Giving a little advanced thought to exactly how you might benefit from VoIP can help you decide where to focus your decision-making
If you want to test whether adopting a hosted VoIP service can be of benefit to your business, it’s worth thinking about the specific ways in which it might make a difference in some detail. This can help you to decide exactly how you’d go about putting it to use.
VoIP is not just about reducing cost – in fact, that is probably not the best (and certainly not the only) reason to deploy it. The number-one benefit for most organisations will be enhanced productivity. Put simply, hosted voice services will make it easier for your staff to do their jobs and deliver great service to customers.
Flexible and responsive
There are several ways in which VoIP can enhance productivity and customer service. First of all, it makes it very easy for users to be contacted, and not to miss calls. Most VoIP systems will come with voicemail as standard, and most will also send an email to the user when a voice message is received.
Business VoIP systems also come with built-in conferencing capabilities, so users can set-up group conversations easily, enhancing collaboration between your teams and customers.
Staff can also be more flexible and responsive with VoIP. They will be able to make or receive calls from any location, and they will always be available on – and call out from – the same number. This availability and consistency will translate directly into better customer service.
More sophisticated VoIP systems can be linked into the CRM system, which will make it possible for information on customers to be pulled up onto the user’s screen when they receive or make a call to that customer. Once again, this can provide real productivity gains and improve customer service levels and perceptions.
Moving with the times
Customer and employee perceptions are worth focusing on in their own right. The way we use voice communications has moved at a tremendous pace over the last two decades. Initially, mobile phones were used only to keep in touch when out of the office. They have now become the default choice for most B2B communications, although most people now use them just as much or more for data and messaging.
The fixed landline, meanwhile, is usually used only when a mobile is out of range or battery life, or when it would seem to be a better option. It may be used for conferencing calls or where the cost of making a call to a mobile might be deemed prohibitive – but that’s not often the case. In many businesses these days, the landline is used infrequently. If it did not act as a necessary vehicle for their broadband connection, many SMBs might consider giving up their landline entirely.
VoIP systems are much more up-to-date with the way that modern workers want to work. As VoIP is software-driven, it offers much greater flexibility. It can be used alongside live chat facilities, messaging systems and email. This is much more in tune with the way people work today and, as the Millennials and Generation Z start to become much more influential in the workforce, telephone systems need to be more attuned to their needs and expectations.
By moving to hosted voice, you will be seen to be moving with the times – and VoIP is most certainly the future in a market in which most essential digital services are migrating to the cloud.
It also puts telephony systems and the data they contain, back in the hands of the business. VoIP is digital, and all information is stored and retained and backed-up, so the business can retain control of that data. When staff use mobiles to communicate with customers, it’s harder to keep accurate records of all the details.
Equipping everyone with smartphones can also end up being quite expensive and, even if it’s not the primary one, cost reduction is also a very real benefit of VoIP. Even putting mobiles aside, there is no question that a hosted voice service will reduce bills when compared to the cost of standard PSTN lines and call charges. It should not be too difficult for you – or a VoIP provider – to work out exactly how much you are likely to save on a monthly and annual basis by making the switch.
These are just a few reasons why you should care about VoIP. When considering whether to adopt a business VoIP service, thinking very specifically about these potential benefits is definitely worthwhile. It will give you a better idea of exactly what it is that you need from a voice service and exactly how your business will benefit.