If you’ve been in business for a while, then the “Cloud” should be something you’re already familiar with. If you’ve been out of the loop or don’t understand it, then it’s essentially a type of technology that allows you to shift your workflow to the internet, meaning that less information is stored on your machines, opening up new ways to run your business.
But that’s one of the more straightforward uses of the cloud. Nowadays, the cloud can be used for a number of different things, such as offering software as a service that is accessed through the internet instead of having to download something. The cloud has also opened up new ways for companies to use remote workflows to their advantage.
So what about cloud PBX? What does a cloud-based phone system offer that doesn’t already exist in some form or another?
What is Cloud PBX?
Cloud PBX is essentially an online business phone system that can be used by any office, any workplace and any business.
It is often referred to as a VoIP phone system. Traditionally, PBX systems had to be run at the location they were being used.
This means that a lot of hardware had to be installed, a lot of space was taken up and money was burned on maintaining the system.
It would cost a business a lot of money to have one installed, and it was a major expense that not every business could sustain.
With the cloud, you can transform your existing PBX into an online-based system that can streamline every process and drastically reduce the operational costs. You’ll have access to all of the same system such as call recording, time of day routing and auto attendants. However, you’ll also open up access to new cloud-based features such as a simple-to-use dashboard which you can use to control incoming calls or analytical information to see how often your PBX is being used and where you can improve its efficiency.
How Will It Improve My Business?
Drastically lowered operational costs. When compared with traditional PBX systems, a cloud PBX doesn’t require huge up-front capital nor does it demand a high maintenance fee.
Greatly improved customer experience. A cloud PBX is less likely to suffer maintenance problems, meaning less downtime and more reliable service for your customers.
Advanced features for demanding businesses and clients. A cloud PBX offers advanced features such as music on hold, voice messaging, remote call management and even integration with other systems like email and video.
Easily scaled to your needs. You can easily grow your cloud PBX whenever there’s a demand and there is virtually no downtime.
Exceptional voice quality. The internet has a much higher bandwidth capacity than a phone line, meaning you’ll have exceptional voice quality at all times.
Guaranteed business continuity. Even if your business is interrupted somehow, a cloud-based PBX will allow you to continue your business operations.
Simple mobile integration. The majority of internet users in the world use their phones for daily online tasks and a cloud-based PBX is no different. You can access your dashboard and even answer calls on the go without being tied to your workplace.
Switching to a cloud PBX system may seem daunting, but it can revolutionise the way you do business if used correctly.
VoIP phones offers a plethora of key business benefits over traditional phone networks, including those deriving from having a virtual phone number for your business telephone. The best news is that all of these VoIP assets are delivered at a fraction of the cost of what you’ll pay more for and get less with when you’re using a traditional network.
Some businesses may be a little confused about how virtual numbers work and just how many benefits having such an asset can bring to their long and short-term business objectives. Let’s explore.
What Are Virtual Business Numbers?
Virtual numbers don’t have a direct association to a telephone line, meaning the numbers can be assigned to any device of your choosing – mobile phone apps, hardware desk IP phone, or a desktop softphone app. Multiple numbers can be assigned to a phone line.
VoIP isn’t the only source for virtual numbers, but it does provide the added benefit of IP connections. VoIP doesn’t rely upon PTSN copper lines, making all VoIP phone numbers virtual by nature.
Let’s use Google Voice, one of the leading free virtual number service providers, as an example:
You get a number to use across all your devices, whether that be a number provided by Google Voice or ported-in from a cellphone carrier.
Integrate other Google services – text, voice, video.
Free calls throughout the U.S. and Canada and relatively inexpensive international calling.
In a nutshell, you’re using your Google account to create a virtual phone line. The website’s softphone line, the mobile app, or PC can be used for dialing and receiving.
Benefits Of Virtual Numbers for an Organisation
Granted, not every business phone needs a virtual phone number, but whether small or large and no matter the niche, almost any business can find multiple benefits from utilizing the service.
Let’s say you’re a new small business owner with suppliers and vendors outside your calling area. A virtual number removes the burden of costly national and international calling. So, if you need to call phone systems Dublin to routinely order from a vendor, you’re not faced with adding unnecessary expenses to your business’s bottom line in a phone bill.
Contact centers are another example of how virtual numbers can be invaluable. Remote agents have the power to adopt local numbers, which adds a personalization to the call for receptivity and lowers the operational costs. The same number can allow callers to ring multiple call centers at one time, ensuring calls don’t go unanswered because one center or agent is unavailable.
