Is Unified Communications Worth It for Small Businesses?

Is Unified Communications Worth It for Small Businesses?

Every business has budget items that are higher priority than others, but for small businesses, that priority list is usually adhered to a little more strictly. After all, it makes sense to make only the most strategic investments when so many things demand your attention. But even if a better communications solution is somewhere on your budget, it may not be at the top of your list. Should it be? Investing in a small business unified communications system could bring significant benefits to your company.

Do More with Fewer Employees

Hiring and retaining employees is a huge expenditure for a small business, and in some industries, wages and benefits may take up a significant portion of the yearly budget. And while expansion is a success milestone for many small businesses, hiring is not a decision to be taken lightly.

As a result, employees of small businesses often wear more than one hat. Sometimes, a salesperson may also take on customer service duties, or an accountant may handle some aspects of HR compliance. These employees are usually up to their ears in work, and in combination with their highly important roles, maintaining easy and productive contact is both vital to operations and difficult to achieve.

For those on-the-fly meetings or out-of-office calls, small business unified communications makes hectic work schedules easier to manage. VoIP phone systems enable employees to take and make business calls wherever they are – so that salesperson can handle current customer questions while driving to a sales opportunity. In addition, voice and video conferencing integrated with your phones or messaging system can facilitate quick meetings when schedules are tight.


Increased Productivity

Part of doing more with fewer people is making the most of every day. Waiting for a response to a question or more information from a coworker means lost productivity, which can be frustrating for all parties. You can make communication faster and more effective with a number of UC tools, such as instant messaging with presence indicators or find me/follow me phone features.

Implementing unified communications in your business can also allow you to access great collaboration tools that enable employees to work together on projects whether they’re in the same office or in different countries. With improved file sharing capabilities and communication, collaboration becomes easier than ever.


Competitive Edge

One of the main challenges that small businesses face is distinguishing themselves from their competitors. While you may think that your company does things completely differently – and better – than your direct competitors, the fact is that they do too, and all of you may be using these differences to try to attract and retain customers. Unless you have something customer-facing that sets you apart, it can be hard for prospects to make meaningful comparisons.

With small business unified communications, you have access to tools that can make you look and sound like a much larger company such as customizable IVRs (interactive voice response) when customers and prospects call in, better accessibility by phone, and even online chat support. Consumers are more likely to buy from brands they perceive as trustworthy, and investing in better customer communication tools sends the message that they are a priority for your company. The best part? The affordability of most small business UC platforms means those impressive enterprise-level features don’t actually cost an enterprise-level price.


Long-Term Cost Savings

There’s a time and place for the mentality of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” but when it comes to business, outdated technology is probably doing you more harm than good. An old landline phone system is a technology that’s no longer seeing any updates or innovations, and while it may still work, it could be holding you back from doing more. Parts and replacements cost money, and people with the necessary knowledge to diagnose and fix a problem may be harder to find as techs put their focus on more up-to-date technology. Plus, landlines rely on physical infrastructure that has to undergo costly periodic maintenance, and those expenses are passed along to you in your monthly bill.

Small business unified communications systems are also flexible, which means the cost of growing an office to include more space or more people is lower. When it comes time to expand, you’re not stuck trying to find phones and connections for new desks. In addition, integrated communications tools mean you can add more people without adding more office space: you can hire remote workers anywhere without sacrificing accessibility, and mobile and remote work is more viable for current employees, reducing office upkeep and utilities costs.

So is a UC platform worth it for small businesses? With the cost savings and enhanced operations you can gain, better communication more than pays for itself. To learn more about how small businesses can benefit from unified communications, download our free resource today.