Any business that’s looking to optimize or digitize its phone system, will be familiar with the term ‘cloud telephony’. The pandemic reiterated the growing importance of cloud telephony and how it can help businesses run their telephony operations from anywhere in the world without any telephony hardware reliance.
In this article, we’re covering everything that businesses must know about cloud telephony and the key role it can play in the post-COVID era. In the process, you will also know how to make an informed decision before migrating from their traditional phone system. Whether you are setting up a new business or scaling your team to meet business objectives, you’ll find the answers to your most pressing questions about cloud telephony addressed below.
In this blog, we’ll talk about:
- What is cloud telephony?
- How is cloud telephony relevant in customer service?
- How did Covid change customer support for SMBs?
- Cloud telephony use-cases
What is cloud telephony?
Cloud telephony is a type of unified communication as a service (UCaaS) that enables users to conduct telephony operations using the Internet as the communication medium. It spares businesses from having to invest in telephony hardware and uses software applications as the gateway for telecommunication. The use of cloud-based applications for the same has led to the popularity of the term cloud telephony.
Cloud telephony is the blending of multiple communication channels. It is essentially internet-based communication using voice, email, chat, and video in an integrated fashion to reduce or eliminate information lag. The storage, applications, and switching are handled and hosted by a third party through the Cloud.
In the past, small businesses migrating their office space or scaling their team often met with concerns like —additional cost for installing new telephone lines, time delay in infrastructural setup, etc. But with cloud telephony, the dedicated service providers will take care of the cumbersome setup process.
Premise-based telephony hardware consisting of analog PBX boxes, telephony cables, desk phones, extension cords, etc. are collectively referred to as on-premise telephone systems. They can be regarded as the erstwhile generation of telephony systems that are being phased out and replaced by cloud telephony.
This table highlights the primary differences between both on-premise and cloud telephony.
|On-premise PBX||Cloud Telephony|
|IP routing connects businesses and customers using phone systems installed locally on the premises in an On-premise PBX system.||A cloud-hosted Personal Branch Exchange (PBX) system helps in making & receiving voice calls.|
|Businesses must purchase the hardware equipment and legacy software necessary to run their business phone system.||Businesses must purchase the hardware equipment and legacy software necessary to run their business phone system.
Businesses require a web browser and a working internet connection to run the contact center.
How did cloud telephony help during the pandemic?
The pandemic forced businesses that were extremely reliant on on-premise infrastructure to rethink their operational strategy. It required businesses to adopt digital solutions with haste to sustain operations and to continue serving customers who had new priorities.
The pandemic also increased the frequency of phone calls to customer support while it also reduced the patience that customers to stay on hold while they were connected to an agent. In other words, businesses required a whole new set of telephony tools and capabilities to survive the pandemic and also to sustain the relationship with customers. This is exactly what cloud telephony enabled them to do.
Let’s now see what customer communication challenges you can solve using cloud telephony solutions:
1. Call conferencing to bring together multiple stakeholders
When COVID changed the way offices could function and teams had to start working remotely, it became challenging to support customers seamlessly.
Call conferencing on a cloud-based system brings your entire team on a centralized platform from the comfort and safety of their homes. Team meetings, client calls,, and even town halls could be organized without needing to meet face to face.
2. Call recording to keep an eye on the quality of service
As COVID forced customers to stay at home, all customer communication was routed to channels that did not require in-person interaction – including phone support. However, with the increasing volume of tickets, it also became critical for businesses to take exhaustive call notes.
Businesses also often have a problem predicting and understanding the expectations of their prospects and customers. The call recording feature can also be used to revisit past calls and analyze trends in customer complaints. By identifying your customer’s pain points, agents are in a better position to solve customer queries and offer delightful support.
Cloud telephony solutions such as Freshdesk Contact Center allows agents to record calls with the caller’s permission and revisit these recordings to recollect crucial details.
