Cloud communication holds the key to the future of business communication. Here is a primer on how it works and why it is the perfect fit for your business.
Providing top-notch customer support is one of the key markers of a successful business. And as the marketplace gets ever more crowded, customers are even more empowered to change their suppliers and simply go elsewhere in the face of poor service. Customer loyalty is fickle and is no longer something that remains for the long term.
That means businesses are under ever more pressure to provide a support service that matches up to those expectations. But as your business grows, and your business processes become ever more complex, how can you make sure that your customer support system makes providing that support easier, not harder?
Cloud communication is here to help.
To explain why, we’re going to dig into how cloud communication works, and why it might just be the way forward for your business. How it can help you provide a better customer experience, scale up your operations with ease, and operate in a smarter, reliable, and cost-effective way.
According to Frost & Sullivan, 38% of businesses say that they’re planning on making the move to cloud communication technology, and another 33% have switched to the cloud already.
So why exactly is cloud communication so popular? To understand, we’ll be looking at:
- How does cloud communication work?
- Why you should consider switching to cloud telephony for your business?
- How you can migrate from a on-premises to a cloud communication system?
Let’s get started.
How does cloud communication work?
Cloud communication encompasses a wide range of technologies that allow businesses to connect with customers and employees over the internet. To really understand what’s going on, we need to break it down a bit further.
The ‘cloud’ refers to cloud computing, which is a modern invention that takes advantage of the vast data processing power of an internet connection. Anything stored ‘on the cloud’ is actually located externally on a remote server system, which could be physically located in any number of places all over the world. The data stored in the server is accessed remotely for use wherever you might be.
In most cases, this data takes the form of files: images, documents, or videos stored for safekeeping, and for the user to access anywhere. However, it’s also possible for communication solutions to be hosted in this way, opening up the possibility for advanced software to be used and operated remotely. That means functionality can be taken advantage of without needing installation time or access to specific disks or hard drives.
For communication systems to be hosted in the cloud, they need to be in the form of a ‘softphone’. This means that the system is a piece of software connected over the internet, rather than consisting of a traditional ‘on-premise system of PBX boxes and PSTN connections.
A softphone allows for far more complex functionality than an old-fashioned ‘hardphone’, much of which comes in incredibly useful for providing better customer support.
As well as providing cost savings, easy scaling, and flexible remote access, there’s scope to integrate the likes of video conferencing, web chat, and instant messaging. Advanced integrations work directly with your Customer Resource Management (CRM) software, speeding up business communications and improving your customers’ experience.
To operate, these communication solutions take advantage primarily of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Along with associated technologies such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), VoIP allows calls to be transmitted over the internet, rather than over traditional copper cabling. This takes advantage of the far greater bandwidth available over a data connection, allowing for much larger call volumes, in-depth reporting, and better connectivity, as well as the advanced functions and integrations mentioned above.
Crucially, a cloud communications platform can be accessed anywhere with a simple internet connection, on any computer or mobile device. As a result, your telephony operations are no longer tied to your physical office or physical PBX hardware, and upgrades and scaling up are made a breeze, with maintenance also taken care of at the server end by your service provider.
So it’s no surprise that these flexible, portable, scalable, feature-rich unified communications are taking off in the world of customer support. They offer so much that traditional services simply cannot match, allowing your employees to provide an enhanced service experience from a simple computer terminal. By hosting phone systems in this way, it opens up wide-ranging possibilities in business communications.
Why should my business switch to cloud communication?
There’s a reason that the use of cloud communication systems is growing rapidly in popularity. The mobile VoIP market alone is predicted to hit an incredible USD 145.8 billion by 2024. This is hardly surprising considering the number of business challenges that cloud communications can help you address:
- Have you experienced a rapid rise in the number of employees working remotely or in new locations?
- Do you manage sudden increases and decreases in staffing levels, such as due to temporary workers or impressive growth rates?
- Are rigid pricing models leading to overinflated service charges from your provider, for common functions such as conference calling or instant messaging?
- Are your customers demanding ever more diverse ways of communicating with your business, such as over social media or real-time chat?
- Do you need to unify your communications and CRM systems, to deal with growth, customer demands, and remote workers, as well as to increase efficiency, productivity, and profitability?
If any of those sound familiar, cloud communication systems can make your business operations more efficient and more effective. Cutting costs, improving staff welfare, enhancing customer experiences, and boosting your bottom line.
How exactly can cloud communication help my business?
