An increasing number of major telecoms providers are offering ‘hosted voice’ telephony systems – but, with run-of-the-mill phones generally already forming an important part of your business infrastructure – what do these next generation systems have to offer?
Here, we’ll explore what hosted voice might mean for your business.
If you’re like 99% of other business decision makers – you’re likely to want to know how much something is going to cost before you entertain hearing more about it – after all, time is money, and there’s no point wasting either on something that’s got an unfeasibly large price tag.
If you’re expected to be spending a lot of money on next generation phone systems, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. In fact, compare the installation of a traditional, copper-line system – and an intelligent, IT based phone system – and you’re likely to see a much smaller price ticket on the latest technology.
Well, generally, if you’ve got an IT network, you’ve got the infrastructure you need for your hosted telephony system already in place – no drilling, digging or routing additional hardware needed.
It’s not just installation costs that are on the side of hosted systems either – maintenance is generally also done from the comfort of a management portal too – so you’re massively reducing the instances where you’re going to need a telecoms engineer to attend too.
Ease of installation and management
When you move from traditional phone systems to those that operate as part of your network – you also hand maintenance of that system over to a company who will look after your phones as part of your overall IT infrastructure. This means there’s no need to have more than one company on hand to deal with issues across all of your tech.
To make things even more efficient, you’re likely to find that your IT managed service provider won’t even need to attend your site to gets hands on with your new telephone system either. Remote management tools and SD WAN solutions now mean a huge amount of configuration can be done anywhere there’s an internet connection.
Of course, installation hassle is just one part of a much larger maintenance picture when it comes to IT – but, with virtually every hosted voice system working with a central management portal controlling its features, your system administrator will be able to add users, change call priorities, alter call routing, add locations – and much more – without even ever having been to your location.
It’s understandable if you’re slightly nervous about bringing your phone system online in a world where you can’t move for news reports about cyber-attacks and the threat of hacking – and it’s normal to be even more nervous when you’ve got third party companies working on these systems on your behalf.
In reality, moving your telecoms systems online couldn’t be more safe – in fact, it’s likely to be the very best move given the current climate. Each year, around 75% of small businesses will face a cyber-attack – and the reason is simple; many small businesses just feel they have nothing that is worth anything to criminals. This attitude is exactly the reason why so many small businesses are attacked – especially by hackers who are looking to extort money through ransoming data.
If your telecoms system is vital to providing your service, then downtime and data-loss can be catastrophic. When you tie your IT and telephones together – then put them in the hands of a managed provider who will offer security assurances, you’re putting a series of padlocks and security systems around your most important business assets.
Adapted to your needs
Most traditional telephone systems offer a very limited set of features. In truth, that’s often been adequate for businesses – not because your needs don’t extend further – but instead because we’ve learned to adapt our needs down – often installing other systems to fulfil exactly what we’re looking for.
With hosted voice systems, there’s rarely any need for patching over gaps in service – because there’s an enormous world of functionality that’s possible – including:
• Automatic scheduled call-routing and call-distribution
• Voice to text auto-transcription services
• Integration with chatbots and call-handing software
• Integration with CRM systems
• Voice recognition software
…and much more.
Essentially, hosted voice services turn your overall telecoms network into a software-based service – and, as the apps that we use on our mobile phones prove – there’s no end to the functionality that’s possible.
Although driving productivity isn’t something you’re likely to see talked about a lot with hosted voice systems (since it’s not a direct feature of the software) – your bottom line profit is likely to feel the impact significantly.
It’s actually difficult for your productivity not to be positively impacted when you’ve implemented hosted voice services in your business – and it’s usually because the gaps that traditional phone systems create are plugged by end-user effort. Take call transcription as an example; your average call-centre team member will spend, on average, an additional 2-3 minutes making notes relating to a call after it’s terminated – and, if they’re taking 30 calls in a day, that’s an additional 1-1.5 hours of time that they’re simply typing notes – rather than interacting with customers. Similar statistics could be found for sales people, support staff – and many other departments.
So, what would hosted voice systems bring to this picture? Well, your routing systems would make sure the call came to the right person to begin with – potentially remove the need for security clearing – then automatically attribute a written version of the call to the customer record in your CRM system. Even if your end-user still needs to make a small number of notes after the call – this is likely to save you an hour of time for each end-user – or, around 260 hours each year.
These figures start to look huge when they’re multiplied by how many call-handling staff you have on your team – so, hosted voice services could be the key to unlocking thousands of hours of additional productivity each year – not a bad result from a system that’s likely to cost less than your traditional copper-line based tech…