Before COVID-19, there was a real debate over why an organization should switch from its legacy PBX to a cloud solution. It didn’t really make sense for organizations that had 100% of their staff in house. Not to mention, the investment toward expensive in-house infrastructure had already been made.
Today, that merely isn’t the case. In fact, 60% of organizations have already decided to switch to VoIP when their landline contracts end. While COVID-19 brought a lot of burden to operations and IT leaders, it certainly served as a catalyst for investment in cloud communication infrastructure.
Still debating whether to make the switch from on-premise to the cloud in 2021?
Keep reading to learn why even the biggest on-prem supporters are finally making the switch and safeguarding their communications strategy heading into the year ahead.
3 Factors Shaping How Businesses Communicate in 2021
First and foremost, the way businesses once communicated is good and gone. The world has changed, and your communications systems need to keep up. Here are three things causing the disruption for telecommunications:
1. Remote Work Isn’t Going Anywhere
Working from home was initially understood to be a temporary situation. As such, operations and IT leaders found quick fixes, temporary solutions for their organization’s phone systems.
But today, 78% of CEOs agree that remote collaboration is here to stay for the long-term. In some cases, work from home is here to stay forever. Surveys show that 80% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time after the pandemic, and 47% will allow employees to work from home full-time.
With remote work here to stay, businesses need to implement long-term solutions that ensure inbound and outbound teams can continue to provide excellent customer service.
2. Internal Communications Have Changed
Even though teams are remote, employees still need to be trained, KPIs still need to be met and meetings must go on. But how these things get accomplished has fundamentally changed.
We’ve replaced conference rooms with video calls, water-cooler-chats with instant messages and manual processes like call logging with integration automation.
Organizations working in the cloud made this transition seamlessly, allowing everyone in the organization to access these tools in one place with little to no disruption to internal or external communications.
Operations and IT teams on legacy platforms, however, are facing challenges like:
- Ensuring employees across the organization can communicate and collaborate with ease
- Making it simple for employees to route inbound and outbound customer calls to appropriate team members
- Providing managers with visibility into phone service operations for quality assurance, training and reporting
- Integrating the organization tech stack to reduce redundant manual tasks and ensure internal and external communications are maintained
- Setting up remote locations for new employees or adding telecommuters to support rapid growth
- Ensuring employees are managing business operations from secure devices
Managing remote workers doesn’t have to be this complicated, and operational leaders know it. Cloud solutions are becoming much more attractive when it means solving these issues at a more cost-effective price point.
3. Ensuring Business Continuity
Studies show that only 12% of organizations felt that they were highly prepared for the business disruptions caused by the pandemic, while just 2% believed their business could operate as normal.
In the months since COVID-19 upended our world, business continuity plans (BCPs), especially for call centers, have been put to the test.
Leadership has been forced to quickly find answers to tough questions like:
- Is our data and sensitive customer information secure when staff work from devices that are off-site?
- What will we do with our current phone system that isn’t optimized for remote work?
- What will we do if there is a customer breach of information in an unsecured line outside of the office?
- What will we do if an increase in customer orders means more inbound phone calls?
- Which offices are shut down and without an open brick and mortar, how are we re-routing support and spinning up new local numbers to support that brand presence?
- What happens if we can’t offer the same level of customer support when staff work from home?
- How do we adapt to quickly support future growth and an expanded global customer base?
Organizations working off legacy PBX systems quickly realized that creating a remote workforce that maintained security, excelled productivity, and provided excellent customer service was nearly impossible.
They also knew the cost of mismanaging business continuity could be disastrous. 75% of businesses who fail to put the appropriate safeguards in place close within three years of a major disaster. Did you know that the average financial loss of downtime alone is $5,600 per minute?
In addition to financial loss, organizations without the infrastructure to maintain business continuity face extreme reputational damage as well as losses driven by a lack of employee productivity.
For organizations on legacy systems, COVID-19 not only shined a light on the lack of business continuity planning but on the need for more agile communication systems that ensure businesses can operate without disruption.
The Cloud is the New Normal: 5 Reasons Why
Remote work, changing dynamics in how employees internally communicate and the heightened stakes brought on by business continuity have each created relentless questions that undoubtedly keep operations and IT leaders up at night.
