Communications

IMPROVE EMPLOYEE RETENTION WITH UPGRADED COMMUNICATIONS

Personnel costs are a considerable portion of any company’s budget, and high churn rates make that percentage skyrocket. Companies looking to reduce costs by improving employee retention need to take a proactive approach. Waiting until the exit interview to investigate why an employee decided to move on means the business missed out on the golden opportunity of identifying the obstacles and challenges its employees face.

Employees are the lifeblood of an organization, which is why having a strong team is critical. But we all know the battle to attract top talent can be ruthless. It’s easy for businesses to be ensnared in the vicious cycle of investing valuable resources in training and developing an employee only to lose them to a competitor. When this happens, it leaves administrators in the organization ripe with confusion and asking the question of, “why?” After all, they seemed content and satisfied in their position.

With low retention, looking at just the surface-level problems will guide you to the wrong answer and ultimately the wrong solution. In today’s competitive market, wasting precious time and resources can be a business’s undoing. However, approaching employee retention doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Often, a few key changes can yield significant results. A common cause for employees to leave is communication problems. We’ll look at how improved communications helps keep employees satisfied and productive.

 
Access to Information
Older business communication systems can make finding the right information difficult and frustrating. …

FOUR WAYS UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS IMPROVES THE CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE

With online reviews being so easy to create and share, improving customer service is more important than ever before. In fact, it’s quickly become a top priority for 72 percent of businesses. Many call centers and service departments have switched to VoIP for cost savings, but integrating other unified communications can improve the experience even more.

Unified communication provides a high level of customers service. By combining UC tools like instant messaging, email, and phone employees can communicate simultaneously, thereby getting to the root of the problem faster. If you’re on the fence about implementing UC, here are four ways it can enhance the customer service experience.

 
1. Answer customers’ questions more quickly.
With UC, clients are able to choose their preferred method of communication, which means the time it takes to process a request is dramatically reduced. UC works by integrating a variety of real-time communication tools, with the goal of improving internal communication. Collaboration between customer service representatives and experts becomes faster and more efficient. Telephone features, like click to dial with desktop-based communications, instant messaging, web conferencing, and video conferencing are ways UC can seamlessly connect an organization. This way, you can avoid putting anyone on hold and answer questions more accurately.

 
2. Help customers find the right product.
Have you ever been working with a seemingly strong lead only to have them suddenly vanish never to be heard from again? If that story sounds familiar know you’re not alone; businesses are experiencing …

BUSINESS PHONE SYSTEMS: HOW OLD IS TOO OLD?

A business’s phone system acts as the primary method for communicating with clients. Uprooting the current system and replacing it with a new one is a delicate matter, so it’s tempting to go with the old adage—if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. However, just because something still works doesn’t mean it’s doing what it needs to be doing. Old phone systems may be draining more money out of your business than they’re generating.
Telecommunications technology is ever evolving, but what remains the same is a business’s need for a reliable communication tool. Yet when it comes to upgrading that 10-year-old push-button phone sitting on the desk, people tend to hesitate. Knowing when or if you should upgrade your phone system can be a complicated decision. Here are some signs that it’s time for an upgrade.

 
Adding or Moving Locations
If your business is moving to or opening a new location, installing an older phone system can be detrimental to your finances. The costs of uninstalling, transporting and reinstalling an older communication system can be significantly more expensive than the price of a brand new system. For this reason, alternatives to POTs (plain old telephones) are becoming more popular.

Experts say there will be over 27 million VoIP users by the year 2020, which means that a universal upgrading is practically inevitable. Alternative communication systems, like VoIP, are attractive because they offer substantial cost-saving incentives for business. You’ll find a single installation of VoIP across …

Should You Price Shop for Communication Solutions?

Everyone loves a good deal. When you can get great value out of a relatively small purchase, you tend to enjoy that purchase just a little more. But price shopping doesn’t always have a great outcome. Focusing on finding a steal can mean you’re getting a subpar product or service. Here’s the thing: most unified communications platforms pride themselves on their affordability, but affordability is relative. So how do you find a system that fits both your needs and your budget? Here are four questions to ask yourself when you’re searching for communication solutions.
1. How do you use your phone system?
One good place to start when shopping for communication solutions is your phone. Your phone system should be a foundational part of your unified communications system, and it’s a piece of the puzzle that most businesses already have and use, so it’s a good indicator of whether or not any given solution will work for you.

Start by analyzing how you use your phones. While going through old phone bills isn’t exactly thrilling, it will give you a clearer picture of how people in your organization are making calls. Are they mostly local, or long distance? Do a large portion of your calls go to a single area outside of your city or state? Do you have a toll free number? Different VoIP providers offer different billing structures with regards to distance, phone numbers, and call duration, so you can …

What’s a Project Implementation Plan?

A project manager’s job today very much resembles that of a ship captain in the 1800’s, having to think about every aspect of the boat while getting it safely from point A to point B in a timely manner. There tends to be no down time from the start to finish of a project, with every moment and every hour a consideration about what else could impact the project.

The sailing map for the project captain, however, doesn’t resemble some artistic cartography. Instead, the old-school charts and timelines are replaced by a more sophisticated project implementation plan. This set of documentation collectively details every step, phase, date and tasks of how the given project comes together. As a result, the project manager’s job involves not just creating the plan, but also ensuring compliance with the project.

The project implementation plan often provides the project manager a checklist as well as a set of performance metrics of expected results to aim for by each date or stage. Psychologically, a well-structured plan of progress usually provides better results than going into a project simply guessing how to proceed day-to-day. When used for benchmarking, the implementation plan may provide an early signal that project work might be steering off the rails and heading in the wrong direction. Finally, the plan lays out an approach that all the team members on the project understand and can reference.

