As businesses adapt to remote-only environments, they are learning very quickly the importance of Unified Communications
Businesses today, due to the work from the home environment we are in, are finding they need Unified Communications. While some haven’t made the purchase yet, others are just discovering Unified Communications for the first time. Some businesses have found they indeed have Unified Communications (UC) or some elements of it but didn’t know. In this article, we dive into the four must-haves of Unified Communications solutions.
Perhaps the most critical feature of a UCaaS system these days is mobility. The mobility feature is non-negotiable and is a must-have. Furthermore, this feature should be free. In this context, mobility is the ability of your office phone number to ring on your laptop or smartphone. This is accomplished using a soft client installed on your laptop or as an app on your smartphone.
Since the communication is on IP, it can be via LTE or Wi-Fi, which means you can be connected remotely relatively easily. This enables your employees to work from anywhere, even if anywhere is home. The business can keep running smoothly since you can still talk to customers, using the same phone numbers you have always used. Predictions indicate, even when we are all past this, various forms of working remote will continue. With an expected 628 Million public Wi-Fi hotspots by 2023, (up from 169 Million in 2018), and with 5G coming, the ability to be connected from just about anywhere will increase by orders of magnitude, so this trend will continue for sure.
2. Presence Service
This brings me to the second point. I mentioned the soft client above, but the soft client should not just be a way to make a phone call. It needs to be able to handle presence as well. As we all work remotely, knowing the person you need to communicate with us online and available is a productivity enhancer. You can get an answer right away, even if that person is on a conference call, or you can set up a call at a later available time.
3. Video Collaboration
The third important feature is video collaboration. We have all heard of Zoom by now and in fact, it is turning into a verb. But a UC system needs to have the ability to handle large video conference and collaboration. Just seeing other employees and customers, and sharing documents, is becoming woven into the fabric of how we conduct business now, and it will surely continue into the future, as one of the ways meetings and discussions will be held. There are many options available for this and it does not have to be Zoom. But this is a critical feature of a UC system these days, and your UC supplier should be able to offer this to you.
4. Contact Center features
Finally, as an “office” became more of a place you used to go, many businesses found that answering the call and just looking for the right person does not work anymore. Businesses are finding that having a basic contact center would enable so much better customer service and are asking to add multimodal contact center features to the UC system. Why have another specific expensive contact center unit (either on-prem or another monthly cloud expense) if the UC system can handle the basic contact center features that would help a small business? Because why not – the UC system already includes multimodal communication potential.
Some basic contact center features include music on hold, IVR, and call queues. Call queues allow companies to provide top-notch customer service with features like queue callback, allowing callers to maintain their position in line without waiting on hold. Built-in queue priority ensures that customers are put in contact with an agent as quickly as possible by assigning specific callers to designated, prioritized queues that take into account arrival time. Callers can also take advantage of callback features, allowing your team to schedule calls and allowing recipients to confirm, cancel, or reschedule. These all-important call center or contact center features enable better customer service and make small businesses look larger to the outside world. These features, allow you to handle customer calls remotely, routed to your business phone number via your desk phone, smartphone, or laptop.
When you look for a UCaaS system, make sure these features are included at a simple to predictable price. If there are a bunch of “well..I’ll have to check on that” sort of things going on, that is a red flag.