Of course, each niche or business can find a multitude of ways to utilize virtual numbers for their individualized needs, but there are also three universal virtual phone number benefits that almost any business can utilize to their advantage:
1. Local Presence
Like the call center example, a specific line can house multiple phone numbers and be local numbers specific to the target area(s) of business. Most companies don’t just conduct business within their own geographical areas. Customers and leads can be located across the country from you, even internationally.
Establishing a local presence through a local number encourages the target to be more inclined to answer and more receptive to the caller. It also enables callers anywhere to reach you without incurring long-distance charges.
Local area code virtual numbers are particularly important for businesses with an international presence. Clients and customers using phone systems Dublin aren’t going to be so receptive or engaged to call you if they have to do so at the cost of an international call. Read more about benefits of voIP system for sales team.
A professional image is a must, and sadly, when it comes to telephone calls, that professional image has traditionally been locked behind expensive equipment.
Now, virtual numbers allow businesses to establish as many phone numbers as they need without such equipment. Each service area, department, resource, employee can have their own unique number.
Individual vanity numbers can add an image and customer service boost, or consistency can be added by sticking with a uniform number across the board.
Because virtual numbers can be linked across all and any devices, they enable you to conduct business under a professional image no matter where you’re at through smart devices and PCs.
Employees can also enjoy this flexibility, which is particularly beneficial to remote employees, contract personnel, and remote teams needing to ensure they’re not missing calls.
Virtual numbers allow one device to be used for both personal and business use. This is great if you’re on the go. It’s fantastic if you’re office space doesn’t allow for a landline. And, it can be a budget saver for new small businesses needing one or more lines at the most cost-efficient rate.
As you can see, the applications and possibilities related to VoIP is endless. It’s really a matter of which virtual number application best serves your unique business telephone needs.
Is your phone service driving customers to make purchase decisions or hang up? If your team does not have the proper phone etiquette, you could be losing business every day no matter how awesome your marketing is working online.
With most phone systems, you can collect information from your customer before connecting to a person in order to make the call shorter and more helpful for your customer.
So how can you ensure that your customer service is on-brand and following your company’s dedication to customers?
You can start by having a roundtable with your team to discuss issues and policies regarding etiquette with customers over the phone. There are also some quick lessons to learn that will help your employees answer the phone correctly and connect to the customer quickly. You may also learn about VoIP phone issues that cause customer service complaints as well.
1. A Friendly Introduction when Answering the Call
Every employee should identify who they are upon answering the call. That means stating their name and asking a friendly question while also making sure to address that the customer has an issue they are calling about. Many times your customer has been through an automatic phone process up to this point, so it’s very important that the customer service representative answers on a positive note.
2. Customer Service Response Libraries
While you do not want any response to sound canned, you should have a list of possible objections, complaints, suggestions, and questions that can be instantly referenced while the customer service representative is talking to a customer, particularly if you have a promotion. You want to show customers that your brand is customer-focused and provides quick answers. This is also important for new members. You can also have some of these responses built into your VoIP phone system.
3. Vocabulary Selection
As you build any scripts or responses, you should consider the vocabulary related to your brand and industry. If you run a financial company, then you should know all of the vocabularies that an accountant might use on a call. There may be technical terms that you need to explain to the customer for technical support, so you have to be able to talk to them without being intimidating. You should have some of your employees who have a great script to talk to other employees for tips and tricks in dealing with customers.
4. Putting A Customer on Hold
First, you should always ask the customer if they can be put on hold, regardless of whether or not you have to do so in order to answer the question. This is a polite way of letting the customer know what’s going on, while also signaling that you are advocating for something on their behalf. When you place a customer on hold, you should explain why the hold is happening and how long it will be so that the customer doesn’t feel panicked. Modern phone features should also offer ways to promote or play calming music as a customer is on hold to keep them engaged.
5. Background Noise Levels Management
No one wants to call customer support and hear loud noises in the background that makes the phone communication difficult. Customer service areas should be clean, quiet, and focused. This allows your team to focus on the customer at all times.
While noise-canceling headphones can take care of most background noise, it’s not the best headphone that you can purchase. You may want to create an office where your call centre folks can answer and make calls, but if you plan to hire virtual customer service workers, you may want to create a contract that stipulates no noise or non-business activity while working.
