Every day, companies all across America are trying to accomplish the same thing to improve their businesses. Whether you're a typical "Mom and Pop" SMB, a mid-size business with 250 employees or a Fortune 100 enterprise, you all share the same four basic goals. 1) Reduce costs. 2) Increase revenue. 3) Become more flexible to changing market conditions and 4) Reduce any risk of disruptions to your business model. In a nutshell, every business wants a better way to accomplish their "Business Continuity" strategies.
So, how are these various businesses accomplishing these lofty goals? One of the quickest and easiest ways to tackle all four items at once is to understand that technology has again changed the way we do business... for the better, and now is the time to embrace the change.
Businesses of today (and tomorrow) are changing how they communicate with one another. Gone the way of the dinosaur are the old, expensive models of communicating. For those of us who are willing to show our age, you can think back to the days of expensive long distance. Remember when you would ask to use someone's home or business phone and the person paying the bill would always ask the same question, "Are you calling long distance?" Thankfully, with the breakup of Ma-Bell in the '90's, competition drove the costs down to a manageable $0.03 per minute from the norm of the era, where it was about $0.40 per minute.
Transition came again with the advent of the internet, and then email, and again with conference calling and mobile services. Each new technology certainly experienced its own bumps in the road, and each took time for the masses to adopt them, but ultimately, each new step brought us closer to the four goals noted above. Reduced cost, increased revenue, market flexibility and reduced risk of downtime.
Today, technology has blessed us with yet another advancement. Over the last decade or so, we have seen the advent of Cloud and Hosted technologies. What began as a slow paced crawl has sped up to an Usain Bolt paced sprint in technological advancements, thanks to cloud computing. As is the norm, it always takes a few years for the masses to understand and in turn, adopt these new technologies, but once it happens there is no turning back. That's where we are today and thankfully, for businesses looking to ramp up their technology or capitalize on the very impressive catalog of feature sets (now standard in most offerings), your business continuity goals are finally within reach.
If you haven't already begun the transition of replacing your old dilapidated PRI based phone system, then you are doing your business a huge disservice, and that is a delicately phrased understatement. Sure, you see your old phone system as an asset, something you own, that is tangible and yours, but if you think about it beyond the obvious, what has your phone system done for you lately? I'm sure it rings and can place a call for you, but what if you could have your extension ring at any location you are visiting for the day, or even ring simultaneously with your mobile device? Never missing a prospective customer's call will drastically help you increase your revenue. Or, consider the amount of time it takes you each month to understand and rectify your paper billing. Are your rates all billing correctly for each type of call you place? Doubtful, but imagine having an online portal tracking each and every call, to and from (down to the extension level), so you not only know where your clients are calling from and who they are speaking to, but also ensuring that each outbound call is actually included, FREE of charge, with the system? That's both cost reduction and flexibility.
Did you ever have to close during inclement weather? Your competitor who already uses Hosted VoIP services didn't, because when they awoke to find 6 feet of snow on the ground, they simply opened up their smart phone, logged into the portal and with one click of a button, re-routed all of their calls to their predesignated emergency overrides, in real time! Guess what, they never lost a dollar in existing revenue and better yet, they even gained your lost revenue, because they were open for business while your company was closed for business.
The most common misconception when considering a Hosted VoIP PBX is the price. Most fear that such an advanced Unified Communications system (and that's what it really is; this 'aint your Granddaddy's phone system) is priced the way the old phone systems were, with a huge capital outlay, strapping your business for cash until you got some sort of ROI. That is patently incorrect. Todays Hosted VoIP PBX's cost little to nothing in upfront costs, and are simply charged monthly just like your phone bill of old.
Included in the monthly costs are your brand new phone system and handsets, all of the usage (domestic calls are usually FREE or UNLIMITED), dozens of features and voice mail options, auto attendants, software upgrades, break fix, installation, training, intuitive administration and user portals (to manage the service, pay your bill, chat, monitor extensions and even view trouble tickets in real time!) and a variety of other bells and whistles. Best of all, these systems, typically priced by the number of handsets ordered, are usually within 15% of your total current spend!
So, the next time that you have a staff or budget meeting and you are trying to determine how to hit your four main goals (again) - Increasing Revenue, Decreasing Costs, Becoming More Flexible and Reducing Downtime Risk - I would recommend that you take a good hard look at Hosted VoIP PBX as an option. The only downside is that you haven't done it sooner.
By Jeffrey M Keane
About the author:
Jeff Keane, 38, is an expert in business telecommunications services, with over 15 years of industry experience. Jeff is frequently the highest producing sales rep in his company and over the course of his career has helped thousands of clients save millions of dollars annually by implementing his recommendations for various voice, data, VoIP, IT and Cloud services. Jeff lives in Southern New Jersey with his wife Brandy, 36, and two children, Ryan Christopher, 14, and Emma Grace, 10. Jeff is an avid sports fan and also enjoys a variety of music, art, food and technologies.
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Labels: Business Communications, Business VoIP, Hosted VoIP, VoIP