Your customers are now connected. They communicate using mobile devices, on social networks, email, instant messaging; whatever channel they are most comfortable with and is convenient at the time. However, this doesn't mean that they've suddenly stopped making phone calls.
As communications have moved online, businesses have been able to cater to the increasingly demanding connected customer. But the humble on-premise phone system hasn't quite kept pace.
Contact centre managers know this. That's why they're switching to cloud-based systems in droves. But the benefits of a truly cloud-based phone system do not stop at the contact centre. Here are five cloud PBX features that better serve your connected customers, and that your entire business can benefit from.
The concept of unified communications gets talked about a lot, but truthfully it is a structurally difficult thing to achieve with a traditional phone system. By putting your entire infrastructure to the cloud, it is possible to achieve truly unified communications with much greater ease, at lower cost. We know the benefits for employees: presence, IM, easier web meetings. But true UC benefits the customer too – it means that your employees are accessible wherever they are, and however your customers want to reach them.
Hunt groups and call queues
Hunt groups are one of the first steps towards contact centre level inbound call technology. Set up intelligent groups in your business to ensure calls get distributed to the right people or teams. Then if calls aren't answered within a set limit they can be queued, diverted to voicemail or another team. This introduces an element of personalisation to the customer's experience of communicating with your business.
With your hunt groups set up you can monitor call volumes and wait times in real-time. This allows you to ensure that customers are being served satisfactorily, while giving you insight into how efficiently your teams are operating.
Answer and call from anywhere
Using a cloud-based phone system, an extension number is more like an email address than a static phone line. Employees can take it with them wherever, if they wish to hot desk from elsewhere in the company it's a simple case of logging in. They can set up dual ringing or 'find me follow me' features allowing them to be contacted anywhere, on a mobile, desk in the office or even home phone.
This means that wherever your employees are, your customers can get hold of them without even needing to be aware of whether they're calling a mobile, landline or VoIP into a computer. Employees can also use a choice of devices to make outbound calls, while the number that appears for customers will still be the same.
Adaptable auto attendants and attendant console
For customers calling your company, the answer they get is like walking through your front door or visiting the home page of your website. It is what they first encounter of your business, and as everyone knows, first impressions count.
If you have receptionists answering the phone, then an adaptable attendant console gives them the power to answer and manage multiple calls in real-time using simple drag and drop. Or, with a cloud-based phone system you can adapt your auto attendant system to a personalised response. Adapt messages according to time of day, or play different menus for different types of customer calls. It helps make for a better experience for customers calling your company.
The connected customer is driving the future of business. Communication is moving online, and in order to continue to offer the service customers expect, the phone system must too.
If you want to read up more, you can download "The Truth About Cloud PBX" guide.
- David Ford is Managing Director at Magnetic North
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