6. Protecting Company Reputation
Let’s face it, every business has to deal with unhappy clients from time to time. Your job is to keep calm and make sure you provide the best customer service possible while handling the complaints about the phone. Breathe, try to relax and make sure you distance yourself from the anger of the customer calls. Remember, it is not about you, so under no circumstances start arguing with the person or making inappropriate comments.
Letting your client end the call while she is still angry may be fatal for the business. Company ratings and reviews on online forums, social media sites, and Google local service are crucial for business success these days. If you do not help resolve the issue, be sure the unhappy caller will go online and tell the entire world about the bad experience.
If you notice you are not being able to calm down a hostile caller, just let a manager or sales lead speak to the customer. This will show to the client that the problem is taken seriously by the company.
7. Offering Incentives to Collect Marketing Data
A lot of companies still try to offer an incentive over the phone, starting with new users who are just getting used to the service. This is an easy way to get subscribers by collecting their email address and phone information to support other marketing effects. Your incentives may be a percentage off or free shipping. Modern phone features may have a way to automatically offer an incentive for taking a survey after the call.
Just like having the vocabulary or script next to your customer service team, make sure that the promotions are published and accessible to your team who may have to answer the calls. In addition, your team should have access to the customer directory or help support.
9. Take a Survey at the End
Want to find out what customers think about your service reps while also promoting your reps to do a better job? Phone systems have built-in survey features that allow you to set up questions to ask your customers right after they have completed a service call over the phone.
Customer service representatives may receive incentives from positive reviews, so you can also talk to your reps about directing customers to the survey at the end of the call. This lets the customer know that you are monitoring phone calls and want feedback to ensure that you are properly answering questions. Ultimately, it’s up to the customer whether or not you provided high-quality service or not.
Your customers deserve high-quality customer service that answers their questions while also being able to promote transactions. Your representatives will have to know the products and promotions as well in order to sell your best products when your customer calls in. In addition, your VoIP phone system needs to be set up so that it is easy to access the menu or reach a representative in the case that they can’t get the answer right away within the automated system.
The Importance of Telephone Communication in Business
Telephone systems play an important role in modern businesses. Whether it’s a VoIP phone or a traditional phone system, telecommunications are essential for all aspects of a company’s operations. The following guide explores the importance of telephone communication in business.
Voice vs. Text Communication
A text message or an email can be easily misunderstood or misconstrued by the reader.
It’s important to understand the value of real communication in business relationships. While it’s easy to send a colleague or client a text message or an email, these forms of communication don’t carry the same weight as a regular phone call. In many cases, some of the subtleties that form an integral part of human communication can be muddied by simple text.
For example, many people in business relationships might make small talk or friendly jokes during a conversation. Jokes that are made in a text message or an email can be easily misunderstood or misconstrued by the reader. Something that would be obvious in a verbal conversation could seem bizarre or unexpected in a text conversation.
When dealing with potential clients, businesses can’t underestimate the importance of verbal communication.
Verbal communication can allow employees to pick up on subtle emotional signs in a conversation that might not be noticeable under other circumstances. In many cases, these subtle emotional signs can make or break a client relationship.
Better Security for Organisations
Our phone system enable you to talk to people and get feedback on ideas in real time.
It’s also important to understand some of the security risks associated with email, text messages, and other forms of communication that leave extensive documentation in their wake.
While it’s easy to record phone calls, most businesses don’t have processes to do this. However, many businesses will retain emails and text messages for a period of several years. If these emails or text messages are subpoenaed by a judge, a company may be forced to release them as part of a lawsuit or other legal action.
With voice conversations, it’s possible to be candid in a way that one can’t be with other forms of communication. Employees and company leaders can talk to each other and brainstorm in a way that isn’t possible via texting or emails.
Phone Systems Increase Communication Efficiency
Lag times are important too. Communicating by email can often involve delays that can last hours. Text messages are often faster, but it still isn’t the same as a live conversation. With a regular phone call, you can talk to people and get feedback on ideas in real time, which can be valuable in a business setting.
Telephone systems are essential for businesses of all sizes. Newer systems like a VoIP phone or an older traditional phone system all help to ensure that people can stay in touch.
Conversation Piece – an Integral Part of Business Phone Systems History in Ireland
Businesses around the world have been benefiting from telephone systems since the telephone was first invented in the XIX century. Our company has been one of the first early adopters of telecommunication innovations in Ireland since it was founded in 1978.
