Recommended Computer Programs for Home-Based Business Communications to Operate More Efficiently
In today's world, we have almost endless options for communication. Postal mail, email, and videoconferencing are just a few of our choices for keeping in contact with vendors and clients around the globe. Yet the sheer number of choices can lead to confusion. Many options are quite costly, so a balance must be found between function and price.
It's now fairly easy to use a computer as a multi purpose communications tool for your home business, since computer programs are available that include provide telephone service, fax capabilities, video conferencing, and internet. Alternatively, dedicated hardware can be used for each of these functions.
Whether or not to use your computer for various forms of communications depends largely on the power of your system. Communications tools are resource-heavy, requiring large amounts of free hard drive space, as well as taking over most of the computer's RAM when in use. Additionally, most programs become resident in your system tray, meaning that they use a portion of your resources even when not actively in use. Powerful new computers can handle this easily, with no loss of usability. However, older or less powerful computers may show a decided decline in performance due to the utilization of virtual memory and hard drive space.
Assuming that your computer has the capability for it, using communications software has several advantages. Many programs, especially if they are packaged together, will work in unison. This allows the computer to answer the phone and automatically direct the call appropriately. Elaborate voice mail networks can be created, which give the impression that your company is divided into a number of different departments. This adds authenticity and trust in the eyes of the consumer. Additionally, separate components take up space. The more tools housed on your computer, the less devices need to be spread throughout the room.
If your work is performed primarily on the computer, it may be to your disadvantage to set up your communications through your main computer. Pop-up windows will appear every time the phone rings, over whatever you may be involved in. Some business owners find this significantly more distracting than simply answering a regular phone. So, every window that opens leads to another possibilty for a system freeze or crash. This could lead to loss of data.
Another possibility is to obtain software for your own use in dialing out or sending faxes, but install separate components to handle incoming communications. This solution offers maximum flexibility, but requires a higher initial cost outlay. This also has all the drawbacks of both options.
The options are staggering in communications software. Price is not necessarily indicative of quality, and quality varies dramatically between programs. A low quality program is worse than no software at all, as it may drop calls, cut off faxes, and cause conflicts with other programs. Conversely, high quality software will be easy to use, reliable, and highly functional. It is advisable that you read reviews and speak with other users to determine which program is best for you. If you are willing to put in the effort, the right communications software can turn your computer into an important worldwide access point.