Have you ever known to throw the fax machine out the window? Well you may not know it but you can, but not literally thank you.
There have been services available for a time that allows you to take your fax needs online and save the inconvenience of wrestling with the fax machine.
All providers should be able to provide a basic fax to email service. You are usually assigned your own fax number and all faxes sent to this number are then attached as an image file to an e mail. It will then be delivered to your e mail account. You must keep your fax machine to send faxes, but you can set it up to not answer the phone and keep it on your main business.
Most but not all fax services also provide the opportunity to send faxes by email, web or directly from the desktop. This feature can be used to send invoices or forms to customers without having to print and then fax the document. By fax to e mail, you can write an e mail to fax [email protected] and attach each document you want to fax. You will then be notified by email when your fax is completed.
Traditionally because your company can fax has meant that you order a separate phone line and a number and buy a fax machine or fax software for each user. Which is an expensive proposal for a communication channel that is still necessary but often rarely used today. Online phone services charge all costs to a single monthly fee paid to your fax service provider. Often this fee is only a fraction of the cost of telephone line rental alone. Add the savings in paper and ink and use an online fax service to start giving a lot of meaning.
If your customers fax through many forms that you need to process and archive, you know how sad it is to send through a full binder only to find a specific fax. With an online phone service, your fax correspondence can be submitted together with all your electronic correspondence.
Points to consider when selecting a vendor
Do you have your own dedicated number? For example, some virtual office providers will place you on a common number and your faxes can be seen by anyone.
File format Make sure the vendor can mail you in a format that suits you. Most will send in a common format as PDF, but others may use obscure formats that require special software to be read.
Do they have a method of sending faxes that suits you? Some will offer you a selection of methods from basic email to fax to desktop clients, which allows you to print directly to a fax.
Is there an area code that will be local to your customers? Even if you are a regional company, you may want to consider a large fax number if your customers are there. Remember, you now have the choice.
There are some things to be aware of when switching to online fax
The first is that a fax machine makes a copy of a piece of paper and that online faxing makes a copy of an electronic document. You can no longer print a note and fax it anymore. However, you can send an instant message as quickly as possible by email to fax or via a fax machine. Filling a form that has been faxed to you is no longer easy, but it can be done by opening the fax in an image editor and writing with the text tool.
The second warning is that you can use to sign almost every fax you send, this is no longer possible because there is no paper step. The author recommends that if you have access to a scanner, you can scan your signature and save it as a black and white image ready to be inserted at the footer of each document you type.
Overall, if you or your staff do not use the fax much, or spend too much repetitive work, you can save a lot of money in ink, paper, communication costs, and most importantly productivity. If you can not give up the routine to go up to the fax machine with a piece of paper, you can still consider online faxing. but only to receive your faxes. Remember to turn off the automatic answering function on your fax machine.