Unified Communications is a communication approach in which multiple channels, tools, and methods used for internal and external communications such as IP telephony, email, text messaging, live chat, and audio, video, and web conferencing are all bundled together into a single platform.
This approach is an innovation of the VoIP technology which allows the transmission of calls as data packets through the Internet instead of copper lines, replacing the traditional landline phone system in many business environments. Here, those once siloed VoIP solutions and applications required for making and receiving calls over the Internet now work in harmony with other communication tools. As a result, employee productivity is increased.
For instance, before making VoIP calls, employees can quickly check the availability of their co-workers, preventing them from wasting their time on unanswered calls. Unified Communications solutions can deliver significant changes to your business aside from making your employees more productive.
- Cutting Down Costs
Implementing unified communications solutions will help your business save money. This is because the development, provisioning, deployment, and maintenance of these solutions are all outsourced to a single service provider.
Let’s say you want to build your own mobile VoIP app. This requires you to hire software developers, UI/UX designers, IT architects, and quality assurance engineers. Paying for the services of these professionals will eat up a big chunk of your budget.
On the contrary, passing this task over to a Unified Communications solution or service provider lets you cut down your development costs. In addition, all the needed hardware and equipment for running these solutions are maintained by the provider.
- Boosting Employee Productivity
One notable importance of information and communication technology is that it’s being continuously modernized so employees of businesses can do more in less time. Fortunately, a new communication technology called Unified Communications phone system is helping starting or growing businesses improve the productivity of their employees, enabling them to easily respond to SME challenges.
With this system, employees can rapidly switch between multiple communication channels without exerting much effort, giving them an easy way to do multitasking. For example, they can send files or documents to their colleagues while they are on a call or participate in an online meeting as they are responding to customers’ inquiries and concerns via email or chat.
This enables them to complete their tasks and activities faster, thereby increasing their productivity. In fact, Eastern Management Group came up with a research about the effect of Unified Communications on workplace productivity, which findings were quoted by Digium. The research showed that an average of 52% increase in workplace productivity was accounted for small businesses who are adopting the Unified Communications phone system.
- Facilitating Collaboration In Remote Work
Unified Communications solutions are placed at the top of the list of modern communication technology because they are advanced enough to support the needs of businesses that are employing remote work. In remote work, in-house or office-based employees are given the opportunity to do some of their jobs from home or anywhere they want.OWLLabs’ 2018 Global State of Remote Work report disclosed that 52% of employees across the world are working remotely at least once a week. Some companies are also enabling remote work by outsourcing jobs to contractors and freelancers abroad.
Unified Communications solutions make it easy for remote workers to interact and collaborate with each other or with their colleagues in the office because they can access all the communication tools they need from different types of device, be it a desktop, laptop, or smartphone.
Information is synchronized across all the solutions and the devices where they are installed. As a result, employees stay on the same page wherever they are.
- Delivering Seamless & Consistent Customer Service
Customer service is, arguably, the most important aspect of your business that you want to improve using a communications technology. Customers engage with businesses through various communication channels to ask inquiries, seek assistance or support, or raise complaints.
They can even move from one channel to another to follow up on the same concerns. If you’re using siloed communication tools, your agents may have a hard time tracking details about customer’s issues. Because of this, customers have to repeat the same information to your agents, which is very frustrating.
Indeed, a report about customer service expectations revealed that customers want a seamless and consistent experience across all the communication channels they are using for reaching out to companies.
What’s great about Unified Communications solutions is that they provide your agents with quick access to all the important customer records they need, permitting them to check the details of previous communications with customers from a central place, regardless of the channels used.
- Building A Modern Contact Center
If you have a contact center, you can innovate it by taking advantage of the modern functionalities offered by Unified Communications solutions. These solutions let you set up an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) that is tailored to the specific needs of your business.
This IVR can be integrated with your own database, a functionality that allows customers to automatically receive answers to their inquiries without the involvement of any contact center agent.
Another contact center functionality is Voicemail-to-Mail. With this functionality, voicemail messages are forwarded to the email addresses of your agents as attachments, and they can even download and play voicemail recordings from their mobile devices. When they are too busy to listen to voicemail messages, they can read the transcripts of voicemail messages, which are delivered via email or text.
- Optimizing Lead Generation
Unified Communications solutions offer capabilities that can help you produce prospective customers for your business. For instance, you get the ability to integrate these solutions with your existing CRM system.
This integration, then, permits you to enrich the buyer personas found in your CRM system with information gathered from interactions with prospects across various communication channels.
This way, you’ll be able to understand your prospects better by gaining insights into their interests, goals, motivations, and activities. You can leverage information about your prospects to create and execute effective lead generation techniques such as personalized email and video marketing.
- Providing Superior Reliability
Maintaining a smooth and stable flow of communications is crucial to the daily operations of businesses. This is the reason why Unified Communications solution and service providers are creating a network, hardware, and software redundancies aimed at reducing service disruptions.
Redundancy refers to the process of building backups or duplicates of network instances and system components that are utilized in case downtimes, failures, and unavailability issues occur.
For example, in software redundancy, if one of your Unified Communications tools goes down, you can use an alternative program while the tool is being fixed.
UC Solutions: Helping Businesses Respond To Changes & Challenges
Businesses are facing a lot of changes and challenges driven by various factors such as employees’ desire to work independently and flexibly from anywhere, customers’ expectations when it comes to asking assistance or support from customer service teams, and the urgency to adopt advanced technologies to be able to attract more potential customers and compete with large enterprises.
Unified Communications solutions help them respond to these changes and challenges. Their remote employees can now seamlessly interact and collaborate with each other, as all the communication tools they need are integrated into a single package and easily accessible from any device.
Meanwhile, customer service teams are able to promptly resolve issues raised by customers because they can effortlessly track customers’ interactions across multiple communication channels, allowing them to find out what their customers really need. Easy access to lead information is also given to marketing teams, which aids them in engaging with prospects in a more personalized way.
Businesses, furthermore, get the opportunity to build their own contact centers that are equipped with highly automated and advanced functionalities. This lets them easily compete with big companies, especially in terms of customer service, without spending a lot of money.