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The digital age has created endless choice for the discerning consumer, and an ever expanding list of potential difficulties for businesses ranging from logistics to product problems.
This has shifted company resources towards customer support, particularly in the hyper-growth tech industry where outsourcing CX is most commonplace.
This customer-centric focus has given many companies a competitive edge. This is punctuated by the cloud-based contact centre industry’s $17.5bn projected value by 2021 (US) with 91% of businesses operating in the industry experiencing growth.
As CX becomes one of the strongest competitive advantages, the Blueface team investigate major changes in the industry and outline why a Unified Communicationsportal can boost your operational efficiency (and your Net Promoter Score).
Time is limited, for your staff and your customers.
According to Markets&Markets, over 61% of customers expect a first-time resolution to their problem and usually that doesn’t involve call transfers.
You can increase customer patience (willingness-to-wait) or allow self-service with IVR and ensure they experience minimal transfers with easily designed call flows.
Blueface UC’s intuitive Call Flow Designer
While 79% prefer calls, busy customers expect a speedy solution via live message (Whatsapp, Zopim, WeChat etc.), email and social media (public and potentially toxic).
Dependent on the industry in which your business operates, missing these messages could be extra costly and cause backlog your phones.
Unified communications allows account administrators and team leaders to corral customer touchpoints and maintain clear visibility – even remotely after hours for emergencies.
This shear rate of scaling enabled by new technologies has had some unexpected consequences. Inefficiently managing the new sites, employees and technologies can have adverse effects on any business, and with quick scaling – mistakes are easily found.
Real-time account management with an endlessly scalable cloud-based system allows businesses to scale confidently, even in highly competitive sectors.
Cloud comms infrastructure de-risks scaling as businesses are no longer dependent on physical “on-the-ground” equipment or third parties for localisation.
Companies can establish a global presence in new offices, co-working spaces or home workspaces from their headquarters in moments. This makes global talent search easier, expands your company’s skillset and allows for a quick local presence.
Extra flexibility is delivered through soft clients such as the Blueface Softphone App, which enable you can easily implement Bring Your Own Device policies, allowing new agents to join the company network instantly. With Softphone, your employees’ mobile device or tablet can soft-integrate with any office network.
No more lines. No more calls to your provider. Admins can add a user, devices or even new physical sites from the UC Portal, cutting down ICT-spend allowing a business to focus on their core competencies (on a global scale).
Real-Time Account Management
Customer care has historically been a high turnover industry and as a result it can be hard to retain staff members. Mercer’s 2016 research outlined that turnover is still the #1 problem facing the support-focused contact centre industry.
Surface-level Google-esque perks with kitschy, conversational themes like Pizza Friday and Ping Pong Socials have been introduced but they serve as stop gaps.
Cultivating a social working culture is a good start but what happens when there’s no improvement? Companies must continue their work at improving retention and to begin to explore ways of being fluid with employee onboarding.
With a Unified Communications Platform, you can pair staff with devices immediately without the need to start a user account (handy with high turnover).
The Blueface UC Dashboard
As soon new support staff start – they can be set up with their own device, which also helps the business keep track and as they progress, accounts can be made instantly.
New cloud-based telephony allows remote account management from administrators – any office, any user, from anywhere in the world.
This efficiency combined with the cost-saving call rates provided by IP-based telephony way without having to pay for new lines or extra support functions.
New Technologies, Faster Obsolescence
The introduction rate of new technologies has skyrocketed, consistently bringing obsolescence to old legacy equipment like a physical PBX.
This is particularly true in telecoms as the largest providers around the world are undergoing a widespread IP-migration.
We’ve seen the true-cost of business telecoms infographic (think iceberg, buried treasure) but that number looks to worsen for old systems in the future.
With cloud-based telephony reaching a tipping point, PBX systems maintenance will become a specialisation and may prove even costlier in terms of finances and time-spent.
Did you know?
The UK’s biggest provider, BT has set 2025 as the IP-migration date.
While this doesn’t mean those with analogue lines will be shut down immediately, it will herald the start of the end for line-based telephony.
On a consumer side, touchpoint technologies have ballooned too and businesses need to pay close attention to each contact avenue.
A Unified Communications portal helps businesses track email, fax, live chat messenger, call time and more with detailed call analytics.
Create smart workflows for your staff and ensure your customer’s voice is heard on any platform with valuable data from a UC Portal.
Customer Experience Visibility
Global eCommerce is driving growth in every industry but companies often struggle to manage the extra volume that comes with global operations.
Outsourcing to contact centres like Voxpro allows companies like AirBnB, and Googleand a host of tech companies to continue to innovate without damaging their reputation.
Contact centres specialise in operational efficiency to drive revenue and much of this is achieved through IP-first telephony.
IP-driven telephony combined with a UC Platform integrates with your phone system, giving you the same detailed call breakdown and user flexibility you’d find in a contact centre.
Have multiple international offices? You can set time of day rules so the phones automatically switch over to another site, in another corner of the globe.
With Unified Communications provider, your operation can achieve that coveted contact centre efficiency and direct contact lets customers know they’re more than than tickets.
Infinite Users, Infinite Sites, One Provider
This post has covered how administrating multiple office accounts and adding new users with a Unified communications portal is a breeze – even for the biggest organisations.
A not-so-secret advantage of IP-telephony is that it is not geographically bound and with that – neither are the providers.
IP-first Blueface provide service and a suite of features that make managing your telecommunications infrastructure simple. With data centres dotted around the globe Blueface customers can be sure of compliance and quality anywhere in the world.
As a bonus, rather than a swathe of international phone bills to wade through, Blueface Unified Billing offers transparent billing data.
By Kamila Cholko - Blueface Marketing Executive
READ: [3 MINS]
Think of your current physical phone system (PBX) as that first car that you bought (unless your first car was fabulous).