When Jim Dunne set up Conversation Piece back then, he knew that his business would have to remain at the technological forefront in order to be successful but what he didn’t know was how far that technology would go over the next 40 years.
Over the years, Jim and his team have worked tirelessly to bring the best of the best to Irish businesses. In 1992, Conversation Piece became the main partner in Ireland for selling Panasonic Business Systems; in 2001 Conversation Piece acquired from Cable and Wireless their complete key system base becoming a national supplier of business telephone systems with offices in Cork and Dublin; in 2012 Conversation Piece set-up Voice Traffic and broadband side to business and as of 2016 Conversation Piece has a Panasonic and Unify Cloud Solution offering hosted/cloud Telephony and VoIP.
Now, 40 years since Jim first set up his business, Conversation Piece remains a family run business with a team of bright and energetic full-time staff, still determined to provide only the very best.
First introduced in the 1960s PBX made telephone calls much cheaper and easier, allowing businesses to reduce their costs and enticing more and more people to join the network. By the 1970s, it was clear that this would be the best way for businesses to serve their clients and as the telephone became indispensable, it was natural that rapid upgrades would have to be made to keep up with demand.
The great leap forward came with TDM PBX which introduced new features such as a dialing tone, call transfer, auto-attendants and hold music that we still recognise and use today. Seeing this development so early on could only confirm that Jim was right: Conversation Piece would have to move quickly to stay ahead of the crowds that were sure to follow.
Given that so many businesses were rapidly expanding and the cost of changing a PBX system was so high, it became clear that another system would soon be required. When IP PBX was introduced, Jim and his team at Conversation Piece got straight onto the trend and started offering the switch over service to their customers.
The trigger for this change was, of course, the internet and by 2008 the vast majority of companies had made the switch. Now, with all the basic features of PBX made easier to use, companies also had a much better chance of recording calls, collecting data and integrating other technologies to allow for voice-to-text or email integration.
Of course, in the last 10 years, phone systems have been updated beyond the recognition of previous versions. Now, we all expect that our calls will be digital, fast and secure as a standard. Removing the onsite phone server has brought access to much smaller companies without the prohibitive cost.
As communication has become so much more important, and instant access for both customers and remote colleagues is vital for success, there are now 3 competing ways for businesses to manage their phone systems. Conversation Piece was one of the first companies to take up this new technology and we understand the benefits of them all and can advise you on which is best for your business.
Cloud Phone Systems
As the Cloud has become a much more popular way for businesses to store everything from data to software, it is completely logical that companies will also wish to switch to cloud phone systems. These systems are ideal for smaller businesses in particular as they require no onsite hardware and can provide top of the range services. Plus, as the Cloud is remote, growing companies can access a scalable model to keep up with their needs.
Onsite Phone Systems
Some companies do still like to have full control of their phone systems, though, and put off by the ongoing charges of having a Cloud Phone system, maintain their own onsite phone system and hardware. Often this is cheaper, but if something goes wrong, you may be stuck while you wait for a repair to be made.
Hybrid Phone Systems
And so to the compromise: hybrid phone systems. If you have an onsite phone system that you are happy with and has not fully depreciated, a hybrid phone system can bring in the elements of cloud phone systems you need to bring your business up to speed. With the best of both worlds, you have the flexibility you need with the control you want and the possibility for scaling later as you grow.
This option is particularly popular with businesses who have offices in remote locations and require a consistent user experience to get the best out of their communications. As hybrid phone systems make use of current hardware and blend in cloud software, you are able to get consistency across the board with every employee.
What’s Next For Business Communications?
Already there has been a subtle shift from customers calling companies to use social media to get in touch or using chatbots on websites to field enquiries. However, it seems that these systems are, for now at least, best for helping businesses to locate the right person for the customer to speak to on the phone.
In general, people are still much happier to talk to a colleague about a problem or a question that they are to sit waiting for a response. This means that to get the most out of their phone systems, businesses need to concentrate on how they provide a good customer experience. This means getting to calls quicker, ensuring a high quality of sound on the line, using menus to automatically direct customers and instantly switches from department to department as necessary.
For the modern business, the phone is still at the forefront of everything you do.
Improving services and communication functions in the workplace has become simpler and more accessible through the development of modern phone system technologies. Hosted PBX system for a small business is an example of these enhancements, as it has quickly become a universal enterprise solution that provides functionality, cost efficiency and a seamless flow of communication.
