A unified communications checklist – 5 Essential features for small business users

A unified communications checklist – 5 Essential features for small business users

The success of your business depends on its ability to communicate efficiently — both internally and with customers — using different platforms. With geographical barriers largely rendered irrelevant by cloud and mobile technologies, your customers expect to be able to reach you by phone, email, and instant messaging. The situation is much the same with remote employees, partners, and freelancers who also need a dependable way to collaborate across a large geographical area.

Unified communications (UC) is a business concept that brings everything together under an overarching infrastructure in which all communications services are integrated. In the broadest sense, UC might encompass everything from CRM (customer relations management) to digital signage. It has become a driving force in productivity, customer engagement, and profitability because it lets people communicate more effectively from any internet-connected device.

Not every UC solution is made equal, which is why you need to evaluate the options carefully. Here are some of the most important features for small- and medium-sized business (SMB) users:

#1. Cloud deployment

Nowadays, SMBs rarely need to invest in their own on-premises VoIP servers and other expensive hardware, thanks to much faster and more reliable internet connectivity. With a UC infrastructure deployed in the cloud, you can eliminate many of the capital expenses associated with technology upgrades, while also taking advantage of limitless scalability and anywhere-accessibility.

Cloud-hosted UC systems are especially advantageous to small businesses and startups that need plenty of space to grow without having to make risky investments.

#2. Automated attendants

Automated attendants help ensure you don’t miss any incoming calls while assisting callers in speaking to the right person quickly. Using customizable menu options, callers can choose which department they want to speak to by briefly describing their concerns before being automatically redirected to the right department.

Before the introduction of VoIP and UC technology, this was only possible using the expensive PBX systems found in large enterprises. Nowadays, small businesses can enjoy this functionality as well, while also allowing staff to answer calls on any internet-connected device anywhere.

#3. Video conferencing

With millions of people working from home or on the move, it has never been more important for businesses to adapt to the workforce mobility trend. However, there’s still no substitute for face-to-face communication, which is why video-conferencing is a critical feature for any business that serves clients or work with people who live far away. With video conferences, geographical boundaries need not be an issue.

#4. Desktop sharing

Desktop sharing allows users to display their desktops to other people participating in a conversation, regardless of where they’re located. This feature is great if you need to provide hands-on technical support to your clients or employees, and works especially well when combined with video-conferencing services. It also comes in handy when you want to show someone a document without having to send it via email or upload it through an instant messaging program.

#5. Unified Messaging

Unified messaging concerns the integration of all electronic messages, such as SMS, fax, voicemail, instant messages, and emails into a single interface, preferably one that integrates seamlessly with your CRM and other core business systems. With unified messaging, you’ll no longer need to refer to multiple software applications and/or devices to handle communications. In other words, everything ends up in a single inbox, regardless of where it came from.

Unified communications from SinglePoint Global can save your business thousands of dollar per year through cheaper calls, increased productivity and better customer retention. Call us today to get started.