Connections Everywhere: Support Them Adequately

shutterstock_78547861Mobility and the ability to access information rapidly are basic expectations of today’s workforce. Considering the interconnectivity of humans, hardware, and data, it’s no surprise that organizations have difficulty satisfying this high-tech generation of workers. Following are a few tips that can help.

 

 

Make Logical Decisions About Brand New Tech

Adopting every new software package or trendy device that reaches the market is not necessarily the right move. Switching gears to new tools constantly may frustrate workers who were slow to adapt to the last change. Collaboration is much easier if users have a voice in how it is done. Use software and device solutions that make sense and perhaps have been recommended by staff members.

Let Go of Antique Tech

Just as new tech may not always be a good fit, it is sometimes necessary to part with old tools and technology if they no longer support mobility and interaction. Regularly assess the tools and equipment that are being used to conduct business to ensure that they are still relevant and powerful.

Consolidate Communications

Do different operational systems seem to overlap too much or not interact at all? Do customer support reps have to switch systems or screens often to properly help a customer? In those instances, efficiency and productivity are being sacrificed on a minute-by-minute basis. Software suites should solve more than one problem or allow many systems to interact and share data.

Embrace Texting for Business

Today’s workforce finds great value in texting customers and coworkers and even for supervisory interaction. Texting can be an easy method to get a message across without wasting valuable time. Construct a thoughtful texting policy that allows employees to communicate effectively but appropriately.

Provide the Right Tools and Information

If a company fails to provide useful tools, employees will often resort to using their own phones or tablets to get the information they need. They may use untrusted or unsafe applications, thereby creating security issues. By providing a clear bring your own device (BYOD) policy and asking employees to contribute ideas for potential team tools, security risks can be reduced or avoided.

Ensuring that employees have easy access to any information they may need means more productive, less stressed workers. Utilizing a secure company intranet resource makes information accessible and invites collaboration.

Supporting the mobility needs of today’s workforce does not have to be expensive or complicated. Select the right tools for the job and engage the employee pool to create the most efficient and productive operation possible.

[Infographic] Trend Talk: What’s Next For Contact Centers

The New Year is upon us, and that means it’s time to make some market predictions. One particular place where we are seeing big shifts in the industry? Contact centers. Here are the top trends you need to know.

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Web Conferencing and VoIP: A Strong Partnership

shutterstock_110425898Just a decade ago, the business landscape was significantly different. Meetings with clients or vendors meant plenty of planning and spending, making the comparative cost of doing business much higher than it is today. Thanks to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and the Internet, most of the world’s meetings can now take place over the web. Following are just a few of the benefits of using this powerful technology for conferencing.

 

Reduce Spending

A major benefit of VoIP is the immense cost savings compared to old fashioned telephone systems. Expensive long distance and dial tone fees are a thing of the past. Global calling is no more costly than calling next door due to the technologies available today. Web conference meetings eliminate major travel costs. By the time airfare, lodging, and meals are factored into the equation, a company can save thousands over just a few meetings.

Save Time and Reduce Delay

The four hour flight (plus the two hours in the airport) is no longer a necessity for a meeting or discussion to occur. Employees don’t have to sacrifice work or family time for travel. Scheduling a web conference also helps avoid the delays that can occur when trying to get many participants in the same place at the same time. Meetings over VoIP can be set up in an instant and accessed from almost any device around the globe.

Training Staff and Vendors

Remote training is an extremely cost effective way to educate large groups of people. By providing web conference access, no one has to travel (again saving time and money) and information is much more accessible. Training sessions can be recorded and posted for later viewing, which eliminates the need for live facilitation of future workshops if the topic can just be replayed as needed.

Customer Service

Web conferencing is an intelligent way to help internal and external customers. Support staff are able to walk the customer through a step-by-step process or illustrate a point through screen sharing. This is especially helpful for technical support personnel. Many problems can be solved using this method, eliminating hassle for customers and expense for the company.

Launching and Selling Products

While traditional marketing such as TV or radio still holds value, creating an interactive experience for potential buyers is much more effective. Try launching a new product line via web conference and allow the audience to participate in a Q&A session, or try a hands-on demo. These techniques are highly engaging and amplify exposure substantially.

Review and React

The playback of a VoIP web conference recording is more valuable than one might expect. Reviewing footage of customer or client participation can help form strategic goals or compile documentation that better explains the product, process, or service in question. This method works for presenters as well, and may help them become more fluid and charismatic. Better presentations equate to increased audience engagement and better results.

Web conferencing has quickly become a staple in business communications. VoIP can help a company save time and money, sell more, sharpen training, and collaborate more effectively. This powerful technology is a tool for growth and profitability in all areas of the organization.