It was a thrill to begin with but after years, it was no longer purpose fit and required regular maintenance just to run (didn’t even have power steering). If you were still driving it, it would be precarious and finding parts would be an expensive journey.
Back then, a mix of nostalgia, current expenses and comfortability made you reluctant to change, but knowing you would need to some day – you upgraded.
Modern cars are mobile computers with integrations that make driving and life easier; likewise modern phone systems make communicating and life easier.
Through a coalescing of communication technologies, modern phones are more than just voice platforms; they’re foundational for better business operations.
Why invest any time or money in it at all?
From stunting business growth, to operational inefficiencies – the Blueface team investigate the troubles with leaning on retro-tech and how upgrading could make life a little smoother.
Upgrading and updating communication security is an ongoing process. If you have a legacy phone system, chances are it will not comply with the latest security requirements. This opens up your PBX system to toll frauds.
For example, a hacker may use transfer features to resell call minutes or place calls to international premium rate numbers.
A 2017 PriceWaterHouseCoopers paper indicated that 52% of global CEOs found malicious data breaches to be the biggest disruptor of business. With the IoT, breaches can happen from any unsecured network-enabled device.
Traditional PBX are open to malicious hacking attacks through voicemail and maintenance ports, which can then be reconfigured for nefarious purposes. Usually these attacks involve malignant bills from fraudulent international calls.
Modern telecommunications companies work with each arm; broadband network, hardware, MVNOs and more to ensure a standardised roadmap for security. Many – like Blueface – have anti-fraud auto-detection via our AI.
While most attacks happen after hours or when a business is closed for holiday purposes; cloud-based phone systems are protected – even when you’re not there.
System Failures (& Failsafes)
PBX Systems will invariably encounter failure and even if your SLA is still in date, amending the issue can take a ludicrous amount of time.
Many providers do not have the technically skilled staff to repair outdated technology and with the imminent IP-migration, it may prove tremendously time consuming and expensive to track down this skill set.
What happens while your phone system is down? Or if you want to add more than the quote of users?
While waiting for specialised assistance, companies can wind up paying for staff to be idle with frustrated customers going furiously unanswered.
Modern phone systems are remotely administered and protected by providers via the Cloud and while they don’t require a hands-on approach (no upgrades, maintenance etc.) they offer unparalleled user control if required.
As a bonus, they have robust failover systems and are easily migrated to new locations.
There are a few elements here that can inflate your bill and downtime is near the top of the list.
Not only will down time complicate your day to day operations (call log, staff rostering etc.) but constantly plugging holes will prevent you from focusing on generating new revenue opportunities.
Did you know?
Consumers (50.2%%) still prefer calling a business landline, over mobile according to Blueface BCT 2017. If your phones are down, you’re losing money!
Fixing the issue can be expensive as well if the problem is too complicated for your team to work it out.
Unless you have your own third-party system manager, you’ll have to rely on the provider. With most major providers moving from traditional telephony; this task will become a challenge before long.
Finally, spare parts. Sometimes it’s impossible to acquire them, and even if you do, they will probably second hand, very expensive with a shorter half-life and no warranty.
The Missing Pieces: Integration
The speed of standardisation of novel tools is quite frightening. New technologies, new uses and new integrations – the final point being the most important.
The Internet of Things owes much of its projected $267bn valuation (by 2020) to integration. Technology, after all, isn’t about how it works in a vacuum – it’s the myriad applications created by merging with newer technologies.
Put simply; we had mobile phones and the internet – the two combined and have become an irreplaceable part of life. Then mobile phones were integrated with fixed line phones via the internet and so on…
Whether your business is ready or not, adhering to technological tool standards is essential if a company wishes to maintain a competitive advantage.
Aging phone systems were not designed for the daily deluge of innovation, they were designed to make calls on a wholesale scale. Failure to upgrade can leave you lacking crucial systems like call recording (Compliance), analytics (Strategic HR) and customer data (CRM).
Want a new CRM? Sorry, you’ll have to upgrade. Want to expand your operation to a new territory? Sorry, you’ll have to upgrade.
A major difference you would get with a cloud-based telephony upgrade, is you would gain the ability to expand and contract your services from a dedicated UC Portal.
Whether your business is growing rapidly or cost-effectively refocusing; if you have an old phone system – the impact is great.
For businesses scaling up, managing growth (new users, new territories) can be very expensive and involve multiple long-term contracts. For businesses adding by subtraction, the process is quite similar in terms of contracts, only you’re reducing territories and seats but often adding specific functions.
The operational time spent organising this scale, as well as the up front overheads is unreasonable for any business, especially ones in dynamic flux.
Most industries are in this state of flux as tech-encroachment continues to twist and change the business landscape. Acquiring skilled talent has become tricky as a result.
Due to this talent land-grab – particularly in STEM fields – the biggest trend in businesses worldwide is employee-enablement and more specifically – flexibility and remote working.
It is extremely difficult to offer and support enterprise mobility to your employees when you still have a physical PBX. Taking days to set up basic features like voicemail boxes or call forwarding is not just uncommon with cloud-based systems – it’s criminal.
The PSTN Shut Down
Some of the biggest telecommunications providers from all over the world have already stopped offering long-term PSTN. Others have published a roadmap for standardised IP-Migration.
The End is Near?
In Austria and Scandinavia the IP-Migration is almost complete; while Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, and Greece have a 3 – 5 year IP-migration plan.
So all other arguments aside, in the end, you might not have any choice but to start looking around for another, more contemporary telecom solutions.
Soon it won’t be a matter of when, it will be a matter of necessity.
Talk to the Blueface Unified Communications experts, find the right plan for your business and discover the operational benefits of a cloud-based phone system.