Communication is central to any business, and these days, it's increasingly digital. Your teams use a variety of channels — from talk and text to video — to collaborate with each other and interact with customers, and unifying those channels can help you improve some of the most critical aspects of running your business. Unified communications benefits range from boosting employee productivity to improving customer service to expanding your bottom line.
So, how does unified communications as a service (UCaaS) work? How can a UCaaS platform keep your workforce connected and your company competitive? And what unified communications benefits can you expect?
Traditionally, managing an in-house communications infrastructure meant buying, maintaining, and upgrading hardware and software — costly and inefficient processes that often required retraining tech support personnel.
UCaaS takes the investment and legwork out of building, managing, and evolving your in-house communications platform. It gives you a communications infrastructure that can handle capacity on demand with integrated voice, SMS, chat, video, real-time analytics, and automation on a single platform that your team can access from any device.
Using customizable application programming interfaces (APIs), you can seamlessly integrate UCaaS with other popular business applications, such as Salesforce, G-Suite, Zendesk, Oracle Netsuite, and Microsoft Dynamics. You can leverage communications APIs to deploy chatbots, video-on-demand, and other customer-facing communications enhancements. You can even leverage UCaaS to power an omnichannel cloud contact center that provides your customers with round-the-clock accessibility and lets your team work from anywhere.
4 Benefits of UCaaS
What are the benefits of UCaaS for your organization? When you unify communications into one cloud-based platform, your organization can unlock the following four advantages.
1. Decrease Silos
The silo effect is a common phenomenon within organizations that have incompatible operating platforms and disconnected communications channels. The effort needed to sync and convert data can be overwhelming, and silos occur when teams use multiple disconnected tools to accomplish daily tasks. This can quickly turn into process bottlenecks that stifle work and communication flows.
When UCaaS consolidates communications, it also consolidates communications data and connects it to other important business data via application integrations. This way, employees can move from one communications channel to the next without interruption, whether they're working from their office desktops or their mobile devices, and feel confident they're always seeing the latest, most relevant customer information. These insights help them better navigate customer engagements, focus on strategic initiatives, and close sales.
2. Spot Trends and Opportunities
A sophisticated UCaaS platform supplies real-time analytics that let you spot trends in your communications data, like when contact center volumes tend to spike, what times customer complaints occur the most, or where bottlenecks form.
When communications channels are connected through a UCaaS platform, teams can identify bottlenecks and find solutions to alleviate friction points and improve inefficiencies. For example, consider a midsize retail company that finds that customer calls are being misdirected to agents who are unable to assist. After being transferred to multiple reps, customers are hanging up and taking their business elsewhere. With UCaaS, this company can find a solution, for example adding a virtual receptionist that can route calls directly to the specific department or individual and cut wait times. Or if wait times tend to be longest at noon, management can shift break times or deploy chatbots for additional coverage.
3. Mobilize Your Workforce
Whether your employees are working on the go or working from home (like most people in 2020), they can log in and access all the same communications tools they rely on in the office, including videoconferencing.
Unified communications benefits include a new level of connectivity with on-demand videoconferencing, so whether you're providing one-on-one training or a 300-person sales presentation, you can get face-to-face and make a personal connection from a social distance, from any mobile device. Sales reps visiting a client factory can connect directly with engineers through HD video to analyze parts and fittings on the spot. Home health caretakers can connect with medical staff to assess their clients' conditions and provide a live visual, rather than a written report after the fact.
In the uncertainty of the post-COVID-19 era, mobility is important for almost every business. When there's not a pandemic, mobility helps organizations attract talent with perks like telework opportunities that enhance work-life balance. In PricewaterhouseCoopers' June 2020 U.S. Remote Work Survey, 83% of office workers said they want to continue working from home at least one day a week, and 55% of employers said they'll offer that option even after the coronavirus threat has passed.
With UCaaS, remote workers can transfer calls or send and receive SMS messages from their mobile devices to their desk phones, to colleagues, or to contact centers. And through mobile videoconferencing, teams can collaborate from anywhere at any time. What's more, features like call transcription and integrated business apps like Bullhorn or Zendesk empower workers with the tools to stay connected, accountable, and productive.
4. Boost Revenue Growth
Unified communications benefits your bottom line. It makes your employees more productive and helps them deliver positive customer experiences that foster trust and loyalty, leading to revenue growth. It also frees up IT time and budgets: Rather than maintaining a communications infrastructure, they can focus their resources on operations and innovation.
It's often taken for granted, but communication is the backbone of any company, so the benefits of UCaaS can make a big impact on any company's bottom line. Ensuring smooth communications between employees and clients is essential for driving growth. And with a UCaaS platform, your organization will be well on its way toward the next level.