A Business Owner’s Guide to Cloud Telephony

A Business Owner’s Guide to Cloud TelephonyCloud telephony is here to stay and rock the business world.

Transformation is already underway across industries, with more and more business owners cutting the cord. The main driving forces behind this trend are rapidly-expanding mobile ecosystem and faster than ever internet connectivity.

Many entrepreneurs hail this technology (also known as VoIP) as the next big revolution, poised to disrupt conventional infrastructure of landlines.  And it is easy to see why. Who wouldn’t want to make and receive phone calls over the internet, with a mere tap of the finger?

If you are not overly tech-savvy and struggle to understand what the fuss is about, don’t fret. Use this article as a roadmap to victory.

Cloud Telephony in a Nutshell

Grasping the basic mechanics behind this novelty tech is the key to harnessing its power. So, let us start with a proper definition.

Cloud telephony is a web-hosted, multi-faceted, and automated communication framework. It converts analog voice recordings into digital data to be transmitted over the cloud. The whole system hinges on the same infrastructure used to power the internet.

It works with various communication channels such as video conferencing and enables multiple users to share the same resources via the cloud, anywhere and anytime.  As a business owner, you have complete control over the system without having to cope with managing it.

You pay the vendor to maintain it for you. As for customers, they are still able to achieve their goals, even without any human interaction taking place.

Taking all this into account, you can think of this way: cloud communication is on-demand, self-service network with broad access and resource pooling.

Skype is perhaps to most well-known example of this technology. But, there is no shortage of other vendors and products competing across price points and feature sets.

They employ cloud systems to store data remotely and support usage of cloud VoIP on the go, via available Wi-Fi networks.

Face Value and Beyond

The unique benefits of cloud telephony are abundantly clear.

Mobile phones are the present and the future of business communication. They offer way more flexibility than premise-based phones. Adoption is a surefire tactic to future-proof your organization.

Another major benefit is that cloud telephony is cheap and easy to set up. Hardware demands are minimal and the service provider does all the heavy lifting. Instead of meddling with technicalities, you can focus on running efficient customer service and scaling your business.

Compared to most other software-based tools, it has superior performance and uptime. On top of all that, it enhances reporting capabilities. So, when implemented successfully, cloud VoIP operates as a cost-effective, reliable, and secure system.

Indeed, we like how easy it is to draw real-time findings, save customer reports, and manage who receives them and when. We were also able to carry out effective monitoring and tailor the customer service to meet shifting market expectations.

Not only that but we empowered the whole team, bolstering its ability to respond to challenges such as spikes in call volumes.

All it, cloud communication is a highly scalable solution that trims operational costs gives you a powerful edge over your competition.

Essential Features

For better or worse, cloud-based solutions are not created equal. So, to reach an informed buying decision, you have to do your homework. More specifically, put together a list of essential features you are looking for.

Here are some aspects you cannot afford to neglect:

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

It allows you to identify “why” behind calls, authenticate callers, customize the experience, and direct them to the right place. In case you have mobile apps, you can implement visual IVR and speech recognition as well.

Automated Call Distribution (ACD)

This feature routes calls to agents and departments based on parameters such as skills and schedule. It also tailors wait experience via queues, custom announcements, and estimated wait times.

Call Monitoring

The system facilities the process of monitoring support teams and assessing their performance. It consists of live listening and calls recording functions.

Other features

they are not to be overlooked, as they can be of huge help. They include voicemail, outbound dialing, warm/blind transfers, caller ID, extensions, workforce management, concurrent calling, built-in collaboration, quality assurance, etc.

A Matter of Smooth Integration

To minimize friction during the implantation stage, examine your current tech infrastructure. Your cloud communication should be compatible with tools and platforms you plan to use in the contact center.

The good news is that there are several ways to keep this running smoothly:

  • Computer Telephony Integration quickly pulls caller records and shows them to agents.
  • CRM integration adds a phone widget to your ticketing system.
  • Omnichannel introduces a wider system of support (chat, SMS, email, and social media).
  • Click to Call lets customers initiate calls with one click

As you can see, some of these features lay the foundations for real omnichannel experience. In this way, cloud telephony encourages a company-wide transformation.

All Systems Go

Before committing to a particular cloud solution, you want to do one more thing— factor in system considerations.

First of all, check if the provider guarantees maximum uptime (preferably 99, 99%) and reliability. Ask about bandwidth requirements that influence connection speed and call quality. See if system maintenance on the part of the provider affects performance.

While at it, inquire about system security. In this day and age, compromising on consumer data protection is not an option. For example, you need to make sure you don’t store credit card information in recordings. Steering clear of mistakes like this prompts PCI compliance.

One final consideration is related to the price. Speaking from experience, skimping on cloud-based phone system is a terrible idea. Like it or not, you always get what you pay for.  With that in mind, figure out the pricing model you are most comfortable with.

Most providers offer one of the following models:

  • Per seat cost
  • Unlimited or per minute billing
  • International rates
  • Additional telephone numbers

These pricing schemes are rather self-explanatory, but the answer to the question of which one would suit you the best is not. Hence, it is a good idea to take your time and make the right call after careful deliberation. Rushing such a decision is a treacherous proposition.

Cloudy Sky is The Limit

Business owners are flocking to the Cloud in large numbers, well aware that migrating to VoIP is associated with heaps of benefits.

Cloud telephony offers unparalleled flexibility and convenience. It saves resources, streamlines operations, and boost efficiency across the board.  Moreover, it allows you to stay on top of shifting consumer demands and ensure optimal agent performance.

The tricky thing, however, is that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions out there.

Thus, do yourself a favor and prioritize core features on your must-haves list. Weigh a variety of technical factors before taking the plunge.

It is time to take customer service and experience to the next level!

The post Blog first appeared on Beacon Telecom.

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