There has without a doubt been a ‘revolution’ when it comes to our personal phones in the last 10 years with the Smartphone becoming not just popular, but absolutely essential to almost everybody old enough to own one.
The technology that is available has allowed us to carry around a device that is not just a phone, but also a handheld TV, games console, personal organizer, web browser & camera to which people have a huge attachment.
The old landline ‘home’ telephones have become a thing of the past – but what about in the workplace? Nothing much seems to have changed, or has it?
Have Business Phones Been Left Behind?
With all the developments in personal phones, the only place you even seem to see a Landline telephone nowadays is in the office or in a work setting. It feels like we still seem to use the same handsets we have done for the last 20+ years and that it is widely accepted that all business phones need to do a limited number of things – hold, transfer, call waiting, forwarding to an extension – above that what do you need from a business phone?
The fact is that the smartphone revolution has not been limited to only our personal phones – business telephony can be smart too, and there has been also been a quiet revolution happening with business phone systems too and a new generation of hosted phone systems for businesses has been born.
The question business owners are asking is does their business really need them – what can they do, and what do they cost?
Next-Generation Hosted Business Phones – Say Hello to ‘Smart Telephony’
We have already been over what the basic functions of most business phone systems are – this has not changed much in the last 20+ years and so it was inevitable it was going to catch up sooner or later, but what can these hosted phones actually do?
Well, the beauty of a hosted telephone system is its adaptability to the needs of your business. Every business is different, and so the ‘one size fits all’ approach of old is now dated and no longer works – most business phone systems are simply ‘adequate’ and businesses patch over the gaps in service that they don’t quite fill and just ‘make do’. With hosted voice systems there is rarely ever a need to ‘patch over’ as it is possible to quickly create something that functions tailored to your business’s needs through the new software-based service of a hosted telephone system.
So what can a hosted phone system actually do?
The possibilities of functionality are absolutely huge – hosted phone systems are no longer just for incoming and outcoming calls, there is so much more you can do with them in every area of your business, not only saving your staff time but also streamlining your customer interactions and giving them a better experience.
This is just some of the ways that a hosted voice system can be used in your business:
- PAYMENT PROCESSING– This is one of the key ways that a hosted phone system is essential for any business taking customer payments over the phone. Rather than having to wait for someone to be free, your customer can make a payment through your hosted phone system saving them time and giving them a better experience, and saving your business both time and money where this would usually have had to be handled by a member of staff.
- CRM MANAGEMENT– Phone calls with a customer can be transcribed through voice recognition software, meaning the notes from the call are instantly available on that customer’s profile, saving time and meaning customer details are instantly available when they call
- VOICE RECOGNITION– This has most recently been implemented by banks who use voice recognition as a way to identify customers and increase security for telephone banking, but there are a whole host of other ways that this technology can be used
- CALL ROUTING – Customers like to be given options – sometimes you need to speak to a human as you have a query that you need answers, other times you just need to be sent through to make a payment and do it via the Input system function offered by a hosted phone system. The hosted phone system offers the customer the chance to make the choice of where their call is directed – all customers like being given options, and nothing is more infuriating than being left on hold unnecessarily
- INFORMATION SERVICES – Frequently asked questions, opening times – all of these sorts of queries can be handled using an automated process on a hosted phone system. Much more convenient for your customer and only fewer staff are needed to handle such inquiries.
This ultimate guide has even more details about the benefits of a hosted voice for your business.
So how much does all this cost?
OK – So all this new technology and increased functionality, you can safely assume that it doesn’t come cheap, right? One of the biggest surprises that most businesses have when looking at this is the cost, and how cost-effective and cheap to switch to a hosted phone system is.
Hosted phone networks are software-based, meaning they run on computers – something that you already have with your IT infrastructure. Your new hosted phone network does away with all the old phones and meters of cabling and income the computers that you already use. Gone are the days of waiting for technicians coming to the site to manually fix the phone systems or to make any adjustments, these can almost all be done from the comfort of a Management Portal Tool, saving time and money and meaning changes can be made much quicker.
When you move from traditional phone systems to those that operate as part of your network – you also hand maintenance of that system over to a company that will look after your phones as part of your overall IT infrastructure. This means there’s no need to have more than one company on hand to deal with issues across all of your tech.
Putting off switching to a hosted phone system is putting off the inevitable, and the benefits to almost all business – and their customers – are so great, it’s hard to find a business using an old telephony system that wouldn’t benefit from switching to a hosted phone system.