If you’ve got a traditional telephone service then you’re constraining your business.
That might sound like a bold claim – but traditional copper-based telephone lines have become such a fundamental part of most businesses that it’s difficult to think outside the box and consider what else a phone system might be able to do.
Fortunately, times are changing – and the number of businesses that are using hosted telephone services is increasing. If telephones have a part to play in your organisation, then following this lead might be a smart move to make. Here, we’ll run you through what hosted telephony is – and some of the benefits you’re likely to find when switching from an older style service.
What is a hosted telephony system?
To understand what hosted voice services look like, it’s important to get a quick understanding of what a traditional phone system entails. Put simply, a copper-line phone service works off its own network – so, every phone or phone base that you have in your office requires a connection – and each of those connections feeds back to an exchange somewhere in or near to your building.
With a traditional service, lines need to be installed by telecoms engineers – then activated at the exchange. It’s perfectly possible to have call routing options when calls come into your building – but they’re handled by specialist equipment that needs to be configured – again, by an engineer.
As a result, getting your telephone system up and running can be time consuming – especially if you need additional lines into your building – then, there’s the not-insignificant task of getting a copper line to every location that requires a phone.
Hosted voice services do away with this legwork entirely – and it’s all down to how they’re networked. Rather than voice being transmitted over purely copper lines, call data is entirely handled by your IT network – so, the ethernet cables or wireless connections that bring your IT devise together will also carry your calls. As a result, setting up a hosted service is simple – as are the dynamic call handling options that are all software controlled.
With a hosted service, you don’t have to worry about having the infrastructure in place to actually handle the data that your calls generate either – the whole system is hosted for you by a company specialising in delivering such services – and you can access it through your internet circuit.
What could a hosted voice service offer your business?
So, now you’ve got a quick overview of how a hosted service works compared to a traditional service, you can hopefully start to see a few of the benefits involved. If you’re planning to switch to hosted service, it’s vital that you access a detailed guide that explains exactly what hosted voice can offer – but, if you’re just doing some initial research, these following points will give you a good overview…
Improved customer service
Hosted voice services can radically change the way customers interact with your business when they call – and studies show that the impact is all positive.
In the past, phone systems have been only able to keep a customer on hold until someone can handle the call. While some hold music and an automated message is better than a constant ring tone – hosted services can expand on this enormously.
Voice and input recognition services can mean that customers can enter account numbers, access automated help, pass security screening and much more – rather than just sitting (im)patiently waiting for an end-user to handle their call. When someone does come through to one of your team, they’re likely to be on the call for a much shorter period of time – since some of the work has already been done by the hosted voice setup.
While there’s often no replacement for talking to a real person – people are always happy to interact with a call system if it means their time on the phone is significantly reduced – with the same positive outcome.
We’ve touched on hosted voice systems allowing customers to begin their interaction before their call is answered – but that’s just the tip of an enormous iceberg in terms of what else hosted voice makes possible for your business.
In reality, a hosted voice call system is a piece of software – and just as a piece of software can do virtually anything it’s programmed to do, a hosted voice system can be adapted to meet your business needs exactly. For instance:
When a customer calls and talks to one of your end-users, your telephone system could be setup to record that call – as well as transcribing it – so that full text and voice copies of the call can be held in your CRM system. Auto-scheduling of follow up calls can be created and added to your employee’s diary – as well as triggers that launch satisfaction surveys to your customer after the call – or SMS services that do the same.
That’s just one example of course – there’s really no limit to the features that can be added. With hosted voice, your phone system will work around your needs exactly – rather than you needing to plug functionality gaps in a traditional system with a workforce.
Greater end-user productivity
With so many features automated, call handling times are often significantly reduced – and the need for follow on work relating to the call that’s been handled is also reduced. As a result, employees are used in their very best capacity – essentially to do what only they can do – which tends to be more complex sales and service interactions with customers.
Taking away unnecessary parts of calls can represent a huge time boost for your team – for instance, if logging calls in your CRM takes 5 minutes each time – that would work out to be around 1 hour for every 12 calls that are handled. If this process becomes automated – that could represent a productivity boost of 230 hours over the course of a year – assuming your end user is only answering 12 calls a day.
You could be forgiven for thinking that a hosted voice service is likely to cost a lot more than a traditional service – after all, more features is generally accompanied by an increased price tag. The great news is, this often isn’t the case – and the reason boils down to a fact we’ve already covered; a hosted voice service piggybacks on your current IT infrastructure. If you’re considering the generation of telephone for your company – you might actually find that you start saving money – even before productivity gains are calculated…