That’s why so many are switching to cloud-based PBX systems. Here are 5 advantages internet-based phone systems have over on-premise systems.
1. More Features With Less Maintenance
Cloud solutions provide all the functionality of an office phone system like voicemail, call forwarding, and calling… but with the addition of so many other features like:
- Video conferencing
- Unlimited calling
- Compliant voice recording
- Advanced analytics
- Auto attendants
- Intelligent call forwarding
- Inbound call queuing
And it can do all of this without a server that needs regular updates and maintenance. In fact, cloud-based contact centers result in a 15% reduction in IT personnel costs.
Because cloud service providers deliver and maintain their solutions, IT staff can spend less time focusing on their contact center infrastructure and more time on revenue-driving tasks.
2. Improved Operational Efficiency
When employees work under a single platform, communications move faster and more efficiently through the business. Cloud solutions make it possible to unify business communication and collaboration tools.
These tools include:
- Virtual phone systems
- Video and audio conferencing
- Team chat
- Team presence
- File sharing
- CRM software
- Help desk platforms
With cloud phone systems, agents share the same features and capabilities as a powerful business phone system regardless of their location. When they leave their remote offices, mobile apps and softphone applications keep them connected to the corporate phone system.
Employees no longer need to use disconnected, fragmented technologies to communicate internally and externally. The result? Cost reduction, improved efficiency, support for remote employees, and most importantly, improved customer service.
3. Enhanced Digital Transformation at a Lower Price Point
Moving to the cloud poses a number of financial benefits including lower setup, maintenance and operating costs. In fact, 82% of businesses report cost savings when they move to the cloud.
But successful businesses see much more than just cost-savings potential in the cloud. They also see the opportunity for scalability with new technology. Digital transformation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning capabilities are amongst the top reasons businesses are moving to the cloud.
4. Higher Quality Customer Service
It’s no secret that customers don’t want to be stuck on hold, bounced around to the wrong department or have their call dropped. And 83% of companies report having lost a customer due to communication issues.
In a remote world, a flexible phone system that can adapt to the changing conditions of the workplace is key for ensuring excellent call quality and customer experience.
Cloud-based systems help your agents provide better customer service by:
- Allowing unlimited concurrent calling and excellent call quality for both inbound and outbound calls, regardless of agent location
- Automating tasks and reducing errors by integrating with business tools
- Giving admins visibility to monitor agent activity and key metrics, add or remove phone numbers and users and customize call routing rules anytime
5. Worry-Free Reliability
From security to business continuity, cloud PBX systems are always reliable.
From a security standpoint, cloud-based solutions give operations and IT greater control. Plus it helps meet auditing and compliance requirements such as mandatory call-logging. Additionally, VoIP systems include robust security protocols and security monitoring as part of their offerings to prevent attacks or misuse of service.
When it comes to business continuity, organizations need to find a balance between keeping employees and customers safe while ensuring customer service is maintained. Cloud-based phone systems help ensure business continuity for numerous reasons.
- Flexibility: By replacing hardware for an internet connection, IT teams can quickly set up systems like softphones to allow employees to conduct business operations efficiently and securely from anywhere at any time.
- Reliability: With intelligent call routing, IVR’s, and call forwarding you can rest assured that your customers' get answers from the right department, at all hours of the day. If your business operates globally, toll-free,non-geographic and local carrier numbers can help your operations re-route calls across the world with ease.
- Performance: Cloud systems allow call center managers to track and monitor agent performance via advanced analytics and call recording features. This ensures call quality and customer satisfaction is maintained even when employees are remote.
Cloud communication solutions can ensure your contact center never goes down and provides critical support to your BCP.
Achieve Customer Service Excellence From a Virtual Distance
COVID-19 changed everything for how businesses manage their communications. But one thing it didn’t change is the need for excellent customer service.
With your teams working from home temporarily or even permanently, it’s more important than ever to make sure your employees have the tools they need - whether it’s having a cloud solution to support your remote workforce, a reliable voice inventory to spin up new locations when the unexpected hits or an integrated call center platform to easily route and track all customer communications.
AVOXI’s cloud communication solutions and global voice are flexible, affordable and easy to use. You can manage your call center agents, phone numbers, customer service metrics, and call routing rules from anywhere with an internet connection. It’s the perfect solution for international businesses seeking a local presence.