Businesses are turning to advanced communication systems for:
- An enhanced customer experience
The cloud helps your agents provide a better customer experience. By giving them the tools they need, agents can solve customers’ problems, answer their questions, and collaborate effectively when needed. A unified platform makes for an easy workflow, with all necessary information and customer records close at hand. Smart escalations and call monitoring also help agents resolve issues at the first point of contact, reducing call abandonment rates, and improving customer satisfaction levels.
- Quick and easy scalability for your contact center
In any business, it’s normal for demand to fluctuate, whether it’s your staffing levels or customer volumes. In a traditional communications system, everything is hard-wired, and so there’s little flexibility when that happens.
In a cloud-based operation, however, things can be scaled almost instantaneously. New phone, email, and instant messaging extensions can be added at the click of a button, with shared contact lists automatically updated. Flexible subscription packages allow you to adjust the call volumes in your allowance, so you can future-proof your contact center without paying for any more capacity than you need right now.
- Omnichannel support with communications channels added easily
Integrating your communications into one system is more important than ever, as customers make contact in an increasingly complex number of ways.
This also allows agents to move quickly and efficiently between channels, without needing to learn different platforms each with its own login and functionality.
- A global reach
Online systems allow business operations to work wherever in the world their staff is, as employees increasingly take advantage of remote working opportunities and our world becomes ever more inter-connected. Virtual phone numbers even allow you to base yourself in a wide range of countries, without needing to have a physical presence. Allowing your reach to become truly global.
- Increased reliability
Responsibility for up-time is handed over to your service provider, and redundancy is built in at the server end. That takes the pressure off, and you’ll no longer need to call in emergency site visits when your on-premise system suffers a problem.
- Greater control of costs
A cloud communication system is cost-effective since you do not need expensive hardware that needs constant maintenance and replacement. Also, with a cloud communication system, you can buy virtual phone numbers that will help you scale your telephony operations without any physical frontier.
- Intelligent contact routing
Responding effectively to inbound callers is a key part of good customer service. Intelligent routing offers vastly customizable rules, to divert customers based on team, time, or intent. Helping your employees deal with customers in a satisfying, quick, and efficient manner is a surefire way to increase your retention rates.
- Advanced reporting and analytics
Successful businesses are forged in the fine details, and cloud communications enable advanced reporting and analytics that track and measure workforce efficiency and the quality of your customer support. You can easily distill data into practical opportunities for improvement in the service you provide, as well as predicting customer behaviors and matching agent availability. All in all, this enables you to provide simpler, more seamless, and higher-quality customer service.
How can businesses migrate from on-premises to cloud communication
If you’re considering upgrading, moving from a traditional ‘on-premise’ system to a cloud communication platform, the process is much simpler than it may appear.
Landline phone systems use copper cables to connect handsets to an onsite Private Branch Exchange (PBX). This in turn connects via Primary Rate Interface (PRI) lines to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Providing a physical connection to the outside world from your office.
Migrating to the cloud can still utilize much of this infrastructure thanks to SIP trunking. A digital connection is made over the internet from your PBX to an online PSTN, eliminating the need for cabling and the maintenance expense that involves.
Alternatively, it’s possible to move your entire system to the cloud by installing a softphone system across your entire network. Your onsite PBX will no longer be required in this case, as all calls and infrastructure is hosted remotely on a cloud server. To access the system, all you’ll need is an internet-connected computer or mobile device, with an appropriate handset or headset on which to make the calls.
As digital-led systems, both of these solutions can be installed in mere moments, and employees can get started quickly and efficiently, making for a smooth and seamless transition.
Cloud communication: A surefire way to simplify your business communication
Cloud communication systems are the obvious next step for any business looking to simplify and enhance its customer support service. From the integrations it makes possible, to the cost savings and flexibility it provides, cloud-based systems stand head and shoulders above the functionality of a traditional system.
And with customers increasingly voting with their feet, businesses can’t afford to be anything less than the best when it comes to the support they provide.
Illustrations by Mahalakshmi Anantharaman
Freshcaller is a modern-day cloud phone system that can be used to set up a SaaS call center for customer support and sales. With its cloud-based architecture, Freshcaller brings together the best of legacy features like IVR and advanced call routing capabilities like Smart Escalations, Customizable Performance Reporting to help you set up state-of-the-art call center operations. Freshcaller offers phone numbers in 90+ countries, requires zero phone hardware, and is extremely easy to use.
Visit the Freshcaller website for more information.
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