Like many office technologies, VoIP can deliver improvements in productivity and customer satisfaction. VoIP is also very affordable and can generate economic returns, so it is no wonder that businesses are making it the telecommunication approach of choice. Even businesses who stubbornly deployed the "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" philosophy are beginning to show up among the converts! It may not be broken, but the improvements to the business have resonated so loudly that they could resist no longer.
So, how can VoIP technology advance businesses? Below are just a few ways:
Provide a Better Call Experience - Your customers and associates will enjoy a better call experience in a variety of ways. There are several methods of getting customers to the right associate expeditiously. First, the previous phone system may not have allowed for direct dial numbers to associates. With VoIP, all associates can have a direct dial number, and they can choose to provide it to their clients, prospects, or other key contacts, bypassing the main line of the business and freeing the bottleneck. Additionally, these direct dial numbers and extensions can be forwarded to a cell phone, duplicated on a soft phone application, or made to simultaneously ring to a cell phone, making that associate easily reachable when key contacts call.
In addition to the direct dial and forwarding approaches for associates, customers will delight in quick routing of their calls via a well-designed auto attendant. Companies can choose whether calls are handled by a general reception function and backed up by an auto attendant or have the auto attendant route calls at the beginning of the cycle. The key here is to have an efficient auto attendant with just a few primary options, ones that represent where the majority of the calls are routed. Thus, if a caller is looking for "customer service", a simple press of an option will route them to a call group of customer service employees.
Enable Remote and Mobile Associates - How many businesses out there have their associates utilize personal cell phones when representing their company? Not only are they giving out their cell number as a "direct dial", but when they dial out to customers or prospects it is not showing the caller ID of your business. What if that associate left your organization? Customers would be trained to call that cell phone number instead of a number owned by your business. How does Hosted VoIP technology provide an alternative?
Remote or highly mobile associates can be outfitted with a VoIP application that will work as if they are under the same roof as the corporate headquarters. You can literally have associates all over the country and, to your external caller, it would appear as if they have an office in your building! If they have a VoIP phone at home or at a remote office or a soft phone appliance programmed accordingly, they can make and receive calls as efficiently as someone in the office. Calls can be quickly routed to them, they can be included in any common ring group, they can have a direct dial number (either in the area code/exchange of the headquarters or local to them, whichever is appropriate), and they will have an extension on the system. Thus, they can extension dial all other associates and vise versa.
Drive Economic Value - The fact is that new technology is an investment. Some of the benefits mentioned above would fall into the intangible benefit category, especially as defined by those hard to convince! The good news is that there are many opportunities for tangible returns against the investment in the Hosted VoIP technology. Additionally, the investment is not large when compared to purchasing a traditional phone system. In this case, businesses are only purchasing the VoIP desk phones, as the actual system is maintained centrally by the hosted provider. Therefore, if a business has a dying phone system, replacing it with a hosted VoIP solution will be much less expensive than an on-site system. For those who are not yet in the market for a phone system replacement (falling into the "it isn't broke" category), economic returns can be driven in a couple of ways. First, many times, the monthly telecom expense is reduced by moving to Hosted VoIP. Second, there are some decisions that can be made in terms of how calls are handled that may result in some staff expense reductions or redeployments.
Easy and Affordable Expansion - When your business expands, does your phone system expand with it? With Hosted VoIP, you never need to worry about your system's capabilities to grow with you again. You simply add additional VoIP phones when and where you need them. No new cards or upgrades are required, just the phones. So, if you're adding resources at your current location, opening a new location, or setting people up in a work at home environment, you simply add the phones through your hosted VoIP provider. You can easily add these new resources to existing call groups, expanding upon the accessibility of your employees to your customers, suppliers, and other important contacts.
If you're a business that has not yet evaluated hosted VoIP technology, it is worth the time and exploration to determine how your business can be elevated as well. Get a leg up on your competitors and make the switch today!
About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.