“Unified communications” is a fancy term for bringing together everything your business uses to communicate. The ideal arrangement is often a mix of tools that make for the best possible internal communication across multiple platforms.
It’s a lot more than just your phone system—though your phone system is definitely a part of it.
In addition to your landline and mobile phones, that could include your email, voicemail, file sharing software, website, digital whiteboards, social media platforms and everyone’s favorite 1990s throwback, your fax machine.
“In every business process and workflow, communications and collaboration are critical. Conversations are the lifeblood of business processes.”
In theory, when all of your communications tools are joined together into one seamless network, no message ever gets lost or forgotten. And, at any moment, any employee could conceivably contact any other employee.
For example, if one of your staff members got stuck in traffic, she could grab her cell phone and reach you wherever you are, even if you couldn’t pick up your phone right then. Her message might pop up in your email account, on an interactive whiteboard inside your office, or in some other noticeable way.
What’s more, your customers will always be able to talk to an employee or leave a message for a prompt reply. That responsiveness can really boost your reputation for customer service, which in turn can build consumer loyalty and increase profits.
“The heart of great customer service is great communication.”
To move toward a bright future of unified communications, you might try one or more of these extremely helpful items.
Above all, a great instant messaging (IM) app is versatile.
It can send files of all sizes. It lets you have a conversation with someone no matter what device you or that other person is using. With the right IM app, you can chat via text or video, and you can send messages and get notified as soon as their recipients open them. You can hold conference calls as well.
Given this level of flexibility, your IM app will likely be a cornerstone of your unified communications system. Soon enough, you and your employees will find it hard to live without.
“The idea is that in the future, you’ll do much of your work from inside your chat app, rather than switching back and forth between different apps.”
Video conferencing software
Video conferences hold a few advantages over their real-life counterparts. Obviously, people can take part in virtual meetings wherever they might be—at home or in other states and countries. That translates into greater convenience and perhaps higher attendance.
Furthermore, because people are in different places and have other things to do, most participants will want to make each video meeting quick and on point. People can’t chitchat in small groups or dawdle by the coffee machine, and they probably won’t drag out the meeting with unnecessary questions and comments.
When you’re searching for video conference software, look for an affordable product with such features as private chatting, speech-to-text functions, social media app integration, a whiteboard and the ability to conduct instant and anonymous polls. The latter will let you get a sense of everyone’s position on various issues before you make weighty decisions.
“Collaboration technology—ranging from email, smartphones and video conferencing to emerging cloud-based collaboration applications—is driving dramatic improvements in organizations’ efficiency, productivity and business decisions.”
If you’ve never used Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology before, you’re in for a very pleasant surprise. In a nutshell, VoIP is a modern phone system housed online. VoIP systems work just like normal phone systems, but with a lot more options.
VoIP is both affordable and dependable, and it offers a world of exciting benefits. You can access it just about anywhere, and you can use it to make conference calls instantly. It can translate your voicemail messages to text, too.
You can even have your VoIP ring you in more than one location. For instance, you might have your VoIP calls ring your business cell phone a couple of times. If you don’t answer that phone, then your private cell phone might ring once or twice, and maybe your home landline phone would sound next.
All the while, the person calling you would have no idea that he or she is ringing multiple locations. And you won’t have to worry about missing an important call due to a dead or misplaced phone.
Those are just a few of the perks of a VoIP system. How’s that for multifaceted and adaptable?
“If your business is looking for ways to streamline efficiencies and open up more dynamic channels of digital communication, it may be time to evolve from the days of hardwired phones to a business voice-over-IP (VoIP) service.”
Happiness is unified communications
In the end, unified communications can deliver so much for your small business. It makes it much easier for your employees to travel and work from remote locations.
It lets you have quality time away from your phone and laptop without missing anything. That’s because your messages will all be in one place when you return.
And it allows you to compete more effectively with larger companies.
What happens when staff members and consumers enjoy greater flexibility in terms of communications? Well, you’ll have more satisfied employees and more satisfied customers.
Not bad, huh?
Finally, it’s a good idea to hire respected communications technology professionals when you’re building your IT network. They can help you identify, locate, buy, install, implement and maintain all of your hardware, software and apps. They can keep your network running smoothly for a long time to come.