19 March 2015
There has been a recent noticeable shift in the way many businesses operate, particularly those embracing the needs of today’s more agile workforce. Are you providing your customers with communications solutions that meet their changing needs?
Following recent legislation that means businesses are now required to embrace employees’ flexible working requests, companies are striving to make themselves more agile. It’s therefore important that businesses internal systems can support flexible working requirements while also giving their employees the ability to maintain ‘business as usual’, particularly with customer service delivery. By allowing flexible working hours, locations and even work roles, companies are now embracing new technologies to help them do so successfully, that previously weren’t required.
As a telecoms reseller, it’s up to you to ensure that the technology powering your agile customers’ communications can keep up. With 96% of surveyed companies in the UK reportedly offering at least one type of flexible working option, the agile workplace isn’t something you should ignore and neither is offering next-generation communications solutions that can support this.
One way to ensure that you’re addressing the needs of your agile customers is by offering SIP trunking. Whilst there’s still a place for traditional ISDN, there has been a significant increase in the adoption of SIP services, particularly for those businesses already embracing flexible working practices. The rigidness of ISDN, both in terms of cost and scalability, can make it impractical for companies whose needs are constantly changing.
SIP trunking offers customers:
› Improved scalability – For businesses that receive an increased demand on their communications systems at peak times of the year, SIP trunking gives them the ability to scale up the amount of available channels to cater for an increased call volume quickly and more easily. University clearing is a good example of this.
› Lower costs – With traditional telephony, providers have to sell lines in multiples of two or more meaning that often a customer may only require one additional line but will have to pay for two. With SIP your customers will only need to pay for the lines they need. Capacity can also be shared across multiple sites, removing the need to pay for additional lines for temporary increases in demand. In addition, by combining SIP with an inbound call management system, customers can also benefit from setting up call plans themselves, and access useful performance statistics, giving them greater flexibility with call management and helping them to make better business decisions based on actual call data.
› Business continuity – Many SIP solutions have built-in business continuity features. If, for any reason, a site’s communications are interrupted, your SIP customers will find their calls automatically re-routed to alternative locations.
A great alternative to SIP trunking is cloud-based telephony. Hosted PBX solutions can give an agile business the edge they need to stay competitive. By moving their communications to the cloud your customers can enjoy:
› Flexibility – Cloud-based telephony solutions allow your customers to offer instant flexibility to their employees. Many hosted solutions give the user access to an easy-to-use online portal which they can access to set up call diverts, hunt groups, call twinning, call queuing and more. By giving businesses access to reroute incoming calls themselves, staff will have the ability to receive inbound calls anywhere, anytime, from any device simply at the touch of a button.
› No on-site PBX hardware required – A great benefit of offering your customers a PBX that’s hosted in the cloud is that they no longer have to worry about the additional charges that come from having an on-premise PBX. This means no more costly maintenance repairs or ongoing rental costs. Everything is incorporated into one fixed monthly fee (which is a great selling point for you when promoting a hosted solution).
› Continuity across multiple sites – If your customers have multiple offices a hosted PBX could be the perfect fit. A hosted phone system handles all calls for the company from one central location, the cloud. Even better, in most cases your customers can also benefit from free site to site calls.
For the ultimate communications toolset, consider offering your customers multiple products that work seamlessly together. A converged solution will provide fixed voice, internet access and mobile voice services all under a single bill, from a single supplier – yourself! By bundling multiple products together, your customers can take advantage of increased flexibility as a result of linking multiple communications into a single platform. They’ll also only have one point of contact for all their communications requirements. For you, this means that your customers are much more sticky. Receiving multiple services from one provider can make customers’ more reluctant to make the move to a competitor – improving your revenues as a result.
Let’s get back to basics – if an agile customer has a need that you can’t fulfil they’ll take their business elsewhere. Flexible businesses have gone to a lot of effort to ensure that their processes enable them to respond quickly to fast-changing needs as and when required. If you can’t supply a communications solution that can do the same, your customers will look for a supplier who can.
19 March 2015 | Justin Coombes
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.