We’ve written elsewhere about the top 10 reasons to move to hosted telephony. That post covered the more commonly known features, with which many people are already familiar.
To recap, these included:
- Feature richness
- Productivity gains
- Total scalability
- Rapid deployment capabilities
- Secure infrastructure
- Integration into business critical applications
- Crystal clear HD voice
- More detailed reporting and analytics than ever
- In-built disaster recovery
- Overall cost reduction
In this post, we are going to take a look at some more hidden benefits associated with hosted telephony.
When changing a key component of any business, there will be push back. People don’t like change. Once the change has been managed and accepted, hosted telephony comes into its own. And with intuitive user interfaces, the time taken to adopt is rapid.
Look and Feel
It’s no secret that people are more productive when the tools they are using are simple and intuitive to use. In the consumer world, we buy a smartphone or laptop based on its usability. iPhone users tend to side with the new iPhone rather than transferring allegiance to Android. Windows users aren’t comfortable with jumping ship to a Mac. Hosted telephony is no different. There are two key elements to this.
The first is the experience when using a handset. A traditional approach to telephone handsets has been a clunky piece of plastic with a dial pad and a few options to transfer or ignore a call. The handsets we see in modern hosted telephony are based on the user experience you are used to with your smart phone or tablet. You can fully expect a touch screen, customisable flex keys and click to dial thanks to integration into business apps like Salesforce and Skype for Business.
There will be some users in your business that always have and always will use a handset. These are catered for as standard.
For those that are constantly on the move, you can remove the need for a handset and provide a soft phone application on their business mobile or personal device. This enables making and receiving calls through your telephone system, with your business number displayed and all calls recorded and reported on.
For those working in private spaces, like home workers, using a mobile or desk phone is seen as an inconvenience when a laptop is perfectly capable of making and receiving calls. Save on clutter and inconvenience by installing a soft phone on the user's laptop. When they do need to come into the office or are working remotely, you can either provide a headset or revert back to the mobile version of the soft phone.
Each persona in your business can use the communication medium of their choosing.
Service Provider Involvement
Of course, every user is different. Following these guidelines is one step towards achieving change acceptance, but the comfort and confidence of having experts on hand goes a long way too.
In one customer example, we provided a hand holding service to critical departments on cutover day. This ensured users learned quickly and limited business disruption. We spent the entire cutover day helping answer calls, transfer calls and generally get them up to speed with their new service. With the powerful combination of hosted telephony technology and a committed service provider, change can be perceived as good.
Hosted telephony is incredibly agile. The modern workforce is no longer tied to their desk. When looking at a hosted telephony deployment, it’s important to uncover how a solution will cater for your mobility needs.
In businesses where users are out of the office for long periods of time, field sales or support engineers, wasted desk space is a real issue. In order to utilise real estate in an office environment, hosted telephony can enable hot desking.
Each desk is assigned a handset, as usual. The difference with hot desking is that there is no telephone number or user assigned. This means anybody can arrive at a desk in the morning – or afternoon if your sales team has left after the Monday sales meeting – and login to a phone of their choice. With a simple extension number and PIN, you gain numerous desks back in your office. This is crucial for businesses that are near exceeding capacity in terms of number of staff. When planned correctly, a modern office can cater 100 members of staff but only require 50 desks and desk phones.
If a user is logged out of a desk phone, the user is still reachable. Options here include logging in a softphone on a mobile, tablet or desktop, forwarding calls to their mobile or simply letting the call divert to voicemail. Once a voicemail is received, it can be emailed as a WAV file to the users inbox.
In the same vein, meeting space is a premium in businesses. With the need for collaboration recognised as crucial, getting together is more important than ever. Think of the amount of time lost trying to book a meeting room, or waiting for the previous meeting to finish. Hosted telephony opens the door to all forms of virtual meeting.
Audio conferencing is common place in businesses. The addition of video conferencing has removed the annoyance of speaking over each other and turned conference calls into productive, time-saving face to face meetings. Hosted telephony enables this through a high-spec desk phone, headset and laptop or meeting room system.
In a virtual meeting, features such as screen sharing, whiteboarding and meeting recording can be turned on and off when required. This removes the need for constant distractions and eradicates travel time to and from offices.
When buying a telephone system of old, it was an investment until you needed a new one. The telephone system was restricted to simply being a telephone. With hosted telephony, you are connected to the cloud. This means as technology advances, so does your business.
Service providers need to keep introducing the latest features and adding technology, in order to remain competitive in their respective markets. Some will focus on providing a reliable and robust core telephony service. Others will branch out into team messaging functionality or introduce contact centre features. Either way, when purchasing hosted telephony, the expectation must be that you are investing in communications for the future, not just today.
This doesn’t mean that you consume everything in one go. The desire is not to charge more for functionality that you won’t use or evolve your business into something it doesn’t need to be. Cloud technology enables you to consume as much, or a little, functionality as you need. Then when you are ready to take the next step, you just move up a license tier to the next level and start to benefit from new features.
If you would like to find out more, then you may like to read one of our other blogs or downloads, or request a conversation with one of our consultants. We are always happy to discuss, without obligation.