3. Predictive dialer to ramp up outbound calling
A predictive dialer can help automate the process of outbound calling. It is used for making calls out of a contact list that is fed into the system. It spares the caller from having to dial repeatedly by instantly calling the next number from the list if the call doesn’t connect.
4. Interactive Voice Response system (IVR) for offering self-service
Interactive Voice Response system (IVR) is an automated telephony system that interacts with callers through prerecorded voice menus and instructions. It collects caller input in dial-pad presses and routes the call to submenus or available call center agents.
By doing this, your business can segment incoming calls and ensure that a caller’s query is solved in the least possible time.
If you are looking to revisit your customer experience, Freshdesk Contact Center’s speech-enabled IVR empowers your callers to converse or raise queries verbally instead of operating through key-press IVR menus, to connect with the right agent or team.
Read more about it here.
5. Multilingual Support for truly localized customer support
Businesses are increasingly becoming more global. Nevertheless, most organizations are not multilingual ready yet or have the means to support multiple languages. Any business that wants a global reach and a substantial market share of its target customers must create provisions to deliver customer support in native languages.
In the case of Freshdesk Contact Center, agents can self-select the language of their choice from the profile settings page. The primary language will be the default language in which your customers can see your support portal and the help widget.
The way forward: The role of cloud telephony in a post-pandemic world
The COVID 19 crisis forced businesses to shift to a work-from-home model. It has shown us the value of cloud solutions in a global emergency and why business continuity planning is crucial.
As millions retreat into isolation, an essential barometer of their customer experience will be how the businesses they depend upon, deliver experiences that satisfy their needs with empathy and concern.
However, due to complex challenges instigated by lockdowns and social distancing protocols, businesses have made notable advancements in utilizing cloud infrastructure to support their workflows and business applications for protected and reliable remote operations.
This shift has led to an extensive demand for quicker, more agile, and affordable cloud-based communication solutions. And it is not just the small and medium-sized enterprises that are going after cloud technology today. But, government bodies are increasingly utilizing cloud telephony services as part of their communication due to the cost-efficiency and versatility of cloud telephony to blend with other essential business applications.
1. An accelerator of digital transformation
Cloud telephony accelerates businesses to join the digital transformation. Cloud is one of the pillars of digital transformation and cloud telephony acts as an easy gateway for small, medium, and even large businesses to digitize their telephony operations. This digitization in turn has a dominos effect on other aspects of the operations resulting in an org-wide digital transformation. In short, cloud transformation could take the role of an accelerator of digital transformation i the post-pandemic world.
2. A virtual bridge for remote teams
As remote work has proven to be a feasible working model of almost all types and scales of organizations, recruiting has gone global. Enterprises are not restricting themselves to finding local talent but are willing to onboard talent from any corner of the globe. Thanks to cloud telephony, these remote teams made up of scattered team members will have a reliable bridge of telecommunications to stay connected.
3. A truly wireless telephony operations
While offices were locked and physical hardware beyond reach, individual users and businesses have gotten used to a wireless working mode. This is especially true for the phone-based customer support channel. The post-pandemic world will have truly wireless telephony operations commonplace. On-premise telephony solutions will slowly lose their sheen as businesses will see that there is no gain in incurring maintenance costs with minimal RoI.
4. Integrator of omnichannel customer service
Helpdesk. CRM. marketing platforms. Cloud telephony will enable businesses to integrate a host of other applications into their telephony operations seamlessly. It will act as an integrator of omnichannel customer service which unifies phone, email, chat, messaging, and all forms of communication under one roof, or dashboard in this case.
About Freshdesk Contact Center
Freshdesk Contact Center is a business phone service for customer support, sales, and remote working teams. With its cloud-based architecture, Freshdesk Contact Center 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 phone operations. Freshdesk Contact Center offers phone numbers in 90+ countries, requires zero phone hardware, and is extremely easy to use.
Visit the Freshdesk Contact Center website for more information.
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