Unified Communications

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER A CLOUD PHONE SYSTEM

(Republished with permission from Mitel)

Your phone system plays a critical role in your business operations and in your company’s success. But with more employees working from home and on the go, increasingly global markets and ever-changing customer demands, today’s workforce requires decision makers to think beyond the traditional phone systems of days past. The modern workplace requires a complete communications and collaboration system that not only lets employees interact with ease, but also empowers IT teams to easily manage and adapt to an evolving business environment.

 
Why Cloud Communications?
Chances are, you’re already using cloud technology in other aspects of your business. G Suite by Google Cloud®, Microsoft Office 365® and Dropbox® are just some examples of cloud-based applications. The cloud simply refers to software and services that are hosted by the provider and run on the Internet instead of equipment housed in your building. Since the documents, emails, photos and other software that live in the cloud are available from any device with a secure Internet connection, users can access the information and services from anywhere.

 
Cloud vs. Onsite: Considerations and Benefits
When it comes to communications, a cloud-based phone service offers unique benefits a traditional on-site phone system cannot. Let’s take a quick look at how these two deployment models differ:

On-Site Phone System

You fully own and operate the solution
You are responsible for overall maintenance, upgrades, reliability and security
Typically acquired as an upfront purchase and accounted for as …

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 …

IMPROVE YOUR COMPANY CULTURE WITH SECURE UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS

The importance of having strong and supportive company culture can never be underestimated. You want to build one that allows your workforce to thrive, but you’re not sure what steps to take to get there. What if we told you that small business Unified Communications (UC) is not only great for improving business operations, but also improving your company culture?

When you develop a system of communication within your organization that encourages creativity and communication, and rewards efficiency, you have the groundwork laid out for a fantastic workplace environment.

In this post, we are going to explain exactly how you can use Unified Communications to make your company culture better.

 
1. Practice transparency
Transparency not only has a positive impact on employees, but the effects of a transparent culture influence an entire organization and the customers it serves. With key UC tools like unified messaging, video conferencing, and collaboration apps, employees have an easier way to connect and share crucial information with one another.

Outdated communication tools can post to be a barrier to transparency, leading to frustration and misunderstanding among your workforce.

 
2. Easier and more efficient collaboration
No company in the world ever succeeded without having efficient teams that work day and night to make the organization’s vision come to life. Unified communications can be the point where operations, strategy, and production meet.

The advanced tools allow stakeholders, managers, and employees to collaborate in real-time and better respond to competitive and environmental changes. Challenges in implementing new strategies are reduced …

ENSURING YOUR PHONE SYSTEM IS A BUSINESS ENABLER

Many have taken to cloud-based UC platforms as a way to achieve this higher level of connectivity. UC systems work by integrating applications into a single, seamless interface, which make it ideal for unifying communication efforts. Not to mention, they have also been recognized for their ability to ability to boost business productivity and growth opportunities.
Your business communications system needs to ensure you have the best tools that will help you do a better job with your customer…today and tomorrow. Below are two ways an onsite phone system can improve the customer experience by improving flexibility and enhancing reachability.

 
Improving flexibility through work groups
When a customer or prospect calls your company and the phone rings endlessly without being picked up, or it goes to a general voicemail box, they may question how capable your business is. Since today’s customers have higher expectations than ever before, you want to give the impression to current and potential customers that you can serve them the way they want to be served, regardless of whether your employees are in the office or working remotely.

A Mitel Connect ONSITE phone system allows you to improve your business’s flexibility by routing calls using the power of work groups. Here’s how…

Work groups can be created to respond to what’s happening in your business. For example, you might have a new advertising campaign and you need more people ready to answer the phone. Perhaps there are changing weather conditions and …

DOES YOUR NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT CLOUD COMMUNICATIONS?

The telecom industry has gone through a number of transformations in recent years. The impact of this innovation has revolutionized how businesses approach communication. However, what hasn’t changed is the need for excellent communication and collaboration tools. The concept of hyperconnectivity has been eagerly adopted by businesses as a way to stay competitive.

Many have taken to cloud-based UC platforms as a way to achieve this higher level of connectivity. UC systems work by integrating applications into a single, seamless interface, which make it ideal for unifying communication efforts. Not to mention, they have also been recognized for their ability to ability to boost business productivity and growth opportunities.

