The early days of the cloud showed hesitancy on the part of business to adapt to this new technology. There were concerns such as security and speed of the internet as well as lack of suitable devices. Today, all these concerns are swept under the rug. You have better cloud infrastructure, fast 4G (with even faster 5G around the corner) and plenty of choices in devices to obviate the speed and accessibility factors. While it is good to have enterprise level operations in the cloud as regards HR, Sales and Inventory, you can just as easily shift to cloud communications with transcendental benefits for your business. Your employees and customers will love it too.
What is cloud communications?
As opposed to in-premise operations, cloud communications shifts the software like IP PBX and CRM to the cloud. Access is through the internet using your desktop, IP Phones or mobile devices. Since your CRM also resides in the cloud it gives everyone in your organisation authorised access to contact list and CRM. There are benefits to this arrangement of cloud based VoIP communication.
Free of worries about software and hardware
In-premise software and hardware do give total control but there are downsides such as the need to upgrade technologies and regular maintenance to assure that your VoIP communication lines are up and working all the time. Shift to cloud communications and you are free of all such worries. It also frees up space in your organization you can put to more productive use. You need not worry about finding engineers to support the system and their salaries. Hosted VoIP communication services keep their software updated all the time and assure always on reliability through multiple backups and seamless switching between servers.
Anytime and anywhere access
The Covid effect is apparent in the way businesses work. Employees may be in the field or work from home and must sync activities with head offices and with customers. One of the advantages of cloud communications and a cogent reason to shift to cloud VoIP telephony is that you have anytime and anywhere access. It becomes easy for employees to stay in touch with each other using cloud telephony or video chat or video conference regardless of their location. They can easily access customer database when addressing calls from customers or when making calls to customers or vendors. Compare this to in-premise solutions. Once your office closes for the day, your communication lines are shut. With hosted services you can have the IVR up and running and, instead of a call being recorded, it could be routed to a suitable employee’s mobile device for immediate action.
Why is this important? For one, customers expect prompt response. If you have a prospective customer it is even more so otherwise they simply go to the next available seller. Secondly, your employees should all be aware of what is going on through interaction between themselves and with customers as well as CRM access, which is easy in the cloud. The faster you do things and complete pending matters, the less there is to worry about and the more you and your employees can focus on achieving more sales or other productivity matters.
Switch on-switch off services
VoIP communication in the cloud covers a suite of services such as SMS, voice broadcast, voice calls, video calls, conferencing, chat and WebRTC. All these services are available but you need not go in for the entire package. Simply subscribe to what you need and then, if required, switch on video call and conferencing as and when necessary. You can have unified communications; you can conduct campaigns using outbound dialers, and you can hold online conferences using video conferencing software or simply broadcast offers periodically. Cloud communication is elastic and you pay for only what you use, services flexibly adjusting to your needs. Hosted services assure 100% uptime, which may not be guaranteed when you have on-premise facilities.
VoIP cloud communication opens up an entirely new vista:
- IP PBX features like call transfer, intercom, find me-follow me, direct inward dialing
- Call center features such as automatic call distributor and auto dialers for campaigns
- Video conference and chat as well as document exchange through WebRTC
- IVR for self service and to drive campaigns
- SMS and voice broadcast
- Social media, chat, fax, voice integrated UC
- Call recording, analytics
- Control and authorization
Another good thing about cloud communication is that you pay as you go along for services you use. This means no up-front capital investment in software or hardware or salaries to maintenance people.
There is a downside to cloud VoIP communication. Running costs may be higher compared to what you pay for in-premise solutions but look at the benefits:
- You save upfront investment and maintenance costs
- You have availability 24×7
- Access to sophisticated VoIP communication solutions
- Ease of use and operation with minimal learning curve, using any device including mobiles
Who is it for?
The term “cloud communication” would conjure up visions of large enterprises with hundreds of employees. No doubt it is of stellar use to large enterprises with a distributed way of working. However, it does not preclude use by small individual run businesses or startups that can benefit by using VoIP communication in the cloud to enjoy the features and to project a corporate image. The package grows with you. You can start out with just 3 employees and use only specific features and then, when you have grown to 30, you can add more features. You can conduct periodic campaigns to drive sales. There is a lot you can do, regardless of whether yours is an enterprise scale operation or a home grown business.
Finding the right service provider
Given how critical communications are, it is important to find the right VoIP communication services provider. It is not just features that matter but also quality of calls you make, audio clarity, bandwidth use, concurrent users, backup service support and how they offer modular packages for best price-performance ratio.