1 March 2016
In a small to medium-sized business, even the slightest cost saving or efficiency boost can make a huge difference. But why then do so many SMEs still rely on inflexible, costly traditional PBX and ISDN phone systems?
Hosted telephony is in the cloud, so it eliminates many of the practical and technical headaches that plague more traditional onsite systems. This explains why hosted call centre services have been steadily increasing in numbers of 11% each year – twice as fast as traditional premise-based call centres.
The truth is that the scalability and modular approach of hosted telephony provides SMEs with many opportunities to increase productivity, introduce cost efficiencies and avoid the unavailability that enrages customers.
Here are just five benefits that hosted telephony can bring to your business.
An efficient and reliable comms system that supports and promotes the demands of a mobile workforce means overall productivity throughout the business is improved. Employees can manage their calls easily and effectively, maximising their individual productivity. Additionally, your own resources will no longer be burdened with the needs of a traditional proprietary system.
Improve flexible working practices
It is estimated that over 14 million employees in Britain would like flexibility in their working hours or location, and research has shown that flexible working practices can significantly increase staff productivity. By its very nature, cloud-based communication offers more flexible working features than ISDN, giving SMEs the opportunity to encourage remote working and support employees needs to remain productive whilst out of the office.
Hosted telephony can also offer far more flexibility that ISDN, when it comes to maintaining communications. This is because a physical system requires a physical solution: an engineer who must be called out. Whereas a hosted system requires a technological solution, which is normally faster and easier to implement.
For instance, a damaged ISDN line or power cut can cause between 24 and 48 hours of costly downtime, which can do a lot of harm to a small business.
A hosted system gives you more control over managing inbound call routing. This allows you to set up an automatic call redirection plan, and enables users to access the system from alternative devices, while any necessary adjustments can be quickly made. In contrast, traditional systems will require you to go through a provider, who may not be able to respond straightaway and could charge for a costly call forwarding service.
Minimise abandoned call rates
In 2015, nearly 20% of click-to-calls from mobiles resulted in abandonment, mostly due to long hold-times or calls going unanswered. Local businesses also suffered more abandoned calls than call centres. The most likely reason for this is that smaller businesses may not have enough staff available to take every call. Abandoned calls often result in dissatisfied customers, which can be very damaging for SMEs.
With hosted telephony, thanks to intelligent call routing, your business never has to miss a call. Calls can be routed to the next available extension or hunt group, and they can be diverted or twinned with smartphones, so employees can still answer while they’re away from their desks. Call plans can even be created to route calls during public holidays or when the office is unexpectedly closed.
Improve customer experience
85% of people who experience a missed call will not call back, which can be extremely detrimental to businesses. With the ability to ensure all calls are answered whatever the scenario, hosted telephony can make both your customers and your staff happier.
Intelligent call routing also means you can ensure that your customers will be able to reach the person they actually want to speak to. And if that person is absent, their call can be rerouted to the next best line.
Arguably, cloud based communications can support SMEs better than fixed line comms, helping to enhance business performance and support ongoing growth. Understandably, SMEs may be reluctant to switch, for fear of the disruption and initial costs involved. However, surely the instant and long-term benefits of taking the leap to hosted telephony are worth it?
1 March 2016 | Jamie Ward
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.