words Al Woods
The new generation of hosted voice business telephone systems have many advantages over the old, outdated systems that they are replacing. Not only do they transform productivity; they can improve customer experience and come with added security benefits – all whilst remaining cost effective.
Some businesses have still not changed to a cloud-based system, however giving your customers the ability to interact directly with your phone system – either through their keypad or through their voice – is almost expected by customers now.
Change is not always welcome in business -particularly if the old system is working perfectly adequately as it is. However, automating your end user processes is something that can benefit your business hugely- so, is it worth exploring what a hosted voice system might offer your business?
Installation and management
Changing over from a traditional telephone system to a hosted voice services is not actually the logistical nightmare that you may expect, and it also has two major benefits
Firstly, it is not the same amount of work that fitting a traditional telephone system would be. If you are imagining engineers, wires and serious disruption to your business then you can stop worrying – if you have a business IT network already then you have almost everything you need already, and the extra 10% that needs to be done on top of that can be done with very little disruption to the workplace.
Secondly, anything that needs to be done to the system in terms of management going forward can also be done remotely in most cases via a management portal. This marrying up of your IT and telephony systems means the days of waiting for technicians to come on site and fix any problems whilst disrupting the workplace are almost certainly over
Benefits of a voice hosted telephone system
So a hosted voice telephone system offers the benefit of easy installation, along with simple and non-disruptive ongoing management and configuration. Automation of your telephone systems has many benefits – but what are the logistical benefits to upgrading to a voice hosted telephone system?
With your telephone system now being linked to your IT system you are decentralising your telephony system and putting a 3rd party managed IT network provider in charge of its security. The talk of off-site storage and 3rd party companies might well raise concerns – but it doesn’t need to. Rather than taking care of it yourself it is being handed over specialists who make guarantees to you about performance and defences.
Increased security and performance – doesn’t sound like that is going to come cheap does it? In actual fact, you would be expected to save over 50% in terms of costs in comparison to a traditional telephone system, as you will most likely already have the IT network in place that is needed for a voice hosted telephone system to work.
Going forward as well you will save money on operational costs as well – altering or reconfiguring your phone system can often be done remotely so call-out fees and engineers costs coming to fix or upgrade your system become a thing of the past.
Every business is different with wildly differing needs, but traditional telephone systems were very much a one size fits all solution, with voicemail and internal call-routing the only features available on top of normal dialling and re-dialling.
The real beauty of upgrading to a voice hosted system is the raft of options available to you – some of which we have touched on like remote management but also things like voice recognition, CRM integration, and one that can benefit almost all businesses – automating your end user processes.
What can a hosted voice systems do for you?
We have looked at benefits pertaining to the effective management of your telephone system and in relation to cost, but can upgrading to a voice hosted telephone system allow you to automate your end user processes – and what are the benefits of doing this?
It is useful to remember than all a voice hosted telephone system is, is a system for handling data and so it is probably easier to think of it like an application being run by your managed IT network company. The flexibility offered by this type of system means that it can be adjusted to find a solution that benefits both you and your end user.
One of the biggest benefits of a hosted voice system is the ability to automate customer interactions, which not only saves time and money for the business – it also improves the customers experience when calling up to perform a function such as making a payment.
Automating customer services
Automation of customer services sounds like a it could well be a logistical nightmare, but this is where voice hosted telephone systems come into their element. They don’t just save the company money but not having to have a huge number of staff to answer customer calls – customers also tend to prefer it. The reason being that they do not have to stay on hold until there is a human available to perform a function that could just have easily been automated.
So, what sort of functions that are performed by humans using a traditional telephone system can be automated once a voice hosted telephone system is installed?
Through the telephone keypad or voice recognition payment details can be entered into the system and processed, with payments being credited to that customers account. Transaction ID numbers and email receipts can also be automatically generated, all in a short space of time – and without any need to wait for a human to be available to talk to. This is a simple process to execute and means customers can pay at any time of the day or night in a short space of time/
Customers calling up with a question can use voice input to be directed to a set of pre-defined frequently asked questions relevant to the customer. There are multiple ways this can be customised, and there is always the option of being put through to a customer service operator through voice command if the answer they need is not there.
Sales calls and CRM Input
Sales enquiries can be automatically sent through to a customer service representative – however the recording of the call and transcribing and recording of what was said onto a CRM system saves time, and also means the customer can get better service in future as information about their previous queries can be brought up instantly
The result of the automation is reduced workload, reduced staffing costs and increased customer satisfaction – and there is always the option to speak to a member of customer services if that is what they prefer.