Cloud computing has of late become the ubiquitous business tool, with everyone clearly (and rightfully) predicting that cloud is the next big thing. In fact, Microsoft has listed it as one of the four technology trends that have the potential to shape businesses.
With businesses all over the world quickly adopting cloud computing for a host of good reasons, there is another quiet but significant rider on the same cloud wave — Cloud telephony.
Cloud telephony is emerging as a major enabler of new business trends for both established businesses and start-ups. It can be regarded as a sort of magic solution that intersects service and scale.
Cloud telephony can be an asset for every business, no matter what niche they are in. Here are a few ways to leverage this technology.
Customers are an integral part of every business, but fielding customer calls can be overwhelming — they come from multiple locations, they need your executives solving different issues, they run over-time, missed calls are beeping forever and, worst of all, they need your executives glued to their seats. Cloud telephony makes call management infinitely easy with the ability to receive multiple calls in parallel, record calls to analyze issues, track time and route calls.
Cloud telephony inherently supports today’s remote and flexible work culture and allows employees to take calls from their own mobile devices. Many businesses today operate from multiple locations and cloud telephony makes it easy to allow employees to work from wherever they are. Customer support, previously seen as a function tethered to a desk and a telephone can now happen from anywhere, without compromising on the quality of their work.
Cloud telephony provides accurate information on every call and SMS sent or received. Using the data, companies can analyse patterns related to issues like call volumes, time taken to solve the query, number of missed calls, etc. This directly helps in streamlining response rates and improving response quality.
Cloud telephony enables customization of call flows, enabling you to greet your customers according to the seasons, special days and even time of the day. Since it is all managed by the software, it is quick to set up and alter with a simple click of the button or a drag-and-drop of a few elements.
Phone numbers have become the unique identifier for most businesses. The number of instances of these phone numbers being misused is on the rise. Cloud telephony enables number masking, which means that employees and customers can talk to each other without knowing or accessing each others’ numbers.
Every business wants to scale up, but this does not happen without happy customers. Switching to cloud telephony systems makes it lighter and faster to care for your customers. With rich features that come for a fraction of a cost of the traditional system, scaling up suddenly looks less daunting. The biggest advantage that comes with cloud telephony is that scaling does not have to include costs on additional infrastructure or manually adding systems. Cloud telephony allows the addition/deletion/modification of users through a few mouse clicks and allows the freedom to make more calls and reach more people. Of course, the cost is only reflective of the usage.
Cloud telephony takes away the burden of hiring, training and maintaining a huge team on an auxiliary, yet important function. Unlike in business models that have customer support as the core function, like (perhaps) BPOs, most other companies have the customer support team operating to support their other core functions like product development and marketing. Having cloud telephony is like outsourcing this critical but auxiliary function to an expert at a fraction of the cost, leaving the teams to focus on core areas of the business again.
Cloud telephony is also emerging as a major game-changer in social innovation and campaigning, by penetrating areas with people who have only a simple mobile phone for technology. Social start-ups are using the service to reach out to farmers in remote areas, by just providing with a virtual telephone number to call at. Nationwide initiatives like Digital India and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiatives have already seen increased engagement with the public through this service.
The original version of this article appeared on Entrepreneur.