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Hosted VoIP Unified Communications

3 Things You Can’t Overlook When Scaling Your Business

Let’s face it, the companies that have successfully mastered rapid growth over the last several years have adopted a scalable business model.  Efficiency has proven to be essential to modern growth success, with the recipe for scalable growth featuring the perfect combination of simultaneous revenue growth with minimal cost increases.

So, how do businesses today manage to scale successfully?  What we can learn from the most successful and highly scalable businesses, is that initial investments in technologies which help to increase efficiency and fuel automation are also key in supporting sales growth in the future.

Often overlooked in the plan for scalability, but perhaps the most crucial is an organization’s communications infrastructure and here’s why.

Communications is the lifeline of every business, whether it’s communicating with customers or collaborating internally, no business can grow effectively without including communications technology in their plans for growth.

Here are 3 things you can’t overlook when planning to scale your business.

1. Supported Collaboration for Mobile and Distributed Workers

Businesses today are comprised of multiple locations, with employees traveling and working remotely. Therefore, seamless collaboration and unified communications organization-wide is a necessity for every modern business, but especially one with hopes for effective growth.  According to a recent report by Mitel, businesses lose an average of $11,000 per employee every year due to ineffective communications and collaboration solutions. Fortunately, cloud-based Unified Communications (UC) solutions bring together essential communication functions like company-wide chat, presence and video conferencing, in addition to traditional telephony features and services to allow for more seamless collaboration. UC solutions which are 100 percent cloud-based, provide even more capabilities as features, settings and services are stored exclusively in the cloud, making them accessible and manageable from any device, anywhere. This is not just important for efficiency, but is where the real cost-savings comes in. Not only can businesses save on rent, enabling more remote workers to operate securely in locations where limited employees are needed, these solutions drastically reduce downtime during disastrous circumstances. Having the ability to reroute calls, listen to and respond to voicemail messages, update greetings and collaborate via video conference or chat remotely, ensures business takes place regardless of physical location. With the average business losing an astonishing $5,000 per hour when they are down, this is quite the savings.

2.  The Flexibility to Scale

Whether your growth is rapid, planned or unexpected, having communication technology in place that offers the ability to fluctuate based on your business demand is critical to cost control. Functions, such as adding and removing services, employees, equipment, and even locations at anytime with ease allows you to scale efficiently. Not to mention, it ensures costs remain low. By having the flexibility to scale and pay only for what you need and use, you eliminate wasted fees for services and users that may no longer be needed.

3. Efficient Communications

Efficiency has been a key theme throughout this post because it is fundamental to scaling a business. With the right communication technology in place, the automation of key functions are enabled. Whether its utilizing auto attendants to help answer and field incoming calls to save employee time and resources, or it’s having a communications solution that enables administrators to make company-wide changes across any location or many other benefits for enterprise organizations where significant savings and increased efficiency can be achieved. An immense opportunity for efficiency lies in the integration of existing customer relationship management systems (CRMs), such as Salesforce, Google, Skype and others with your business communications. This provides the ability for an even greater return on both investments and the opportunity for optimal efficiency and time-savings.

Regardless of business size, achieving successful growth not only requires an increase in revenue, but having the right technology in place to support the most critical areas of your business’ growth. Communications technology and collaboration tools are not only essential to your daily operations, but vital to your long-term success. Ensuring you have the appropriate communications technology in place is a key step and one that should never be overlooked in your strategic plan.

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Hosted VoIP

Use HD Meeting to save money interviewing

Hiring top talent is critical to the growth and success of every organization. Each company has its own process. Even after your human resources department, or recruiting agency narrows down hundreds of applicants for each job posting, the interview process with the most qualified candidate pool can still be a daunting and expensive task. Here’s where video conferencing technology can simplify the hiring process.

