look through, but you are limited in area code and certain numbers. Business VoIP offers a wide variety of numbers you can purchase and use with much fewer regulations and far more customizability.
When dealing with what one wants out of a phone system the features desired most are usually a call-menu or an IVR (Interactive Voice Response i.e. “Dial 1 for sales, 2 for marketing, etc.”), Voicemail, and Toll-free numbers.
Call Menu/IVR: With Skype you can have a call-menu but it is not done natively. It is normally a plug-in and requires significant configuration and research. Most Business VoIP Systems support call-menu’s natively and can take just minutes to set up!
Voicemail: Skype has a voicemail system which will alert you over either text or email when a message is left. You can’t listen to your message through email, although you can get the message transcribed into text with a third-party service. With Business VoIP you have the option of having your voicemail go wherever you like. You can listen to it through your mobile phone, email or computer.
Toll-free numbers: Skype does not offer toll free numbers. There are complicated workarounds and forwarding techniques to forward the Skype number to a different one but these can be impractical. Business VoIP offers toll-free natively.