If you’re looking at your current system and feeling underwhelmed by its functionality, consider a UC system. It’s not hard to switch, but one thing you do need is a fast connection and secure network. Make sure to consider if your network is sufficient to support a new UC system. If not, we’ll offer some ways to optimize it.

 
Tools.
The quality of your UC platform communication relies heavily on bandwidth speed. Many major internet providers have free speed tests available. You can find them on websites or even apps. Here are  tools you can use to measure your internets speed:

https://fitsmallbusiness.com/voip-speed-test/
https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

 
Bandwidth. 
Network congestion is unavoidable for most business, especially with employees downloading and transferring files. The real challenge isn’t how to eliminate network congestion, but rather how to minimize its effects. One of …

Should You Use a Toll-Free Number?

Everyone has at least a passing familiarity with toll-free numbers. From jingles to billboards to commercials, businesses offer up toll-free numbers to try to entice people to call. Unless you’ve looked into them before, however, you might not be aware of exactly how they work, and why a business might use one. Here are the basics.
What is a Toll-Free Number?
When a person calls a toll-free number from a landline phone or other service that doesn’t charge per minute of airtime, they don’t incur any charge regardless of distance. This can be helpful for companies that do a significant amount of business outside of their local area, such as national and international organizations, because it removes the cost barrier that might prevent customers, prospects, and partners from calling.

Toll-free numbers always begin with one of a few codes, the most recognizable being 1-800. More codes have been added over the years to include 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844, opening up a wealth of phone numbers–including vanity numbers–and reducing the cost of purchasing a toll-free number.

So considering the low cost, should your business be using a toll-free number? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
The Pros
Create or reinforce a corporate image.

No matter how much money you put into marketing and training, branding is ultimately about public perception. A toll-free number is immediately recognizable as a business contact line, and can immediately position your company as large and corporate. For companies who …

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Remote Employees

More and more of the global workforce is working remotely: about 70% work from somewhere other than their office at least once a week. With so many people choosing to work remotely, it has to make business sense, but unfortunately, it’s not perfect. Here are the pros (and a few cons) of hiring employees to work from home.
The Pros

Expand your talent pool. One of the biggest advantages to considering remote employees is the far broader range of candidates you can tap into. If you’re looking to fill a specialized role and choices are sparse in your area, you can open up the position to candidates across the country—even around the world. This means increased workplace diversity, potential for greater innovation, and access to better cultural fits for your business.

Increase engagement. According to SHRM’s 2016 Employee Benefits report, 60% of companies offer their employees opportunities to telecommute, but some businesses aren’t so sure. Remote workers are often stereotyped as lazy and disorganized, but research shows that they may actually be more motivated and productive than their office counterparts. This is due in no small part to today’s worker seeking flexibility in their careers. Working remotely allows employees to get work done when they are most focused and achieve the all-important work/life balance that is receiving increasing attention from management and employees alike.

Lower overhead costs. As anyone with access to their business’s finances knows, operational costs are far from negligible, especially when it comes to shared office spaces. …

Are Smart Devices Changing How We Communicate?

As connected devices permeate practically all aspects of our society, are we communicating differently? From voice commands to new technologies, the presence of IoT devices is changing things in the tech and business industries: the only question is, how?

It’s not surprising to hear that by 2020, there will be tens of billions of data-spouting devices connected to the Internet. Many people believe IoT devices make us more efficient in our daily lives, while others feel they create barriers to communication. Here are a few areas you can expect to see impacted by the rapid adoption of smart devices.

 
Traditional Media vs. New Media
One of the biggest changes is location. In the past, traditional media like TV, print, and radio were key components for reaching audiences. Now, the prime location has moved to digital platforms. Web-based and mobile apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are taking over. Consumers are shifting to these social platforms when they want breaking news, and 26 percent of them are accessing it through smartphones.

Today, more than ever, business need digital, cloud-based communication. Companies can no longer rely on traditional methods and assume that their employees are as okay with the status quo as they are. Business communications need to take advantage of the technology revolution.

 
Options for Communication
Before smart devices, communication was limited to a few channels. Orchestrating meetings with team members or clients was difficult, and the technology that was available was less than reliable.

These days smart devices offer businesses …