After candidate applications and resumes are carefully reviewed, your next step is most likely to set up an initial interview in-person or over the phone with several of the most qualified candidates. However, in-person interviews can be costly to bring all the candidates in, not to mention time-consuming. Sure, there are phone calls, but they are not as effective at showing you the whole picture, literally. Meeting face-to-face through video conferencing software, especially when it pertains to hiring employees can really tell you a lot and save you a ton of time in the process.

Narrow down candidates more efficiently
For one, you have the opportunity to screen candidates more thoroughly to see if their resume and application match up before moving them further along in the interview process. Speaking with candidates via a brief video conference gives you the opportunity to evaluate their verbal and non-verbal communication skills, without having to do lengthy in-person interviews. You can better evaluate if they would be a good fit for the role than you can with just a phone call. How professional do they come across in terms of their appearance, attire and posture? Do they communicate effectively and display confidence? Are they energetic and excited about the potential role? Visual cues are critically important. And, if your company will be using video conferencing in your daily business, it’s a great opportunity to see each candidate’s comfort level with this important business technology.

Include colleagues easily
Another great benefit is the ability to include other key decision makers in the interviews who may be working from another location or traveling. This is a common hiring issue, and instead of delaying the interview process and potentially losing qualified candidates, multiple parties can participate in the interview process from any device, anywhere. This is incredibly useful and not to mention, practical.

Simplify geographic challenges
For out-of-state and international candidates, you may even opt to just do a series of video interviews and skip the costly and complicated in-person interviews all together. This is becoming an increasingly more popular method for hiring top talent located elsewhere. This powerful tool can save both you and your candidates time and money.

In sum, video conferencing provides your business with a cost-effective, time-saving and efficient way to interview and hire new employees. There is a great deal that can be learned from video interviews and many ways it can help to expedite and simplify the hiring process altogether. This will most definitely become a more common hiring practice and one that can really benefit your business both now and in the future.

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Hosted VoIP

Auto-Attendant: What’s the Point?

 

One of the most highly-praised features of OfficeSuite® Phone – the easy-to-use cloud UC system – is the virtual auto attendant, and as someone who has never used it, you may fail to see the hype. That’s understandable – after all, you could just as easily hire, even outsource, an operator, right?

That may be true, but there are some things that auto attendants offer that operators don’t, so let’s go into detail about that.

Not Just Professionalism – Consistent Professionalism
Everyone has off-days, whether they’re in a bad mood or simply not performing at their maximum potential. Computers, however, do not. Auto attendants follow rules flawlessly, route calls logically, and make sure that all callers get the same experience. Plus, since auto attendants operate on logical routing trees, you can make sure that certain types of calls are prioritized over others if you choose. No one gets the grumpy operator, and no operators get grumpy callers. It streamlines your business, makes sure every call goes where it needs to go, and keeps mistakes out of the mix, delivering you better customer service.

Branding Opportunities
While your callers wait to be re-directed, there’s going to be a radio silence. If you use an auto attendant, though, you can fill that silence with some company branding to promote a new product, inform the caller about useful features, or simply play some good music. All you have to do is have a voiceover recorded if you’d like, or choose the type of music you think your customers might like to hear, and launch it, which can be done right from your computer, smartphone or tablet via the MyOfficeSuite® customer portal. All of these things contribute to the caller’s experience, and ultimately affect their opinion of your brand. You can change them out as often as you like!

Make Use of the Cloud
When you use an auto attendant through your VoIP provider, you’ll make ample use of all the benefits of the cloud. You can integrate your incoming calls with third-party apps such as Salesforce® and other CRMs. Access and monitoring is, in turn, easy to control.

If your power spontaneously goes out, your caller won’t be disconnected since the call is being taken through the cloud. The call can be redirected to a mobile phone to ensure business continuity.

The cloud also allows an auto attendant to direct calls to employees who may be off-site, assuming their phones have been re-routed to wherever they are.

Plus, if you need to make a change to your call routing or hold music, you can do it from anywhere – it’s in the cloud!

