Simon Froom, Director at Knowall IT explains how you can drive down costs in your organisation and deliver better customer service with the latest unified communications technology.
Over the last five years the concept of VoIP has fully matured with voice quality now exceeding that of an old-fashioned analogue phone connection. Most businesses are at least aware of the technology, even if they haven’t tried it yet. However, VoIP or IP telephony is really just the ‘glue’ that sits behind a far more exciting and wider-reaching technology known as unified communications (UC).
According to IT research firm IDC, more than 30% of small companies and 55% of mid-sized companies plan to deploy some form of UC in the next 12 months, but what exactly can this technology do for your business and can it give you that competitive edge?
Reduced costs, support for flexible working, better service…
In our experience, the motives to adopt UC vary widely from customer to customer. Initially many just buy it for a single business need such as ‘conferencing’ and then realise that it can solve a whole range of other issues too such as reduced maintenance costs, support for remote working or simply increased productivity and better service for customers.
Never miss a call or opportunity
For example, we have one customer that has offices located across the world, so they using unified communications to manage incoming calls to be answered by whichever location is ‘open’, providing an around the clock service for its customers.
The same concept can be applied to any organisation with multiple sites. Rather than have a dedicated receptionist facility at each location, calls can be distributed according to who is available so that a call is never missed. You can also rationalise your receptionist resources too, by re-routing all calls to a centralised point, and still retain the original dialling codes.
Joined up information on your customers
The other amazing aspect of unified communications is that because your data and your voice are now merged, the system can retrieve customer information from your CRM or accounts systems, based on the CLI (call line identity) number. The implications for this are enormous, because you can effectively treat each call according to the type or importance, and then route a query (with your customer’s information) to any location person or type of device that you want whether it’s your deskphone or a Blackberry.
Built in Business continuity
Think back to last year when many staff could not make it into work due to the severe weather. Companies with UC could encourage employees to work from home giving them the same access to IT and telephony resources that they would expect in the office. As long as you have access to a broadband connection, inbound and outbound phone calls can be taken and made at any location, giving you the perfect business continuity solution.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of UC though is that is affordable to all sizes of business and in the majority of cases, just one of the features will more than pay for the system in the first few months. Even if the lease on your current phone system is not yet up for renewal you can still invest and begin to benefit from UC in parallel.
For a free consultation on how unified communications can help your business visit www.knowall.net/swyx
Key business benefits of unified communications:
• Reduced annual maintenance & telephone line costs
• Support for remote/mobile working so workers can be reached via a single number
• Improved customer service with speedier response and integration with back-office systems such as CRM
• Reduced property overheads with virtual office approach
• Centralised reception for multiple sites
• Save on travel expenses & improve collaboration with built-in video calling & audio conferencing
• Presence information so you can see which colleagues are available
• Fast-track routing of high value calls
• Business continuity –users can login and take/make calls from any location