In Cut the Cord, Part I, we talked about telephone system basics (premise v. hosted and how to determine what’s best for your business). Now that we’ve set the foundation, let’s take a look at the advantages a modern phone system brings. We’re going to focus on the main benefits of Voice Over IP (VoIP) hosted systems.
Quick review: VoIP for our purposes means that the phone system runs over your local network cabling and over the Internet. This means you need to have a good network implementation that’s properly managed, and you need reliable Internet service. We are going to stipulate that those two requirements are met and move on to the good stuff.
First off, there is often a cost savings when moving from a traditional phone system to a unified communications system. If we evaluate what you are currently paying for phone circuits, and add to that the maintenance and support costs of your phone system, it is not unusual to find out that these costs over a five or seven year period are more expensive than a hosted system.
It’s typically less expensive to scale up your hosted phone system as well. With your system in place, all you need is a new handset. On top of that, a report from Cisco found that businesses can save 32 minutes of calls per day per team member by adopting a VoIP system.
And that’s all before looking at any additional programs and software you can get rid of when you have built-in features with VoIP, plus the continuity you can maintain when your hosted phone system is unaffected by storms and physical disasters at the office.
We keep calling the equipment being discussed “phone systems.” The more accurate terminology is a “unified communications platform.” A new VoIP system can pull together your office voice communications (desk phone), mobile voice communications (cell phone), interoffice messaging (Skype, Teams, or other chat program), interface with your Outlook, tie into your CRM (e.g., SalesForce), and on and on. It truly unifies your communications.
Think about the productivity improvements. Imagine having a client call in for Sales, and the call is routed to the appropriate person regardless of where they are – office, home, on the road – automatically. No more tying up one employee to call around and track down the necessary person while the customer sits on hold. (Additionally, if that salesperson has to return a call from somewhere off-site, the number that shows up is his office number.) Or if you have a group of folks who can handle a call, such as in Accounting or Marketing, the system can intelligently route incoming calls to whomever hasn’t received one in a while. And when you do have to transfer within the office, being able to see presence, or availability, saves wasted dials as well.
Want all calls recorded? Not a problem. Would you like voicemails to be transcribed and delivered to your inbox so you can just read them as emails? Of course! How about dialing a contact from inside Outlook? Basic functionality. Can you copy a phone number from a website with your mouse and dial with a simple click? Absolutely! Conference calling, web conferencing, overhead paging, virtual fax machines… There are way too many options and features to list here!
When you begin with any possible cost savings by moving away from a traditional system, add in the staff efficiencies you’ll gain by giving your team a truly unified communications system, then consider the benefits of truly customized customer service, it is easy to see why unified communications systems are such a hot item for businesses today. This is one technology that is not just put in for the sake of technology. It is another key tool in the digital transformation of your business, helping you provide your products and services to your clients more efficiently than ever!
If you’d like to know more about turning your phone system into a powerful tool for your business, click here. You can also give us a call at (912) 629-2426 or send a message. We’ll be happy to discuss your numerous options.