One of the first drivers of the increasing speed of business that broke down the barriers of distance was the fax machine. For over 50 years, the fax has been a lifeline for businesses separated by great distances or under time pressure. Faxes created sharable documents and forms that can be completed and returned or stored for future reference. It was considered a great advancement when a fax machine first managed to send a letter in 6 minutes, because the alternative was mail, which could take days to reach a business client nationally and weeks to arrive at prospects overseas. Today, a 6 minute fax would be extremely slow unless you were faxing a multi-page contract to an international business connection.
For everything ranging from legal documents requiring signatures to records for billing disputes, there is still no better business channel than the fax. The main problem currently is that a traditional fax machine is tied to a landline and has frequently become incorporated into printing and copying machines. This means that a task that should be simple and quick has become time-intensive and sometimes requires special training.
Costs for fax machines have risen as dedicated manpower for sending, receiving, administration and filing increase with the volume of faxes. There are also the operational expenses of maintenance and supplies. Businesses have considered this just a cost of doing business until now.
Advanced online technology meets traditional fax machines
Over the past few years, businesses from single proprietors to industrial giants have begun to see the enormous savings in time and expenses by using online fax services. Converting fax to email and back again puts the advanced technology of internet protocols and wider bandwidth communications in the service of professional faxing. Businesses are always searching for the best practices that will allow them to accomplish more in less time or at a better price. Among business resources, the most non-renewable one is time. They say time is money; however the truth is that you can get money back. There is no way to be recompensed for wasted time. Just as the original fax machines supercharged the velocity of vital transactions half a century ago, online fax services, many offering free fax services within a limited capacity, represent the next evolution.
Three ways to save time and money with an online fax service
Here are three crucial ways that online fax to email services conserve your valuable time and money:
Traditional fax machines take you away from your workstation. Sending an email takes a few seconds, especially if it is just a note with an attachment. Sending a fax from a traditional fax machine can sometimes turn into a time drain. Fax machines often require numerical input or choosing from a list of numbers, compared to cutting and pasting a number onscreen. Often there are other numbers that must be entered as well, like long distance authorization or country codes that you have to remember. Most of all, sending or receiving a document ties up the fax line which is the main source of busy signals and can prevent prospects from reaching you. With an online service you can use your laptop, PC, or tablet to send and receive multiple faxes to various destinations at the same time. All the while you can continue to conduct other business like downloading a software update or running a database query.
Even saving a few minutes a day every day can simplify your business processes. This gives you more open time for important tasks. When you receive an online fax, you can set different alerts in your email inbox to sort the files by different kinds of business partners or document types. These go directly into your email, giving you the option to print them if hard copies are needed. It is just as simple to move them to your company's digital storage area when you are finished processing them. Just like emails, some faxes need to be printed because paper remains a better medium for sharing with team members or reading offline. They can also be combined with other documents for a marketing packet or presentation, but the point is that now the choice is yours. Too much time is wasted shredding sensitive information on paper faxes that never needed to be printed in the first place.
Internet faxing is a much more secure channel for customer and business partner information that must be kept restricted. Faxes often have sensitive data like social security numbers or credit card information. No matter what is on the fax, it's not secure to have them arrive in a public area and picked up later. A fax tray on a traditional fax machine is one of the least secure areas in your office. With online faxing there is no question of a fax getting lost or picked up by the wrong person because there are receipt confirmations and searchable text within your email storage. The reduction in printing also makes online fax services more eco-friendly, as they conserve paper as toner ink cartridges that contain toxic chemicals and non-biodegradable parts.
Email to fax requires virtually no training. Email is so intuitive that children can and do send emails every day. Faxing should be that simple. One thing many people don't realize is that fax and email technology were invented around the same time in the late 1950's. Faxes were common by the 1970's while email really didn't catch on with business until the late 1980's. Since the arrival of web-based email in the mid 1990's, the user interface for email has become even easier to use. In that time, faxing has become more difficult as printer/copier/fax machines try to do more each year.
Checking email on a smartphone is especially quick. Replying with an attachment can take place in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile, elaborate fax machines take specialized skills that tend to reside with one person or a small group in your office. This is known as a “knowledge sink” and it becomes a problem if that person or group is busy or out of the office. When the critical "knowledge sink" team member moves on, you have the challenge of training and the delays of a new learning curve. Online fax by email eliminates potential slowdowns in this area. Anyone with online access to required documents can send a fax from their own email. They can fax from work, at home, or on the road. There will never again be a need to worry about busy signals, international phone lines, wrong numbers, maintenance, and a host of other details that add up over time. You can turn your attention to other tasks, secure in the knowledge that the right documents will reach the right people at the destination fax.
Fax by email helps professionals exchange their vital information faster. The success of a business can turn entirely on capturing opportunities as they arise. There is no time, and now no reason, to wait until you are back in the office before you can transmit critical data to prospects or partners. While you are traveling, any mobile device or even an internet cafe can become your portable office for sending or receiving documents you need to secure a client or prevent a potential disaster. Communicate with visuals or forms by email on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone anywhere across the nation or around the world. Work with multiple pages or multiple partners at the same time and don't wait around waiting for a confirmation. Customizing the fax with your branding information is as easy as cut and paste, allowing you to present your most professional image every time.
While you are boosting your efficiency and controlling costs, your online fax software will:
- Handle many different document types that can be sorted by client or importance by email filters.
- Deliver an electronic copy to each computer that has email access for multiple copies and points of retrieval
- Save you the time and inconvenience of returning to the office to conduct vital business
- Keep delivery confirmation receipts in your email that are searchable and archived
- When a successful businesses finds something that works they stick with it.
That's one reason why many companies depend on faxing to make certain their most important documents are exchanged quickly. On the other hand, a successful business can't afford to pass up technology that lowers costs and opens up more avenues of business. In other words, if a business isn't on the lookout to improve efficiency, they can be certain that their competitors are.
Many online fax services offer free fax services during a trial period, so there is literally nothing to lose. The savvy business owners will quickly identify the services that are the most valuable and indispensable in the new global economy. Fast, versatile, easy-to-use, environmentally-friendly and a driver of cost reductions – these are just a few of the benefits of an online fax by email service provider. The real test is how many customers and business partners you will be able to serve while you devote more resources to running the business.
Reserve a fax number for your business online today and send your first email fax using eFax's FREE 30 Day Trial. Our free 30 day trial program gives you the opportunity to try all the features of sending and receiving faxes over the internet first hand. Find out what a free fax by email can mean for new business, greater mobility, and a more efficient workflow.