5 Reasons the Cloud Offers a Dynamic Solution for Hotel Telephone Systems

shutterstock_61231048The cloud is here to stay, and businesses in the hospitality industry have a lot to gain by adopting the powerful technological and customer service solutions it offers. Cloud technologies provide effective ways to mitigate two of the most pressing challenges faced by hotels and resorts around the world: high fixed operating costs and seasonally fluctuating revenues.

Hotel and resort managers can trim operating costs and offset unpredictable variations in seasonal income by moving their telephone systems to the cloud. Doing so offers five key benefits that can give a big boost to an organization’s bottom line.

 

The Cloud Reduces Fixed Telecom Costs

The telephone systems that have traditionally been used in hotels and resorts for years require sizable up-front investments. Cloud alternatives offer reduced costs through subscription-based service models that set low, fixed monthly flat rates for services and vastly reduced call routing fees. This is an easy, proven way to substantially reduce monthly operating costs.

Say Goodbye to Hardware

Traditional telephone systems require extensive hardware to operate properly, and that hardware must be maintained and regularly upgraded. Cloud-based hotel telephone systems, on the other hand, require minimal hardware, and the service provider takes care of all upgrades and system maintenance.

The Cloud Supports the Sourcing and Development of New Revenue

Hotels and resorts that appeal to international customers can generate additional revenue by offering guests the ability to place long-distance calls from the comfort of their rooms. However, these calls tend to come at a high cost when placed through traditional systems.

Cloud telephone technologies come with sharp reductions in international calling rates, giving hotel managers the ability to pass these savings along to their guests or increase their profit margins on calls placed on-site.

Improve Continuity Strategies

For hotel chains and companies with multiple locations, connecting the entire telephone system can be difficult if not impossible. The cloud offers a dynamic solution with the ability to unify the organization’s entire system into a single, easily managed entity. Because cloud telephone systems operate entirely over the Internet, they also support continuity and disaster recovery strategies by simplifying communications.

Enjoy an Expanded Range of Features and Services

Finally, the cloud offers capabilities that traditional telephone systems struggle to replicate. For example, cloud-based systems offer features like time-of-day call routing and forwarding capabilities that improve operational efficiency and help businesses deliver superior customer service. These systems can also support advanced training initiatives that enable participants in multiple remote locations to convene easily, and for a very low cost.

Given these powerful advantages, it’s little wonder that more and more hotels and resorts are abandoning traditional telephone service models in favor of the cloud. It’s cheaper and more dynamic, with enhanced reliability and a wider range of helpful features that support and sustain growth.

Six Ways Unified Communications and the Cloud Are Benefiting Businesses

shutterstock_190201718Unified communications (UC) has been making serious headway in the business world for several years now, and current trends continue to show increasing adoption rates across many different industries. UC platforms offer the powerful ability to synchronize real-time modes of communication such as voice calling and video conferencing with static ones like email and traditional voicemail. More recently, UC technologies have been paired with cloud computing capabilities to further enhance their power, scope, and reach.

Cloud-based UC models are known as unified communications as a service, or UCaaS. These models offer advanced integration of system tools and functions, creating a single platform for the operation and management of all available services. UCaaS models offer businesses six key benefits.

1. Enhanced Usability

UCaaS models deliver their capabilities across a single system, which eliminates the need for businesses to invest in and train employees on the use of multiple platforms. Moreover, the vast majority of UCaaS systems support ease of use with readily available training resources, tech support, and help desk staff.

2. Easier Management

In addition to ease of use, UCaaS systems offer outstanding ease of management. Day-to-day management and upkeep tasks are not the responsibility of the business itself, but rather of the service provider. UCaaS technologies are delivered using subscription models, meaning that the end provider handles all the technical details on behalf of its customers.

3. Scalable Service Models

Cloud technologies are renowned for their outstanding scalability. It’s easy to ramp up the number of users on the system, even if business growth requires the addition of many new users within a short time frame. Infrastructure needs are also dramatically reduced, making it far easier to scale up or down.

4. Reduction of Downtime

System connectivity and power issues comprise the two biggest causes of system downtime. UCaaS models eliminate these problems because they rely on Tier 3 and Tier 4 data centers with advanced system management capabilities.

5. Enhanced Flexibility

Before UCaaS technologies came along, businesses were usually forced to resort to expensive outside help if they wanted to integrate custom features. Now, such features can be added quickly and easily to service packages, which offer unsurpassed flexibility in and of themselves. UCaaS service models also support the bring your own device (BYOD) trend that’s become so popular in the past few years.

6. Reduced Costs

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, UCaaS service models are designed to sharply reduce upfront costs and deliver reliable, predictable service at affordable, fixed monthly rates. These service models support budget planning initiatives and provide powerful capabilities that enhance efficiency and productivity. Further, UCaaS reduces or eliminates the need for expensive hardware as well as the unpredictable costs of non-cloud-based service plans.

Given these many benefits, UCaaS certainly merits careful consideration by any business seeking superior integration of its communication platforms.