Hosted PBX: What it is and why it is the best choice for a small enterprise
The term, Hosted Private Brand Exchange (PBX), refers to a cloud-based phone system technology that has taken small and medium enterprises by storm lately.
The key to the success lies in the flexibility of the communication, as the hosted PBX technology does not require installing any telephone cables or expensive on-site hardware. Cloud-hosted packages are flexible and can be tailored to every budget, so this solution is often the preferred choice of start-ups too.
These are three key aspects that are critical to business success nowadays, that our modern cloud-hosted system helps you achieve :
– More freedom, flexibility and location independence: employees and clients from locations all over the world can communicate easily and effectively using a telecommunication system connected to the Internet. Mobile phones can be also connected to the system.
– Savings: with no phone cable and on-site phone system infrastructure cloud PBX is accessible for every small business. The calls are much cheaper too.
– Exceptional customer service: cloud phone comes with plenty of extra phone call features that are very difficult, or even impossible to accommodate in a standard non-virtual PBX structure.
Benefits of Cloud Hosted PBX Phone System
Here are some more specific benefits of investing in a hosted phone system:
Of course, the budget for investing in a telephone system is always a problem, especially when it comes to small businesses or start-ups. The good news is that choosing a hosted PBX phone system will cost your business less than other technologies that rely on an on-site PBX telephone system.
Hosted systems do not require additional physical hardware to be installed, and then regularly maintained, in your office.
With our technology, you save money on:
Training your staff (we provide it free of charge)
PBX infrastructure setup and installation (no need for phone line extensions & pbx hardware)
Expensive PBX system maintenance fees (there are none!)
Hosted PBX works everywhere where there is an Internet connection!
Another fact that makes this solution very attractive is its geographical flexibility & location independence. As the Internet connection enables a virtual presence, your staffs can work not only in an office but also from their mobile phones ‘on the go’, laptops at home and even from abroad.
Traditional telephone systems have certain restrictions on the number of users and lines attached to them.
It is also more difficult to add or remove a user.
That may not match the optimal scenario for your small company growth goals, and can also be an obstacle when there is a sudden need to downsize.
With a cloud PBX system, you can tailor the size of your network to your needs by easily increasing or decreasing the number of users and user functions.
More professional company image & better customer service
Of course, with more demanding customers and greater market momentum, companies need to look for ways to differentiate and gain a competitive advantage. A modern phone system can be a valuable asset to increase the credibility of your business.
Extensions transfer, call recording, voice mail, conference calls, auto-dialing, and music for calls-on-hold are some of the abundant benefits this business phone system has to offer. Presenting a professional company image to the world is essential today, so make sure you impress your customers and partners with our modern phone features when they contact you .
Virtual PBX systems are highly functional and provide a better communication flow that is much more efficient for your business. With this our system, you can create detailed reports, automatically record calls, and track performance over time.
… And More!
There are tons of other benefits that will make your employees’ work easier:
You can easily transfer calls coming to an office number to mobile phones
Coordinate multiple offices in the city or around the world and manage everything with the same phone system. You can even forward calls to callers’ local office, even if you only provide one phone number on your website. This can be a great benefit for companies that want to open multiple offices, or for people in the service industry who want to offer services in different locations.
Enjoy less work overload.
With a hosted PBX your phone system is hosted externally (in a cloud) and above all it is managed by our professionals with years of experience. Did you know that Conversation Piece has been in the telecommunications business for over 40 years? You can be sure we are the experts in the field. No more problems with the internal communication system maintenance or repair. The new technology requires minimum effort from you, so you to keep working on what’s important.
It allows you to use a wireless, ergonomically designed headsets that are much more comfortable than traditional phone sets.
Take advantage of working with freelancers and contractors. Working with freelancers is much easier if you can simply add them to your existing telephone network. They can even answer calls coming to your office number as if they were in the office – your customers do not need to know they work remotely.
If your local PBX system fails, it cannot receive or make calls until it has been repaired. In a hosted solution, your calls are made over the Internet connection, so the system is more reliable.
Easy of use.
Easily manage or change features such as call transfer, music on hold, call barring and call picking. You can also perform tasks such as group dialing and call analysis from a single web interface.
Modern call features.
Extra features, like unlimited free long-distance calls, your local or toll-free number, and visual voicemail, that can easily be added, removed or modified according to your needs.
If you need advice on which business system is best for your business, contact us and our experts will help you find the right solution matching your budget and needs.