Unified communications (UC) solutions have become a popular option for all businesses. The global market size for UC is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.5% from 2021 to 2028.
Communications silos can impact your organization’s internal and external relationships, your team’s productivity, and your overall revenue. As more businesses shift towards a remote or hybrid work environment, it’s more necessary than ever to have a robust communications platform that keeps your teams connected, no matter where they are.
VoIP service providers have upgraded to provide comprehensive UC solutions that consolidate all areas of business communications into a unified platform. Understanding the benefits of UC is the first step in deciding whether it’s right for your business and how it can help your teams stay productive and serve clients effectively.
What Is Unified Communication?
Unified communications refer to a business communications platform that integrates all the functionality of a modern business phone system (call routing, phone number forwarding, voicemail, and so on) with other communication channels like video conferencing and messaging.
That’s not all. UC also allows businesses to leverage advanced features like screen sharing, task management, file sharing, business app integrations, etc. UC solutions live in the cloud and can be accessed from any internet-connected device, whether a desktop computer or mobile phone.
Benefits of UC for Business Productivity and Revenue
1. Enhances communication
UC can help break down communication silos between departments by integrating multiple channels into a single platform. This means there’s no need to switch between different programs for messaging, calling, and video conferencing â€“ all your internal and external communications take place on the same app.
Your teams can connect with customers and each other while leveraging a range of advanced features and app integrations to streamline workflows and provide customers with the conversational support they need.
2. Streamlines collaboration
For many businesses, communication gaps result from siloed departments and human latency. This can affect business processes, impact customer relationships, and decrease your team’s overall productivity.
UC bridges any communication gaps and enables teams across departments to work together and collaborate on projects. So whether your sales and marketing team is planning a new social media marketing campaign or your HR department needs to share documents with employees, UC streamlines collaboration.
Along with regular business phone system capabilities, UC includes HD video conferencing, SMS, and instant messaging. The number of people who can access the platform depends on the size of your team, your budget, and the UC provider. If you genuinely want to make the most of UC for collaboration, look for a solution that offers features like screen sharing, whiteboard tools, and a range of business app integrations.
3. Improved scalability
Traditional business phone systems don’t provide the scalability that modern businesses need. If you needed to scale your customer support team, you’d need to install new phone lines and purchase new hardware.
UC is hosted in the cloud, meaning you can scale it to suit your needs. It’s simple to add or remove users, phone numbers, and business locations from its administrator portal. This gives you more control and flexibility without worrying about incurring costs or paying for a service you’re not currently using.
Most UC providers price their systems on a pay-as-you-go model. They’re affordable and provide small-to-medium-sized businesses with a range of features that were previously limited to enterprises. As the provider handles all system and feature updates, your UC platform will automatically be updated when new features become available, without resulting in downtime.
4. Added mobility
UC effectively empowers employees to work from anywhere. With UC, your team members will be assigned a virtual phone number that they can use with an IP desk phone, a softphone app, or on their mobile device.
With UC, employees can take work on the go with them, improvising productivity. For instance, if someone is sent on a work trip, they can still access the UC platform and get work done as long as they have an internet connection, removing the need for employees to be tied to the office.
Once the user is set up on the UC platform, they’ll be able to access their cloud phone system, make and receive video calls, send messages, share files, and much more from the device they prefer.
5. Access a range of integrations
Robust UC systems offer a range of integrations with your favorite business apps. This means your team doesn’t have to give up the tools that help them stay productive; you can simply integrate them with your communications platform so they can access them on a unified workspace.
If your team relies on task management software, CRM systems, productivity apps, or collaboration software â€“ you can connect them to your UC platform. This way, you can consolidate all your business data and communications in one place, so they don’t have to waste time toggling between apps, improving productivity, and streamlining workflows.
One of the most important things about a UC platform is integrating it with your business customer relationship management (CRM) system. This means all of your customer data is stored in a centralized location that can be accessed across multiple departments. This way, sales, marketing, customer service, and management teams can access customer data and interaction history whenever they need it, which is helpful for lead generation or mail retargeting.
Also, consider looking for UC services that integrate with partner relationship management (PRM) software. What is PRM in marketing? It refers to the combination of strategies and software marketing teams use to manage their partners.
6. Enables you to provide omnichannel customer service
According to Invespcro, companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain 89% of their customers. Consumers expect seamless customer service across multiple channels, including phone, email, live chat, and social media.
UC empowers your teams to provide omnichannel customer service with contact centers solutions that support voice, video, messaging, social media channels, and more. Customers can get in touch using the most convenient channel for them, so they won’t have to wait in long call queues or wait for email responses.
UC platforms also provide a range of advanced business phone features to help your team provide top-level customer support.
7. Cost savings
Compared to the costs associated with traditional phone systems, UC platforms are an affordable option for businesses of all sizes. By unifying your business communications needs, you won’t have to fork out multiple subscriptions from different vendors.
UC solutions are hosted in the cloud, which means you won’t have to pay for and maintain expensive hardware, as all of the UC benefits can be accessed on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Moreover, the UC provider takes all software updates and upgrades, so you won’t have to rely on an on-site IT team or deal with the operational downtime that updating an on-site phone system can incur.
8. Improve the overall customer experience
According to Forrester, improving the customer experience is the top priority for 72% of businesses. UC ensures customers can get the support and access to information they need at minor inconvenience. UC contact center systems are equipped with all the features you need to ensure a customer’s call is handled as effectively and efficiently as possible, including call forwarding, hold music, toll-free phone numbers, etc.
Another important UC phone system feature is automatic call distribution. What is ACD? It’s a telephony feature that automatically distributes calls to available agents, ensuring your customers don’t have to endure long wait times.
By combining all support channels into a single platform, agents can manage customer requests across multiple channels.
Moreover, a customer can start a support request on live chat or social media without repeating themselves if the call is escalated to a live agent â€“ as all the customer’s data and interaction history are automatically updated in the CRM. It also means agents can communicate via team messaging if they need help handling customer questions.
9. Empower the remote workforce
The remote workforce is rapidly growing and evolving. As more and more companies transition to remote and hybrid environments, there has been an increase in the deployment of UC platforms to keep them connected.
With a UC system, your remote workforce can connect and collaborate just like they do in the office. Video conferencing is an essential feature for remote collaboration, as it enables remote teams to meet face-to-face, just like they would in the office.
Unified communications help remote teams stay productive, allowing them to leverage features like team messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, and much more. Employees just need a stable internet connection and device to benefit from the powerful features of UC.
Upgrade your Business Communications with UC
The current state of IT yields plenty of promising opportunities for businesses. Unified communications are just the tip of the iceberg. As AI and machine learning become more accessible, UC platforms will likely become more intelligent, empowering businesses with more robust features and functionalities for even better communication and collaboration.