Voice over Internet Protocol is not a new concept – in fact, it's been around since 1995 as a workaround to long-distance phone charges. The technology has significantly advanced over the years to integrate with other solutions like unified communications, making it a viable option for business use. Despite VoIP's tenure, many organizations are just starting their migration. As a result, business leaders might be unsure how to establish a VoIP strategy and implement it appropriately. Let's take a closer look at how to effectively create a VoIP strategy and build upon it for the future.
1. Ditch the PSTN
The public-switched telephone network was a marvel for its time. By building and digging lines and hooking up devices, offices full of employees could make business calls to customers, partners and suppliers. However, these wires also kept employees tied down to their desks for most of the day, preventing them from getting work done during off hours or outside of the workplace.
More leaders are beginning to realize the constraints that the PSTN is putting on their systems, and starting to consider other options. VoIP has been considered an answer for supplying communications solutions across the board, including mobile and remote workers. With mobile VoIP solutions, employees can use their smartphones and other devices to collaborate effectively. According to The VoIP Report, mobile VoIP is expected to reach 1 billion users this year. This reflects the shift to more people telecommuting, at least part time. By ditching the PSTN entirely and using internet-based communication options, workers won't be hindered by legacy technology and can work more effectively.
2. Customize your features
With traditional phone networks, implementing new features could take decades to implement, and often would require hardware replacements. Caller ID and voicemail were two big innovations that made communications easier, but took time to build, deploy and refine. With VoIP, any updates and changes can be made without business disruption or additional investment. Harvard Business Review gave the example of an organization that experimented with more than 30 options for background music, prompts and recorded messages for its VoIP interface. This type of customization could be expensive and time-consuming to roll out in legacy solutions.
The find-me-follow-me feature is a staple of any VoIP solution that is integral to business communications strategy. This function allows employees to operate on more than one device without missing a call. If someone tries to contact a worker, it will ring the office phone and the worker's cell phone at the same time, for example. Find-me-follow-me gives staff members every available opportunity to prevent missed calls, quickly fix issues and improve customer service.
"VoIP and UC are a match made in heaven."
3. Integrate with other tools
VoIP is more than just a communication tool; it's an asset that should allow employees to provide tailored service to each caller. This type of access can only be granted by integrating the VoIP solution with other tools. In particular, VoIP and UC are a match made in heaven. According to The VoIP Report, 70 percent of surveyed organizations have deployed UC in the cloud or plan to do so. UC provides a single platform for workers to access communication tools and send out calls, mitigating the need to navigate across different programs.
VoIP must also work well with customer relationship management systems to quickly access information pertaining to each client. Forbes contributor Vilas Uchil noted that your VoIP strategy should focus on building a finely tuned process and effectively utilizing resources. This plan must verify full interoperability of disparate programs to execute efficient, quality client and internal communications.
Organizations of all kinds have already found a number of ways to leverage VoIP flexibility to improve customer service and support new initiatives. As the technology continues to evolve, it will be important for business leaders to understand how to incorporate tools like machine learning into VoIP initiatives and adjust their strategy accordingly. By integrating VoIP with other tools, abandoning legacy systems and customizing your features, you can significantly improve your VoIP strategy and establish proper footing to handle future communication expectations. For more information on how to leverage VoIP and UC solutions effectively, contact Teo Technologies today.