VoIP for business is now the defacto standard for business communications. Having established itself during the pandemic as essential to communicate with remote workers, customers, and suppliers, the push is to find new and innovative ways to leverage VoIP for business to provide more cost benefits and deliver new cost-effective services.
VoIP is usually viewed as the basis of a Unified Communications Strategy. All internal and external communications are moved onto a digital platform, and users can move seamlessly between different communication modes. They share global address books and can communicate directly with a customer or colleague from the address book, or even an email address.
Several suppliers, including Microsoft, provide hooks into their core Office systems to allow other applications to share contact information. It has the undoubted benefit of keeping contact lists up to date.
More than ever, business communications are vital to a business’s success. Customers and suppliers need to get in touch. The company needs to maintain an Internet presence to market its goods and services and support an e-commerce facility. Geographically dispersed businesses need business communications to link home office, manufacturing sites and depots at home and abroad. That is where VoIP provides the greatest business benefits.
The first area where VoIP delivers benefits in business communication is improved management of communications costs. Many businesses make regional and international calls. If those calls, individual or conference over voice or video, are over a PSTN landline, the costs can be prohibitive. That inhibits communications and reduces the value of teamwork, either in the number or duration of calls.
The Internet is the carrier for VoIP calls, and completion is free, over and above the costs of providing Internet access. The downside is that a third party provides the connection. That means it is sometimes not available and is variable in quality.
These savings are offset by the need to have warm bodies in a call centre or office to manage customer queries. Most questions are of a similar type, answered using a FAQ or sales and user manuals. However, customers prefer the reassurance of a voice on the other end of the phone, presenting them with a solution.
Again, VoIP can help. Many businesses have local support numbers in major centres, linked to a central call centre function. It gives a better business profile, in that it looks like the company has a local presence. Using VoIP and call forwarding, calls to a local support number are forwarded to the call centre free of charge.
The second benefit is providing cost-effective services that cannot be delivered using analogue PSTN-based phone systems.
Every business needs a unique selling proposition, a hook that differentiates them from their competitors and persuades potential consumers to buy from them. One such theme is after-sales service. Unless there is a significant price advantage to buying from a company with a low after-sales service reputation, consumers will buy from a company with a better reputation.
It is particularly true in the new digital age. Potential purchasers now search for products using their smart devices and ask their online buddies for recommendations. They search online consumer sites like HelloPeter for positive or negative advice. Personal recommendations are usually based on customer perceptions, mostly on the service levels they received during the sales process itself or in after-sales service.
Again, this is where VoIP can help. An organization can develop cost-effective VoIP based customer satisfaction processes that interact with customers. The ultimate aim is to provide personalized voice messages to customers that don`t sound like a robot is delivering them, and one that responds seemingly intelligently to customer responses. Using VoIP, supported by AI, voice messages can be programmed into interactive processes that require little or no manual intervention.
Other purely internal services can provide “free” business services. Hunting groups, call pick-up, and automated call forwarding can add value to business processes.
Under the prior PSTN systems making an unauthorized call was as easy as sneaking into the manager’s office and phoning overseas relatives from there. Security is linked to the handset. In a VoIP environment, security is based on users and their security levels. It is much easier to manage calls security by giving users predefined call restrictions, for example, local only.
Using VoIP in a business is a no-brainer. All your competitors are.