Changes are just part and parcel of every businesses. Such changes pose challenges to all aspects of running a business and it is important to all businesses that the tools they use are dynamic, highly adaptable, stays relevant and flexible – or to sum it into one word “agile”. Let’s have a look at how communication tools has taken up a new trend to reach the agility in order to meet the demands of businesses.
Traditionally, businesses relies on analogue phone systems to save on communication costs when providing most employees a way to receive and make business related phone calls. As technology evolves, IP Telephony or IP PBX emerged as a more expensive but feature-rich alternative which provides businesses with the benefits of using Voice-over-IP (VoIP). Some of these business benefits includes bringing the business communication beyond voice and into text chats, video and web conferencing; providing communication on alternative devices to desk phones (such as mobile phones and computers); and mobilising business communication.
IP Telephony has been around since 2005. At that time, it emerged as a disruptive technology to traditional analogue phone systems. However, due to its price point, it is generally only adopted by the larger organisations that could afford to purchase, implement, support and maintain it.
Now, Cloud-Based Phone System brings to you all of these benefits of VoIP phone systems, put it to the Cloud, turns it into a subscription model and now make it totally relevant and affordable to businesses of all sizes. Below are 10 benefits of switching from an on-premise analogue or IP-based PBX phone system to a Cloud-Based Phone System.
Benefits of a Cloud-Based Phone System
1. A Single Communication Platform for an Entire Business
Even geographically dispersed business operations can be seen as one single organization when it comes to being contactable and when reaching out to external parties. However, it is often too costly or even impossible (depending on the technology) to offer a single phone system for such businesses across the board. But it is totally possible to offer that easily when such business operations chose to use a Cloud-Based Phone System.
2. Low or no Up-Front Expenditure (turning CAPEX to OPEX model)
A Cloud-Based Phone System can cost as low as $0 to start receiving and making business phone calls with your assigned business phone number. You could basically subscribe and install the mobile or softphone applications onto devices such as a mobile phone and/or a laptop. Typically, the only up-front expenditure comes in the form of a desk phone which is a physical hardware itself. And that is only when a desk phone is necessary for your business.
3. Control Over Modes of Communication
A Cloud-Based Phone System puts businesses in the driver’s seat, allowing them to pick and choose the features they need, and could be given a self-service portal to make changes according to their business needs.
In addition, Cloud-Based Phone System gives employees access to all the Cloud-Based Phone System’s business phone features via a smartphone, softphone or desk phone.
4. Unified Communication Business Features for All
A Cloud-Based Phone System would give small businesses access to Unified Communication features such as Auto Attendant, Hunt Group, Chats, Audio Conference Bridge, Web Conferencing, and so on. And these are definitely relevant to large businesses at the same time. It is definitely appealing to businesses of all sizes because of its rich features and the subscription model it offers.
5. Mobility and Ease of Use
For most knowledge workers in the modern days like now, work is an activity and not a location. Regardless of their whereabouts, real-time communication and collaboration are expected.
A Cloud-Based Phone System delivers the service via the Internet and it took away the rigidity of needing a telco trunk service to work with an on-premise phone system. Access to the phone system is via a mobile application, softphone (on a computer) and/or a desk phone from anywhere with Internet connectivity. And in today’s very connected world and when a person becomes an alien if he/she do not own a smartphone, access to the Cloud-Based Phone System is almost guaranteed all the time from anywhere, even when abroad. This gives field employees, customer-facing and revenue-producing employees much better control over their productivity.
6. Flexibility to Scale Up (and Down)
The only thing that stayed constant in modern business is the inevitable Change. Businesses change and adapt to stay relevant and competitive. With Cloud-Based Phone Systems, adding employees to the system or reducing them is a breeze. Gone are the days when the unforeseen growth happened and the undersized on-premise phone system could not meet the business demands.
A Cloud-Based Phone System is usually designed to provide super large scale user sizes and are multi-tenanted to enable service providers to serve multiple customers of all sizes. Thus, adding users or features are normally not a concern when you are using a Cloud-Based Phone System.
7. Business Continuity and Drill Tests
Working with a phone system “in the cloud” allows businesses to remain connected to their customers no matter where they are. Hence, a Cloud-Based Phone System system remains available and unaffected by outside factors such as natural disasters or even a mishap such as fire or a prolonged power failure in the office.
For larger organizations that need to comply to annual Business Continuity Drill Tests, on-premise phone systems would usually fail the IT Managers when it comes to providing the same communication experience to the business in the event of a full shutdown or burn down of the primary operating location of the company. But it is just natural that a cloud-based communication platform continue to serve all the employees no matter what happened to the office and its infrastructure.
8. Improved Customer Service
With everyone on a same communication platform, for businesses with multiple operating locations, phone calls reaching a single Receptionist could be easily transferred to another location at a different branch location as an internal call. Customer need not be given another number to call another branch location.
Another way to improve customer service is to add more customer service agents to answer voluminous customer phone calls. This could easily be done with a cloud-based communication platform by assigning the right employee to be assigned to the customer service call queue. And this employee need not be sitting together with the other customer service agents. He could essentially be another employee at a branch, a part-timer sitting at home, or even a lower cost labour alternative in neighbouring countries helping to answer the customer queries.
9. New Service Features Added Easily
During busy seasons, some businesses can add calling features to increase call-taking efficiency and maximize staffing. Hunt Groups, for example, allow incoming calls to ring multiple users simultaneously.
Call Queues provide a ‘waiting area’ for callers to not feel rejected with engaged tone when all answering resources are busy. This is typically applicable to customer-facing hotlines such as a Customer Service hotline or a Table Reservation hotline. The system could potentially route phone calls based on criteria such as ‘most-idled agent’ or ‘highest-skilled agent’ or more. It could also announce a caller’s position in the queue to keep the customer continually willing to wait for his/her turn to be served.
These could be better ways to manage call volume, reduce voicemails, missed calls, busy signals and the need to call back to the customer. Imagine having to buy an expensive solution and licenses just to cater for a short busy period per year. A Cloud-Based Phone System allows switching on and off of such features on demand, and it helps to bring the best experience to your customers that tried to reach out to your business hotlines.
10. Cost Savings
As much as we would always like to mention this as a side benefit, cost savings often surfaced and became an important benefit to most customers when it comes to using a Cloud-Based Phone System. Using a Cloud-Based Phone System does immediately translate to
- No high upfront expenditure
- No hosting cost – power, cooling, space, supporting equipment
- No internal resources and expertise required to – maintain, patch, upgrade, and manage
- Cost savings on travel voice roaming charges
- Lesser cabling required
- Is not missing a phone call at your desk considered a dollar saved or a dollar earned? So besides cost savings, it does help drive productivity and efficiency in your business
In conclusion, with so many benefits that come with migrating your business phone system to the cloud, this new trend is expected to take the market by waves. It is a sooner or later thing that some businesses find themselves lagging behind in such business tool adoption and realised they needed it to stay competitive. It just depends on which part of the world are you operating your businesses. As you read now, the growth in Cloud-Based Phone System market is easily at double digit growth for high cloud adoption markets.