The ideal small business voice communications technology can be challenging to identify given the wide array of options, from landlines to VoIP to mobile phones. While small businesses are increasingly forgoing traditional landlines and expensive premise based systems, they still need to appear professional. Mobile phones offer more freedom, but they also come with inconsistent experiences for your customers. Enter the new realm of businesses opting for cloud phone systems and marrying them with their mobile phones. This provides flexibility business owners need, while also giving a professional and structured foundation to the business image.
Typically, a small office with a couple of landlines can reduce costs by more than 85 percent with a cloud-based replacement. While cost is obviously a motivator for choosing the cloud, there are numerous advantages:
– It’s all about appearances: For many small business owners, the dichotomy between wanting to appear nimble and personable and the need to appear reliable is an ever present reality. Having a technology that allows them to appear established and trustworthy is a big deal, but not with a large price tag. That’s where the cloud offers many advantages with features such as auto attendant to route calls to the appropriate employee or department, and virtual numbers, which allow you to have a dedicated local or toll free phone number that can easily be routed to a landline or temporary location in case your mobile phone battery dies or if you have poor data connectivity at your home office. If a call is missed, callers will be forwarded to a dedicated voicemail, which can be personalized with a professional business greeting. And in the event of an outage or natural disaster, calls can be automatically rerouted to another office or remote colleague with storage and backup of all call activity.
– Why buy the whole cow: Small businesses are very sensitive to costs, especially upfront costs, and few things can escalate quicker than when it comes to technology, particularly hardware. This is where the cloud offers a tremendous opportunity. With cloud-based systems, there is no maintenance or hardware to worry about. The service provider houses and maintains all of the supporting technology. Plus, cloud-based phone systems don’t require a long term commitment to fixed or variable costs for your communications needs — all you pay is a monthly fee on a per-user basis. The cloud also offers growing businesses the opportunity to easily add new extensions to scale up or down as needed. For example, if you sell holiday decor, you may have a seasonable influx of customer service representatives. With a cloud-based phone system, you can instantly add employees for holiday orders and remove extensions when the peak demand ends.
– We aren’t in the phone business: Knowing your strengths also means knowing what business you are not in. In today’s economy, you can outsource just about everything but when it comes to communications, you want to retain control and personalization without becoming (or hiring) an IT expert. Look for cloud phone providers that excel in reliability and scalability behind the scenes but also enable you to shape your customer’s experience. Cloud-based phone systems are particularly a good fit for businesses with no IT staff since all the technology is supported by the provider and the business’ non-technical employees can easily manage call features through online portals.
– Make my employees more productive: A professional phone system will also allow your employees to be more productive by allowing them to be more connected. According to a study by Chadwick Martin Bailey on behalf of Cisco, communications can dramatically boost productivity. For example, by reaching co-workers on the first try, 49 percent of businesses reported saving 20 minutes per employee per day.
Small businesses want to take advantage of all the same bells and whistles that a large company has for their voice communications, but they require the savings and flexibility that the cloud offers them. By uniting these cloud phone systems with their mobile phones, small businesses can be nimble without sacrificing a professional, on-brand and optimal customer experience.