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Hosted VoIP

7 Things Every Customer Portal Should Offer

When it comes to your business’s communications, the interface that you use to manage it can make all of the difference.

Not all customer web portals are created equal. We’ve identified the criteria you should look for in order to achieve the highest level of productivity and the most enjoyable experience.

1. Integrated Technology

Businesses have a plethora of communication services beyond their phone system, like hosted email, online fax, video conferencing software and toll-free services. Gone are the days where you need multiple systems and logins to access and manage them all. Look for a system that is supported by one platform that will centralize all of your services and offer you a single-point of access to everything you need.

2. Intuitive Design

Time is of the essence, so having a customer portal that offers a modern, user-friendly design that is easy to manage for both managers and employees and does not require any IT support will save you time, money and hours of aggravation.

3. Adaptability

Today’s workforce is mobilized. No one can afford to be tied to their desk phones or computers, so the platform to manage your critical business communications needs to match your work style. Your web-based customer portal should be accessible and work the same on each of your devices: smartphones, laptops, tablets, IPads® and desktops.

4. Permission-based Controls

When it comes to your business’s communications, different employees and departments have different functions and levels of authority. Having a customer portal that offers customizable user profiles based on user personas allows administrators to grant employees access to only the features that are applicable to their role.

5.User-Centric Functionality

Simple and fast is what we are all looking for when we manage anything related to our business. Your customer portal should offer user-centric technology like drag and drop capabilities, click-to-dial phone numbers, the ability to upload, listen to and record greetings, pay bills, view call history, listen to voicemail and import contacts, all from one central website.

6. Support

With multiple site locations and communication services, it can be challenging to manage issues and contact support for each of your services. With a modern customer portal, you should have one-click access to contact support, chat live, open and view support tickets, access their online community and view how-to videos and support collateral for each of your services.

7. Collaboration

Many companies have multiple locations and employees that travel, so finding a platform that supports your communication services and can increase your connectivity across sites is a win-win. Features like real-time presence that showcases the availability of each of your coworkers before you contact them and the ability to initiate or join a video conference with just one click, allows your team to collaborate easily no matter where they are.

 

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Hosted VoIP

Using Internal Chat for Your Business

 

Internal chat apps have quickly become a must-have communication tool for businesses. If your business communications are still centered on email, or your team is using personal Skype, Google Hangouts or social media accounts to chat internally, it’s definitely time to get a team chat app.

Chat apps build a stronger working relationship amongst your employees, especially if your business operates in different locations or employees are on-the-go. The ability to chat in real-time increases productivity and builds a forum for your employees to feel comfortable sharing ideas.

Chat allows employees to share information effectively, while minimizing the disruption of work environments.  Employees who use chat are able to instantly engage with colleagues while on calls with customers or in meetings. As we all know, our email inboxes are inundated and emails typically cannot be answered immediately. Chat, on the other hand, gives you the opportunity to send a brief message and provides a quick and easy method for others to respond.  Employees are able to successfully communicate at the touch of a button–eliminating the time needed to run messages across the office.

Team chat apps are perfect for customer facing and sales departments and improve the quality of service. Employees who are on calls with customers can seek assistance from their colleagues in seconds to provide more prompt and accurate service to their customers.

There are plenty of chat apps on the market to choose from, but it’s important that the platform you choose meets all of your needs and works across all platforms, anything less is sub- standard. For the best user experience and to accelerate adoption, make sure your chat app works on desktops; either as a standalone app or from the web or both, as well as having apps for Apple and Android phones and tablets. Broadview’s MyOfficeSuite application offers a unique integration of an entire communication platform: online presence, click-to-call extension dialing and company-wide chat functionality in one and is available on nearly every device you own.

Whichever chat application you choose, be sure that it offers cross-platform functionality to unify and simplify your communications across departments and your entire organization, no matter which device your team is using. This will allow you to keep you communications in one place for optimal efficiency and connectivity.