"Technology is best when it brings people together," states Matt Mullenweg, WordPress developer. This statement rings true especially for businesses who strive to seamlessly connect customers and employees on a daily basis.
Business phone systems have evolved to make these connections possible. There are a number of benefits new technology has to offer that every business owner should consider. Switching to a cloud based phone system will enhance your business communications and truly bring people together.
Your company functions at its best when you have a smart, reliable communications system. Check out these 10 reasons why you should make the switch to a cloud based phone system today.
1. Reduce your phone bill.
A cloud based phone system, also known as a hosted PBX system, is a private branch exchange that is accessed over a network in the cloud via an internet connection. When you subscribe to a hosted PBX provider, you are paying for access to the provider’s secure exchange network as well as data storage.
Because the cloud provider manages the server network, there’s no need to house PBX hardware, such as the server and cabinets, at your facility. If you have been using an on premise system, you know the cost involved in maintaining this clunky equipment year after year.
By switching to a cloud based system, cost savings are significant given the fact that the hardware infrastructure goes away. Especially if your system life has reached 8.5 years of age, you would see instant savings because you would avoid the hardware replacements and upgrades required at that time.
The only hardware required for a cloud based phone system are phones and headsets. Some providers allow you to bring your own devices. Others may offer free phones at the time of installation. For example, MidWest Telecom will either work with your existing phones, offer free phones, or help you find the best deals for upgrades.
Additionally, many providers grant you the freedom to customize your plan, so you only pay for what you use. For instance, if you have capacity for 30 phones but only activate 25, then you’ll pay for 25. Calls tend to cost less as well, since your business is one of many users in the provider’s network.
All in all, businesses see an average annual cost savings of 30-40% when they switch to cloud based phone systems.
2. Enhance reliability and security.
You may be under the impression that an on premise phone system is more reliable and secure than a cloud based system. But there are two reasons why this is not necessarily accurate.
First, your in-house system is more vulnerable to power outages and bad weather. Since it is a stand-alone server, when the power goes out, your system goes down. A cloud based phone system is different because providers create geographical redundancies. This means they operate multiple servers to back up data and minimize downtimes.
In fact, many providers guarantee 99.99% uptime. In the rare times when service is down, the managed data center immediately resolves the issues. During downtimes, your employees can keep working by using their mobile phones via the provider’s app. The versatility keeps your work from going uninterrupted.
Second, managed data centers excel in maintaining high security measures to protect users’ data. They implement virus scanning intrusion prevention systems and dynamic blocking for bad actors. They monitor security constantly and update systems regularly.
Whereas, with an on premise system, you are responsible for ensuring security and operating effectively. Such responsibility can be an added burden on your time and resources.
3. Make and receive calls from any device connected to the internet.
In today’s modern age, a phone call no longer has to be made or received on an actual phone. Think about how people use Apple’s FaceTime or call friends from Facebook’s app. Perhaps you even have some customers who you call on WhatsApp or Skype using whatever device – PC/Mac, tablet, or smartphone – connected to the internet. The same ‘softphone’ capability exists for cloud based business phone systems.
What’s nice about routing all work calls through your business phone system is that you can track all conversations in one platform. If employees are left to manage communications on their own, you may end up with 20 or 30 user accounts for different apps.
Plus, employees have more freedom to make and receive voice calls on the device of their choice while remaining logged in to the business phone system. A desk clerk may prefer to make and receive calls on the computer with a headset rather than move between their computer and phone. A traveling sales manager may prefer routing inbound and outbound calls through their smartphone. You get the idea. Such a system is one more way you can increase productivity among your team.
In addition, your customers need only dial one phone number to reach your company. Regardless of what devices employees are working on, the phone system routes incoming calls to the appropriate person.
4. Get voice, video and messaging on one communications platform.
Just like voice, there are hundreds of apps for video and messaging communications. Gone are the days when only voice conversations suffice in the workplace. Today’s business world relies on a variety of communication methods to connect both within the office and externally.
Your customers have preferences for how they like to communicate with your business. Your employees have preferences as well for team collaboration and internal conversations. When you’re able to meet these preferences, you increase customer satisfaction and employee productivity.
A cloud based phone system combines multiple communication formats on one platform. Video conferencing and instant messaging are two popular features many businesses have opted for when upgrading their phone systems.
Having a unified communications platform eliminates the need for multiple app accounts, which may be another way your company can save resources.
5. Work from anywhere with an internet connection.
Perhaps one of the most appealing benefits of a cloud based phone system is the flexibility to work from anywhere so long as you have access to the internet. Whether employees are working from home, traveling or attending meetings off-site, they are able to log in to the business phone system via the app.
Remote working conditions are becoming more common. In both temporary and permanent remote work, businesses have found that cloud based phone systems create a seamless transition for employees to take their work with them wherever they go.
6. Access more features.
The sheer volume of features that come with a cloud based phone system far outweigh those of a traditional system. Providers are constantly adding new features for user convenience. Similar to an app store, you can choose what features best match your company needs.
Features such as voicemail to email, online faxing with digital signatures, vanity and toll free numbers, auto receptionist, and real-time omni-channel routing are widely available among providers. Some providers will offer bundled packages that include common features.
At MidWest Telecom, we offer customers a full menu of features to meet your business communication needs. You can get all the features for one low price.
7. Adjust features and options as your business grows.
The cloud based communications plan you may need five years or even one year from now may look a lot different from your needs today. Because the system is maintained through a user-friendly platform, it’s easy to make changes to your plan.
In your administrative platform, you can add or delete users, add or modify call routing instructions, and change features. Having the freedom to adjust your plan as needed ensures you maximize your investment.
Some providers offer additional support to customers regarding new features. For instance, MidWest Telecom extends free consultations to customers to review their strategic goals as they relate to their business communications system.
8. Track communications, analyze data and run reports.
Cloud based systems come with analytics and report functionalities to keep tabs on communications. Regardless of what device employees use, your system will document conversations.
The majority of managed data centers will create and archive call data records as well as messaging transcripts. You have access to historical and real-time reports to track total inbound/outbound calls, calls by extension, average wait time, average talk time, and more.
Many providers also include audio-video recording for one-to-one and conference calls. All communications, no matter where they take place – in the office or a remote location – are accounted for.
9. Integrate with your CRM.
Cloud based phone systems integrate seamlessly with Customer Relationship Management systems, so you can update customer profiles and store a history of each conversation in their accounts.
Integration eliminates the need for employees to toggle from one application to the next, which can prolong response time and diminish overall customer experience.
In addition, integration helps with data accuracy because all data is accounted for in your CRM reporting. You can maintain reports in one platform rather than running reports in multiple systems.
10. Team up with on-call support techs.
With a cloud based phone system, there’s no need for in-house maintenance. Rather, providers offer ongoing support to resolve issues quickly and perform updates. Their goal is to keep your system functioning 99.99% of the time and be available to assist you with technicalities.
Having access to on-call support takes the burden off your shoulders to troubleshoot technical issues. Even if you have an IT specialist on staff, a provider’s support team frees your employee to focus their attention on other issues.
When choosing a provider, ask about their support resources. For instance, MidWest Telecom customers have access to local support techs who respond quickly to your needs as well as online resources that cover basic setup topics, such as adding a new user, integrating apps, and setting up voicemail to email.
Ready to make the switch?
If you’d like to learn more about how a cloud based phone system can benefit your business, reach out by completing the below form or giving us a call. We’d love to get to know your company, discuss your goals and propose a plan that’s right for your business.