There is no doubt that VoIP technology has revolutionized telecommunications, and its dominance in the market continues to spread annually. Even though the technology itself is barely 20 years old, VoIP has secured its place in the communications market, both through session initiation protocol (SIP) implementations and through hosted VoIP solutions provided by vendors. However, there are still many small businesses and some large corporations which have yet to align themselves with VoIP technology for various reasons. In some cases, large corporations are slow to adopt newer technologies until they’ve been thoroughly proven and investigated by their personnel, and the total ramifications of implementation may not be completely clear to some companies. This is somewhat understandable because, in truth, a hosted VoIP implementation will have a powerful impact on your business workflow.
Some Things Change, Some Things Stay the Same
Whenever a new technology gets introduced at any company, there is bound to be some level of a learning curve for the general employees. The same is true for VoIP technology, and company employees will need to take some time to familiarize themselves with the new features and tools available via a hosted VoIP solution.
One of the things that will not change, and most employees will find this very comforting, is the voice calling experience itself. Making and receiving phone calls will be pretty much the same in a VoIP environment as they were before – when you are receiving a phone call, you simply pick up your phone and answer. By the same token, when you want to make a phone call, you simply dial a number for the party you intend to reach.
If you’re not using a phone, but are using a smartphone or tablet, you will have to download a softphone application before making or receiving calls. With desktops and laptops, you’d have to connect a headset to the computer, either by hardwiring or in wireless mode.
The big difference, which will become apparent to your employees, is the number of advanced features that are available, such as digital faxing or visual voicemail. Years ago, companies could not afford to make all the traits of a full telephony system available to the general population, but with the less-expensive VoIP configuration, that’s no longer an issue.
Making use of this feature-rich new telephony environment won’t even require in-house training or any specific support personnel. Your host provider will provide you online webinars and training manuals which can easily be accessed by all your employees.
How VoIP Will Change Your Business Workflow
The divisions or departments in your company that make the most extensive use of phones will probably see the biggest change in their business workflows. For most companies, these departments include contact centers, customer service, and sales and marketing departments.
While VoIP was initially a simple substitute for traditional phone lines, modern VoIP services are far more feature-rich and functional for your workers. Most vendors even offer integration services which will connect your VoIP service with some of the most useful enterprise tools, such as customer resource management (CRM) systems. Having information from a CRM system available while making sales calls over VoIP lines can multiply the effectiveness and productivity of your sales personnel dramatically. At the end of a call like that, notes and timestamps are automatically appended to a specific customer record in the CRM database.
Your employees who routinely interact with customers will be able to have managers listening on calls, can put callers on hold temporarily, will be able to retrieve calls from a pool of current calls, or forward calls to an appropriate voicemail box. It is also possible for personnel who spend a great deal of time on the phone to record their conversations so that significant discussion points are not lost or forgotten. This in itself can be a considerable upgrade to productivity, and to enhancing the customer experience and improving goodwill with clients. So, processes which may have taken 5 to 10 steps to accomplish in years past, can now be done far more effectively with a single click.
Personal Business Workflow Changes
Apart from the impact on departmental workflows, there may also be some significant change to personal workflows, all of which would be brought about by hosted VoIP solutions. One good example might be the employee who makes routine visits to clients at remote locations.
While such visits may have been difficult to schedule in the past because the employee could not afford to be away from their phone for long periods of time, the employee can now receive calls at virtually any time of day.
Since you can take your smartphone with you wherever you go, and it can be set up with your regular office phone number, you can receive any and all phone calls that go to your office phone, wherever you happen to be on the road. This will result in virtually no missed calls, and it’s another thing that can contribute to goodwill with customers, and to the enhancement of the overall customer experience. With the addition of persistent VoIP technology, your business workflow stands to enjoy a marked improvement.