A typical implementation plan appears as a large document with lots of …

Demystifying the Top 3 Concerns about Cloud Phone Solutions

There are many reasons organizations are turning to cloud technology. It’s flexible, scalable, offers cost savings and has the mobile features to meet your business and employee demands. But what about your phone system?

There are many reasons organizations are turning to cloud technology. It’s flexible, scalable,offers cost savings and has the mobile features to meet your business and employee demands.But what about your phone system?
You may be considering updating your phone system to the cloud, but have concerns about security, control and risk. The reality is that world-class cloud phone systems have largely addressed these worries.
Making your concerns disappear isn’t magic. The truth is, all of the concerns above are legitimate and it’s up to you to find a cloud phone solution that has an established track record.So you’re probably wondering, how can a proven cloud phone provider make your concerns disappear?  

Concern #1: Being secure in the cloud
When most executives consider switching to a cloud-based phone solution, they initially picture everything that could go wrong. Outsiders could steal a phone and use it to hack into their network. Someone might listen in on their calls. And the biggest worry of all: Someone may tap into the system to make international calls, which would cost the business dearly.

Why security isn’t a concern: Sophisticated cloud phone solutions have firmware built into their phones that have unique digital signatures. These signatures can’t be re-written, which limits the ability for somebody to hack the system to place, listen to, or disrupt calls. Additionally, these phone systems use SIP to encrypt signaling information. This prevents …

Are Your Meetings As Efficient as Possible?

Whether your next meeting is an effective, productive one, or one your staff barely manages to “get through” is up to you. When evaluating your meeting effectiveness, consider if you regard them as part of a routinely practiced growth vehicle, or are just gathering everyone for the sake of routine? Sad to say, many reports conclude that meetings came in as the leading killer of office productivity, even beating out office politics. If you want to make your meetings the best they can be, set aside time to consider these items:

Is This Meeting Necessary?
Having a meeting for the sake of a having a meeting thinly veiled as an update serves no purpose, other than an opportunity for everyone to get up and moving, and away from their desks for an hour or so. Before you even block the meeting time, make sure you have a defined purpose and clear objectives. Does your staff need to be made aware of a change of management or a shift in strategy? Do you need their input in making a decision? Is there a problem facing the company? If you can’t identify a valuable reason, there’s no reason to hold a meeting.
Who Should Attend?
Often, in a misguided attempt to be inclusive, a manager or department head will summon all his staff to a meeting. However, if the discussions have nothing to do with their responsibilities, workers will consider the meeting a waste of time and spend …

Communication Solutions: Using Visual Voicemail Effectively

Visual voicemail is one of the many communication solutions available today that could make your life a lot easier. It could change the way you work, ease some personal angst, and even make you more efficient. And although it may be a newer communications solution, it’s not a new invention. It’s at times called “voice transcription,” and it is a way to see your messages quickly without having to listen to them.

Visual voicemail is simply a transcribed version of your messages. It’s somewhat an old idea that has finally come of age. Messages are transcribed automatically, and with the push of a button on your phone, you can see the message the caller left. It offers convenience, flexibility and mobility.
How it Works
The visual voicemail service usually works in connection with an application that you download onto your device. You have to subscribe to the service and have a data connection. From that point, your messages are available at the touch of a button. You can see both who called as well as what the message was that they left. You may also respond to the message by text, delete messages and organize them as you wish.
How it’s Useful
Visual voicemail can have a number of useful purposes. It can also allow you to see who called, and even send a response text back while in a meeting without disrupting what’s happening. While you may not be able to call the person right back, you …

4 Communication Solutions for Common Problems

When you combine two or more employees together to complete a project, you run the risk of having some form of misunderstanding. It happens at virtually every organization, at every level of employment. However, if you are aware of how to handle these issues as they arise, you can overcome them quickly and move on to more positive collaboration.

To improve your effectiveness in combatting these communication problems, consider these 4 communication solutions for common work-related problems.
Solution #1: Diagnose Your Specific Issue
Typically, work-related communication problems fall into 3 areas:

Silence: If this is the problem, your initial conversations may have been rushed, or status updates on projects or timelines aren’t being received frequently enough. You may find yourself asking questions about a project just to diagnose what needs to be completed.
Noisy: Over-communicating can also cause significant problems for a business. This results in excessive amounts of meetings to discuss things that have already been discussed numerous times and there seems to be no execution on the actual project itself. You may find yourself dealing with conversations regarding irrelevant information or minor issues that don’t require such extensive discussions.
Confusion: It may be that you have the right amount of communication, but there’s a disconnect with the mutual understanding. You may have thought you knew what was expected of you, but when you present your work, they inform you it wasn’t what they had in mind for the project. Or, maybe you answered a question …

Communication Tools for a More Efficient Business

For most of us, we could easily think of a handful of things in our professional lives that could benefit from more efficient processes. Reason being, when we get more of the day-to-day business functions completed faster we have more time to focus on ideas, collaboration and business growth. But how do you start using your communication tools to foster a more efficient business culture? It begins by empowering those around you with the tools they need to get more done, quickly.
How Communication Impacts Efficiency
If you want to remain a stable and profitable organization within today’s increasingly competitive landscape, you must understand the risks of costly efficiency mistakes. This is especially the case with small or mid-sized companies. Due to limited resources and heightened financial risk, smaller organizations must embrace a culture with streamlined communications processes in order to get the most out of their employees and their communication tools.
Efficiency Tips and Tricks
So, how do you do it? Start with these helpful efficiency tips:

Give your employees consistent and secure access to the information they need. Smaller organizations have the ability to react quickly to changes and events, but if your network is unstable and unsecured you can lose that competitive edge. Equip your staff with a secure and reliable network so they are able to gain access to the information they need, when they need it.
Provide access from anywhere. If you truly want employees to remain productive and efficient, give them the …