9 Transformative UC features

There are many advantages of Hosted VoIP from a business growth-engine standpoint. This recent study by INFONETICS shows just how much potential impact unified communications (UC) services will have on businesses over the next 3 years. Despite these advantages, many businesses and their decision-makers still opt for the status quo. While it can be easy to think “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” implementing UC can transform your business. Here are 9 transformative UC features:

1) Broadworks Anywhere – This is a must for salespeople and executives who want to access their office phone when they’re on the go. Using any type of cell, landline, tablet, or computer, you can accept office calls, make outbound calls with your office number appearing as your caller ID, and even flash-transfer your calls between devices without putting your caller on hold for a single second. You can also access many of your VoIP handset features such as 3-way calling and transferring by using * codes. Don’t want to be reached? No problem. Because of Answer Confirmation, you can deny calls and the caller will go to your work voicemail.

2) Unified Messaging – I don’t know about you, but I hate having to dial into my voicemail to retrieve and delete my messages. I rarely leave voicemails on my friends’ phones because I know they dislike it too. With Unified Messaging, not only are voicemails conveniently emailed to you, but they are also transcribed for you within a few seconds. Anyone who has used Siri knows that machine transcriptions aren’t perfect, but critical info like dates, phone numbers, and addresses nearly always come out fine. And for those who want better transcriptions – human-assisted transcriptions are now available.

3) Presence – Imagine a better world where you never have to wait for a coworker to respond to your voicemail or email. This is the world of Presence. At a quick glance, you can see whether someone on your list of contacts is available on the phone or is in a meeting or is away from his or her desk. You can use this tool from any internet connection, and even from mobile versions on a smart phone or tablet.

4) Video – As apps like FaceTime and Skype grow in popularity and more businesses (besides Yahoo) grow their remote workforces, video is becoming more commonplace. It is also becoming more valued. Speaking as someone who is part of a remote workforce and uses video, I can testify that seeing body language as simple as a smile creates a far stronger bond and better interpersonal relationships than relying on voice communication alone. The best part? On many UC platforms, there is no additional monthly cost.

5) Instant Messaging – How many of your staff would say: “I want to get more email”? Cut down on unnecessary inbox-clogging messages with IM. Use group chats to get answers quicker or collaborate better on conference calls. With most UC offerings, IM is combined with Presence, click-to-dial, video, and screen share for even greater functionality.

6) CRM Integration – If you use a CRM tool like Salesforce or ACT, many UC services will integrate it. This will give you click-to-dial functionality, which may seem trivial at first, but over the course of a year will save precious hours of productivity. This feature will also allow for Caller ID screen pops that bring your caller’s information directly to the screen – another great time saver for you AND your customers. You can even save the recorded call directly into that customer’s record in your CRM with one click.

7) Softphones – I wrote a blog about the risks of Softphones, but these come in extremely handy where cellular doesn’t work. This is an especially effective tool when travelling internationally. Softphones can also save you in a pinch when your cell phone is dead but you have access to your laptop or tablet.

8) HD Audio – “F as in Frank” is an obsolete phrase with HD phone service. The G722 Codec doesn’t take up any more bandwidth than traditional calls, but delivers a frequency range of 50 to 7000Hz, compared with normal calling which delivers 300-3000 Hz. It will sound like your caller is in the same room as you. WARNING: With HD Audio, watch what you say while on the phone because it WILL be heard!

9) Collaboration – This is a great way to cut down travel expenses. Remotely share applications, desktops, whiteboards, and polling. Expand the reach of your salespeople, trainers, and support personnel while reducing cost and delivery time.

For more information on how hosted services can help your business, please contact us.