How SMEs can use telephony to drive business growth

SMEs form an integral part of the UK economy. They account for 15.6 million (60%) of private sector jobs and contribute £1.8 trillion to the economy. Growth for SMEs is important, and growing enough small firms would have a huge impact on the UK’s overall productivity. According to a study by the Enterprise Research Centre, an overwhelming 85% of new jobs created in the UK between 2008 and 2013 were by businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

However, not all SMEs have the right infrastructure in place to support that growth. According to research by Sage, almost 40% of UK small businesses cite the need for better administrative processes and technology as useful in freeing up their time. This suggests that while small businesses have the advantage of being more agile than their larger counterparts, their time is tied up with red tape and unresponsive technology which could be holding them back.

Making the switch from traditional telephony to a modern hosted phone system can help solve many challenges facing small businesses today, and can play a major role in driving the company’s future growth.

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Phone systems for SMEs

Greater flexibility

Small businesses rely on their agility to survive. Being able to adapt to the changing needs of the market quickly and easily is what makes SMEs stand out against larger competitors. Voice and data infrastructure therefore should be easily scalable to suit business needs – whether at a single office, across multiple sites or out on the road.

Hosted telephony allows businesses to manage user settings, connect multiple offices and add handsets or mobile devices simply and easily into the system with minimal IT or provider support. Added to that, SMEs can also have phone numbers that aren’t tied to a regional area, giving the appearance of a greater presence, or a more local presence than in reality when needed.

Improving operations

Voice communication still makes up a large part of how customers interact with businesses today. This means having an enterprise-grade telecoms system is crucial in ensuring customer service quality. Hosted telephony can ensure calls are always answered by routing calls seamlessly between hunt groups, and even locations or devices for increased business continuity.

 

Keeping an eye on cash flow and expenditure is always a concern for small businesses. By having both telephony and data coming from one provider, SMEs can spend less time on supplier management and focus their energies on growing the business. Furthermore, a modern telecoms system can give business greater visibility into how calls and data are being used. Such performance data can help businesses plan ahead, and adjust their telecoms strategy to best suit the business and budget.

With a hosted system, there is also no costly hardware to purchase or maintain going forward, and with a simpler per user per month cost for the service – usually including calls – budgeting for telecoms spend is much easier, too.

Whether it’s a call that’s not answered in time, or hardware that isn’t delivering expected call quality – SMEs wanting to drive growth need the right tools in order to do so. Hosted telephony offers a range of benefits over traditional ISDN, and its flexible nature makes it ideal for SMEs who value adaptability within their infrastructure. There are no shortcuts to success, but having the right tools in place can help fast track development. Adopting new technology drives innovation, meaning a change in telephony can be the solution SMEs need to reach their full potential.

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6 April 2016 | Jamie Ward

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