It’s fascinating to see the tremendous variety of new technologies commanding the attention of IT managers. There certainly is no shortage of priorities and new capabilities to explore. Yet, ironically, upgrading one of the most customer-oriented technologies available to businesses doesn’t seem to be a high priority. Why?
Ask yourself this: “Is your phone system able to keep up with your business?” I’m not talking about that old wall phone your grandfather used to have nailed to his shop wall. I am talking about Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP); this technology has been around for many years, yet it’s surprising how many organizations have not fully transitioned from their traditional analog phone system to VoIP technology. Kicking digital phone transition to a low rung on your ladder of priorities could result in an avoidable stumble. Beyond the price paid for lost business opportunities as the pace of competition increases, consider also the mounting costs of maintenance as legacy systems age and grow ever more obsolete.
Maybe phones have a familiarity that makes them easy to ignore with all the other moving parts of IT operations. Certainly, we hear the buzz around cloud strategy and data analytics and figure those are more important than worrying about phones, right? Sure, those other technologies are important, but when an issue arises, many customers who need to interact with you still reach for the phone. Your customers are looking for service, not receiving a busy signal or getting voicemail instead of reaching you.
Does your phone system hinder or help communication?
Do you hear that ring? It might be a million-dollar business deal calling. Or a customer trying to thank you for a job well done. Is your phone system ready and able to answer the call?
Like all of IT operations, phone systems have significantly advanced with digital technology. VoIP puts your phone system on the same digital network as the rest of your business, increasing the efficiency of your data network and eliminating the need to manage two separate networks.
There’s also the added bonus of increased productivity that naturally comes when you upgrade from a traditional analog voice service to VoIP. Things just seem to run a whole lot smoother. Utah State, for instance, saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by deploying a VoIP solution. The college also saved $120,000/year on labor expense by eliminating most trouble tickets through the automation features inherent in VoIP services. They even regained 80 hours a week in productivity for the IT team who were previously spending time on problems and managing office moves. Today, faculty and staff can move offices and just plug their phones into the wall in their new office. The system takes care of all the administration.
All this is possible because VoIP puts the intelligence into the network, rather than a handset that requires a manual configuration and has limited feature functionality.
Here’s how VoIP streamlines communication.
These are only the initial benefits of VoIP. The shift of building intelligence into the network provides the foundation for capabilities that analog phone lines could never achieve. The biggest productivity gains are from unified communications, an approach that erases the boundaries between the desk phone and the mobile phone; the customer interface tool and the customer data to self- manage day to day operations of an organization’s voice services at any time
VoIP is a foundational technology to unified communication. Employees are never out of contact with customers when they’re away from the desk. They also have complete access to business information through any device they are using, as voice and data traffic is on the same network.
Put simply, VoIP unleashes communication. When a customer calls, digital links can automatically call up stored data such as orders in process and delivery status, etc. This empowers your employees to focus on a customer’s in-the-moment needs, rather than having to promise to get back to them before launching a lengthy investigation into their issue.
We’re at a communications crossroads. Don’t get left behind. Remember, your customers expect that whenever they call, you will pick up the phone.
Beverly Smart, CenturyLink