As American journalist Earl Wilson once said, “Science may never come up with a better office communication system than the coffee break.”
If Earl were alive today, we believe he’d reconsider when he saw the current business communication landscape. He might even happily downgrade the coffee break to second place.
Regardless, here’s the truth: in business, standing still means falling back. To keep your operations moving forward, you must constantly improve, innovate, and refine your processes.
Your business communications are no different. You rely on effective communication for just about everything – from keeping employees updated on company matters to interacting with your clients and partners.
The key to success is strengthening those communications with key features that unlock a myriad of benefits. In other words, better business communication means better business overall.
Adding features to your phone system will make a huge difference in terms of overall productivity and collaboration. Here’s how to get started.
Start With a Hosted VoIP Base
For most businesses, the first step to better business communications is partnering with a hosted VoIP provider. Conventional phones make calls using analog signals through landlines. On the other hand, VoIP (which stands for Voice over Internet Protocol) calls are made over the internet using robust digital (IP) networks.
“Hosted” VoIP simply refers to VoIP that isn’t managed by your organization on-premises. In short, there’s no equipment for you to install or maintain. It’s all handled by your VoIP provider.
So why would you want to switch? Here are two good reasons.
For starters, there’s predictability. Your monthly costs are easily trackable and they’re greatly reduced, especially when compared to the cost of installing and maintaining a traditional premise-based system. That also makes for a better managed IT budget.
Secondly, configuration is much simpler. Your business communication needs are unique, so choosing a system that allows for customization is the key to getting the most out of it.
Mix in Telephony Integration
With telephony integration, your hosted VoIP system gains another dimension of use. Imagine the time you could save each day by being able to make and take work phone calls from your work number using any device.
Then, multiply that by the number of people in your company. It quickly adds up to a lot of saved time and added convenience.
Say you want to make a work call from your smartphone. You can fire up your VoIP app and call away. Maybe you’re on the computer, and you need to be on the computer to take a call? You can, using an easy-to-use online portal that links directly to your number.
Add a Dash of Presence Management
One of the biggest annoyances in modern business communications is the unknown status of everyone’s presence (or lack thereof). It’s hard to track people down and doing so wastes a lot of time.
Presence management keeps an updated status of each VoIP user. If they’re on the road, on vacation, out to lunch, out sick, or – weirdly – all of the above, you’ll know about it.
With customizable presence settings, you’re also able to tailor unique voicemails and modify your call forwarding status while setting a ring priority.
In practice, it looks like this: If you miss an important phone call, you can set it to forward to someone who can take it for you.
These customizations help create operational clarity and improved workflows throughout the company.
Throw in a Pinch of Online Conferencing
Online conferencing has evolved into a must-have for businesses over the past several years. Conference calls are fantastic for putting everyone together and discussing matters at hand in an collaborative way.
But that’s far from their only use.
You can use online conferencing to set up team meetings, online training sessions, and sales presentations delivered directly to your leads. Conferencing through VoIP systems also has the added benefit of adding lots of users – even up to 100 in a single conference.
Business communications relies heavily on more than just productivity-enhancing tools, but also those that improve the effectiveness of collaboration between users.
Top Off with Unified Communication
The biggest difference between a hosted VoIP system and traditional phone systems is that hosted VoIP can be much more than just a phone.
Ideally, it should become your platform for improved business communications. It’s a good idea to start with the phone system, but it’s important to realize that you can consolidate your communication tools into one streamlined package.
The integration and connection of these services is known as unified communications. It’s a huge market projected to be worth $96 billion by 2023.
Hosted VoIP as Part of Your Business Strategy
Admittedly, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by VoIP and all its related features. However, when used strategically, it can become an invaluable tool for your business communications.
That’s why hosted (and managed) VoIP systems exist in the first place.
In turn, optimizing your business communications is an important step to improving your business as a whole.