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5 Benefits to Putting Your Phone Number in the Cloud
In the not so distant future, the majority of phone numbers will be cloud-based as the number of organisations using IP telephony grows year after year. A new era of virtualised phone systems and numbers can bring numerous benefits to your business, writes Neil Doyle from Blueface.
Traditional telephony, where your phone calls are trafficked over physical lines, is dying out. The public switched telephone network (PSTN) has been decommissioned in some European countries, with end of life dates set for the near future in others. It is expected that the end date for Ireland will be announced soon.
The reason for this is IP telephony, or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This technology uses your broadband connection to traffic your phone calls and has long been accepted as the alternative to PSTN due to the real business benefits it can offer. Essentially it allows you to put your phone system and phone numbers into the “cloud” so they are not reliant on the physical PSTN to work.
How does this improve your business communications? Let’s take a look at five very real benefits.
1. Flexible user management
For cloud phone numbers, the inevitable comings and goings of employees in an organisation pose no issues. If an employee leaves, assigning their old number to a new starter in your organisation can be done with a couple of clicks, no matter where they are based. They don’t need to sit at the same desk as the previous person and use the same phone cable. They don’t even need to be in the same office.
If someone needs to work remotely, either from home or while they travel for business, there’s no issue with them staying contactable via their same number. In its most basic setup, a cloud phone number is usually pointed at one or more devices i.e. your desk phone or a soft phone.
2. Improve your operations
With a cloud system, you can put time of day rules in place with some simple clicks. This means that when someone calls out of office hours, you can play a specific message mentioning what the office hours are or perhaps providing them with an alternative contact method. You can prompt them to leave a voicemail afterward, or even redirect their call to that alternative contact number.
If a person calls within office hours, they can be directed to the receptionist or the boss or even given a full menu of options to choose from for each department. This is known as Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
Your organisation may have more than one “main” number. For example, your sales team might have its own general number as well as each sales rep having their own direct dial. When the sales line rings, it’s possible to set up which team member’s phone should call first, or perhaps all of them should. If the call goes unanswered for a period of time, you can redirect it to the team leader’s or manager’s phone.
The beauty of a cloud-based phone number is not that these services are simply available. They are available for PSTN numbers too (although it can be an arduous and expensive process). Rather, with a cloud phone number, these rules can be tweaked whenever needed by someone within your own organisation – no matter how many times they need to be changed.
3. Get in-depth reporting
As your cloud phone number works via the internet, it is a lot easier for your virtual phone system to provide reporting data on your calls. Duration, date, number called or whether or not it was a transfer – all of this information is easily available.
You can use call recordings for training purposes, check the call performance of your in-house sales team or an individual user, or keep a tab on how many calls are coming in to your customer support team.
Reporting for a traditional phone system can be accomplished. However, it will be priced as an add-on to your service or you will need to contract a third party to provide you with the capability rather than have it included with your phone system. There will also be limitations on the information that can be provided.
4. Keep your number when moving office
Unfortunately, if you are using traditional telephony and move office, you may not be able to bring your phone number with you. PSTN phone numbers still are, in many cases, tied to physical exchanges serving a specific area. Moving outside of this area could mean trouble if you wish to hold on to your number.
We still regularly encounter businesses experiencing this issue. Workarounds such as redirecting your number are costly for PSTN numbers, if possible at all. Of course not keeping your number causes numerous headaches.
For a start, your existing customers, partners and colleagues are familiar with your existing number, which will certainly lead to missed calls and inaccurate marketing collateral in the immediate period after moving.
If your phone number is cloud-based, it is assigned to your phone system account and not to specific geographic infrastructure. Essentially, moving office and keeping your phone number is a non-issue.
5. Cut your line rental
Line rental comes with the territory of using analogue telephony. In order for you to receive service, you need a physical line. Of course, if you need it, telecoms companies are going to charge you for it. The more phone numbers you require, the more physical lines you require. As a result, line rental can make up a substantial proportion of your bill.
With most VoIP telephony providers, all that is required for service is a broadband connection. As mentioned earlier, cloud services (including your phone number) work via internet and do not require physical exchanges and the phone lines that connect your office to them.
Your broadband connection will still most likely require you to pay line rental for that service. Apart from that, it’s unlikely you will need to pay for any other physical lines for your telecommunications, and this will help you reduce your bills.
Written by: Neil Doyle, Marketing Executive, Blueface – unified landline and mobile communications for a smarter business
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