The market is filled with communications tools that bolster collaboration and make it easier for customers and prospects to reach you. Phone, text, chat, email, web collaboration tools, video conferencing, contact center apps, mobile phone apps, and software – you name it.
These tools are typically deployed disjointedly in many offices: instant messaging happens on a different platform than web collaboration, which happens on a different platform than phone calls. Email is off on its own planet. This leaves your office with a variety of platforms and communications tools that don’t work well together. Communiqués get lost, records are difficult to keep and IT has too many programs to manage.
To enhance communications, these tools need to be integrated into a system that allows easy flow of communication among devices and people. This is called unified communications (UC) or unified communications and collaboration (UCC).
UC offers a straight path for communication using a variety of channels so businesses can respond rapidly and decisively. Users can communicate quickly and effectively in whatever manner suits their situation, using the same platform. The access is streamlined and more efficient, offering more productivity, better customer service and cost savings.
9 ways unified communications benefits your organization
- Software integration. Merging your phone system with software like CRMs and databases simplifies calling and data collection. You’re tying organizational communications with core business processes, creating a solution that increases productivity and improves customer satisfaction.
- Built-in collaboration. Audio conferencing with the touch of a button, video conferencing, instant messaging with document sharing and desktop sharing act together to allow easier access and connection between employees. It also eliminates fees for third party applications.
- Calendar access. By integrating with Outlook and ICS calendars, your communications system can help you keep track of events, automate invitations and access your contacts for phone, chat and other communications tools.
- Instant messaging. Most organizations use IM through multiple unsecured and unmanaged programs. This is a primary mode of communications that connects co-workers regardless of geographical location. Managing IM with UC combines it with other communications channels on a secure channel.
- Specific call routing. The ability to intelligently forward calls using specific call routing rules that the user defines offers more flexibility in prioritizing and managing calls. Users can route specific calls to another staff member while sending other calls to voicemail or a mobile device. This surpasses standard call forwarding.
- Applications to cater to mobile workforces. Mobile apps convert any of your employee's devices to their desk phone with a couple of taps. This can work on most tablets, laptops, smartphones – even wearables. The apps offer a lot of features that help mobile staff easily stay connected, like single-tap conferencing.
- Flexibility for rapid transitions. Employees are on the move in many organizations. With UC you can quickly and easily change their phone from the admin controls. Extensions can even be temporarily reassigned, so when employees are visiting a remote office they can use any desk phone as their direct line.
- Better record keeping. Users can save instant messages, contact center recordings, and conference calls, with easy access archiving. These records help protect you and your employees and allow you to improve processes and customer service.
- Built in to your network. A UC system can be cloud-based, hosted on-site or a combination of the two. This gives you a lot of flexibility to manage the system, keep your overhead low and free up IT. It ties into your network however you want it to, seamlessly and securely.
Communication is at the center of every operation. It can enable your employees to work closely together or it can create roadblocks. It can enhance your customer service or be so cumbersome that customers are reluctant to reach out when they have a problem. UC takes down communication roadblocks and delivers features that make any organization more efficient and effective.
Milner is a leading independent provider of communications technologies. Our consultants can work with you to identify your communications needs and find the right solution for you. Contact us today.