If you’re considering a new phone system for your business, a quick Google search is likely to point you in the direction of ‘hosted voice’ services.
Hosted voice solutions have your telephone system working from the cloud – where traditional analogue systems would have previously been installed in your office – relying on a complex network of aging technology.
So, hosted voice service providers are offering the next generation of telephony – but what does the technology mean for your business?
Improved customer service
You might not consider the customer experience to be enormously changed by the step up to a hosted voice service – but it is, and it’s all positive.
In the past, traditional systems have seen people put ‘on hold’ until one of your team became free to take the call. Now, hosted voice services allow your customer to begin interacting with your business, often before they’re placed in a queue.
Voice recognition technology means customers can be entering account numbers, explaining their issues – and even accessing automated information – all in the time they’d normally be listening to hold music. Of course, since these processes can be fully automated, waiting time is reduced and information is relayed.
When a customer does need to talk to one of your team, the call with tend to be shorter – and dealt with by the first person they reach, since the smart routing options have connected the customer with the appropriate team.
Your customer service team might be great – but from a customer point of view, the less time spent talking to them, the better!
Whether you’re a small business with a handful of lines – or a huge call-centre with hundreds of end-users, it’s highly likely that you’ll benefit from increased productivity if you’re switching to hosted voice services.
One of the biggest reasons for this increase in productivity is the mobility of a hosted system – offering a chance to switch between a desk-based phone and a series of mobile devices quickly and easily. The result is far fewer voicemail messages and callbacks – and a definite increase in the instances where people say they’ll just email instead.
It’s not just mobility that ups productivity though – as an increasing number of CRM companies integrate their products with hosted voice services, the time needed to take post-call notes is massively reduced too, freeing your team up to take the next call – or re-focus on their main duties.
Simple network management
If you’ve run an analogue system for any amount of time, you’ll recognise the pain of encountering a problem – only to find that a solution can’t be found remotely, and instead that an engineer needs to attend your location.
While there’s no doubting a telecoms engineer’s ability – they simply cannot get to your site as quickly as an engineer can open their management software, pull up your system and start diagnosing what’s happening.
Downtime and delays in scaling and adapting your telephone system can cost untold amount of money in lost revenue. With hosted voice – your downtime is likely to be a fraction of what you’d expect from a traditional system.
In a world where cyber security never seems far from the headlines – why would you risk putting your telephone systems online?
Well, the simple answer is that there’s no increase in risk – and in many cases, having a company dedicated to making sure your hosted voice service is secure at all times is a significant improvement on that old system that sits in the corner of your office, often slightly neglected.
Cloud computing and ‘as a service’ systems access is increasingly drawing questions about the security of IT equipment being off-site. In actual fact, off-site systems are significantly more secure – and a large part of this is down to the cyber-vulnerabilities that most small to medium businesses present.
Globally, 70% of small businesses will face a cyber-attack this year. Sure, you can do a reasonable job of keeping your systems safe in house – but, the question is – why should you bother? When hosted voice services are trusted by international companies who need to prove compliance across a number of different jurisdictions, the robust security means you can focus on making sure your core business model is delivered.
Cloud storage doesn’t just offer enormous benefits around security, your customer experience, end-user productivity and network management – it will ordinarily reduce costs too.
A medium-size business switching from traditional analogue systems to a hosted voice solution could reasonably expect to see savings of 40%+ year on year – and the reason is generally down to the simplicity of the system.
When service, upgrades, and maintenance are delivered online – your costs aren’t only reduced, they’re often far more predictable too – a huge bonus for cash-flow and reporting purposes.
The number of businesses who want to allow their employees to use their own devices for work – or even work from home – is growing, but traditional phone systems just don’t offer the flexibility needed for these alternative employment options to be feasible.
With hosted voice – your employee’s device or location can be easily accounted for. So, if you’re working from a base in the US but want to route calls to a contractor in Asia, you can make it happen quickly and easily – and even if your customer is calling from 10 miles away, they won’t have a clue that they’re talking to a team on the other side of the planet.
A system that can be built around you
Analogue phone systems have very limited functionality – but because they’ve been the norm for a significant period of time, businesses have learned to adapt to the system – rather than have it work for them.
If this sounds like it could be describing your business phone systems, the possibilities linked to hosted voice are likely to be extremely exciting. Would it be useful to automatically schedule calls to different users? Would you like your calls to auto-redirect when you step away from your desk? Perhaps it would be useful to direct customers to specific support options based on information your system gleans from their ID when they call in?
Hosted voice unlocks a world of possibility – so if you’d like a system that can be built around your exact needs, hosted voice might take your company to new heights.