4 Things to Know Before Buying Unified Communications
Hosted VoIP solutions and unified communications have dramatically revolutionized how the world communicates, as internet-based networks facilitate high-speed connections worldwide. Other channels such as SMS, chat, and email have supplemented this effort. As modern business landscapes continue to evolve at record speed, organizations are keen to stay relevant in the eyes of their customers with unified communications.
However, VoIP, SMS, chat, and email are all disparate channels by themselves; going through the process of custom-integrating them into one flagship solution will soon reveal this fact. Although the basics of VoIP are essential to establishing solid lines of communication between employees, customers, and other stakeholders, it alone isn’t sufficient to maintain seamless communication and collaboration.
Enter Unified Communications (UC) and what it can do for your business. By connecting relevant unified communication channels (such as a VoIP platform) and task management tools, your teams will be equipped to serve your customers - efficiently, punctually, and at scale. Many leading VoIP vendors already offer Unified Communications capabilities as part of their solution mix, so customers can conveniently avail a complete suite of services from under one roof.
Encompassing a broad spectrum of capabilities, let’s look at what Unified Communications entails and what it can offer your business.
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What is meant by Unified Communications?
Unified Communications combines different communication channels, such as voice, messaging, video conferencing, email, and even social media, into a single, centralized system. With a central application now offering access to necessary communication channels, employees need not toggle between multiple applications to communicate with their colleagues or customers.
Contact center solutions play a significant role in Unified Communications since capabilities such as call routing, call queuing, predictive dialing, auto attendants, and IVR further bolster unified communications. Project management and collaboration tools are also typically part of the unified communications mix. Unified communications features like real-time file sharing, annotations, and interactive whiteboards enable teamwork more seamlessly across multiple business departments.
What are the benefits of Unified Communications?
Unified Communications boost employee productivity since a single application is all that is needed for teams to rely on regarding their communication and collaboration needs. Third-party applications can also be integrated with APIs to enhance further the level of connectivity that unified communications solutions can offer. Unified communications solutions can ensure that no data falls through the cracks - especially across business units- from document management to invoicing.
Unified Communications also boost customer experience, which helps in attracting new sales while retaining existing ones. Thanks to a central profile that records all customer information in a single location, agents can reach out to customers over their communication channels. With historical logs offering insights into a customer’s purchasing habits, engagement patterns, and other preferences, agents have context before interacting with a customer - thereby empowering teams to deliver a unique customer experience.
From reducing business costs and boosting efficiency to promoting employee collaboration and fostering customer loyalty - there are several advantages of deploying Unified Communications within your organization. Let’s take a look at some key benefits of unified communications in detail:
- Cost-Effective: By integrating different communication channels into one central system, businesses can reduce their operational expenditure (OpEx) by a considerable margin. With a smaller IT infrastructure to manage and maintain, organizations can also save on power consumption costs with unified communications.
- Higher Efficiency: Since all employees now have access to the same tools and information, collaboration across departments becomes quicker and smoother with unified communications. Teams can also resolve customer queries faster since they have all the necessary information (including customer purchase history, support requests, etc.) in one place.
- Improved Customer Loyalty: Research has shown that businesses that provide unified communication and seamless customer experience have higher customer retention rates. Customers also greatly appreciate connecting with companies across multiple channels (such as voice, chat, email, etc.) and not being restricted to just one channel.
- Seamless Scalability: Unified Communications systems are flexible and easily scalable so that businesses can add (or remove) features and functionality per their evolving requirements. With the help of a Unified Communication solution, companies can quickly adapt to changing market conditions and scale their operations up or down as needed.
How does Unified Communication work?
Unified Communications works by integrating necessary communication and collaboration platforms, typically with APIs. However, holistic Unified Communication and SaaS platforms have all the functionalities needed for teams to seamlessly engage with colleagues and customers, making them outstanding excellence for businesses - especially in the interest of compatibility.
In other words, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) goes beyond standalone VoIP and messaging services, as vendors offer all services that are bundled together into one complete solution. On top of that, unified communications being based in the cloud delivers accessibility that is easy and convenient. A monthly or annual subscription can sign entire businesses up for use via any device - a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. This makes UCaaS a highly innovative tool for remote work environments, as teams can access the platform no matter where they are and even stay in touch with tasks while on the go.
Unified Communications can also be deployed on-premise or over a more hybrid system for businesses that need it. Embedding certain services into web browsers is also possible so that alerts can be received at any time - and tasks can be handled directly from the extension itself.
Why is Unified Communications so important?
As remote work environments proliferate across businesses worldwide, Unified Communications has helped facilitate streamlined communication between departments while ensuring strong collaboration across many projects. Video conferencing solutions alone, for example, have been a handy tool to report to meetings virtually. At the same time, instant messaging apps enable real-time communication with convenient features such as file sharing. With cloud-based Unified Communication solutions also available across devices, BYOD has become easier to implement. Employees are always connected to what matters, with zero or minimal intervention from the IT department.
Unified Communications has also significantly improved customer experience since centralized profiles, AI-driven context, and real-time collaboration empower agents to offer customer-centric service to existing and new customers. With a central, unified communications console meeting all communication and collaboration needs, businesses are now also equipped with big data that can be analyzed for valuable insights to improve your business’s customer experience strategy.
As agents are freed from shifting between applications and sifting through disparate data streams to assist customers, they can now re-orient their duties towards serving more customers with greater contextual precision with the help of unified communications.
Main components of Unified Communications
Unified Communications has three primary components: voice, video, and data. Each can be delivered over various devices and networks, including the public switched telephone network (PSTN), the Internet, and private IP networks.
- Voice is the most basic form of communication and is often the first to be integrated into a unified communications system. Voice can be delivered over various networks, including the PSTN, VoIP, and private IP networks.
- Video is another crucial component of unified communications. Video can be used for face-to-face meetings, distance learning, telemedicine, and more. Video can be delivered over the Internet, private IP networks, and the PSTN.
- Data is the third primary component of unified communications. Data can be used for file sharing, collaboration, and more. Data can be delivered over the Internet, private IP networks, and the PSTN.
Unified communications systems can include instant messaging, presence, and unified messaging. These features can be delivered over the Internet, private IP networks, and the PSTN.
When choosing a unified communications system, it is vital to consider the needs of your business and the types of devices and networks that will be used. Unified communications systems can be complex, so it is essential to work with a unified communications provider to help you choose the right system for your business.