Business communication is evolving. The usage of landlines—devices that offices couldn’t live without decades ago—is declining. More and more you encounter businesses using SMS texting, live chat, or AI chat bots to communicate with their customers.
Business work patterns are changing as well, more and more we find the following:
- Working remotely
- Communicating via multiple types of devices
- Using tools that allow for both internal and external collaboration
What does that mean for your business?
Simply adopting and using all these new technologies is not enough, these technologies need to fit your work patterns seamlessly.
What does this mean for the business communication software market ?
The future of business communication does not belong with traditional telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon. Communication is moving beyond these telecom giants towards the cloud. And, leaders in the business communication space—such as Google, Microsoft are eating up the demands of the modern workforce.
They’re increasingly mobile, distributed, and tech-empowered.
What Will Be Covered
In this article we’ll dive into an exclusive new study published by Nextiva, AA-ISP, and Poly which covers this monumental shift towards cloud communication.
Old copper wires are out, and cloud-based communication systems, such as Google, Microsoft and Nextiva are in.
Data from the survey proves it:
Business professionals are 2.5 times more likely to be using an office suite application for communicating with their customers. Tools like Microsoft 365 or G-Suite are more popular than traditional business phone providers, such as Avaya and Shoretel.
The study took place over the summer of 2019. It polled over 1,000 business professionals from a variety of industries.
First the Basics: What is Cloud VoIP?
Before we dive into the study, a quick review:
Cloud VoIP (voice over IP) systems work by using the internet to make calls. It’s also known as “hosted VoIP” or “hosted PBX” (Private Branch Exchange).
That’s because the equipment used to make a call is being hosted elsewhere. Your employees can have VoIP equipment in their place of work, such as:
- Hardware: Desk phones or wireless headsets
- Software: Smartphones or desktop computers with VoIP software
But the data center is outside of your office—usually by your cloud VoIP provider.
This cloud-stored data can be accessed at any time. You won’t need to call your landline provider and wait for them to fit (or maintain) your copper wires. Instead, you can sign into your online account and manage your business’ phone system.
Why Are Companies Ditching On-Premise Systems and Moving to the Cloud?
Businesses aren’t just switching to cloud phone systems because they’re cheaper to install.
Cloud communication tools are better suited for modern workforce work patterns.. Data from the State of Business Communications study report proves this.
Here are some of the main findings and how they relate to demise of traditional telecom giants when it comes to business communication:
38% of companies have a growing number of remote employees
There is a growing trend of companies hiring more and more remote employees. The study found that sales & support teams are making audio or video calls through a cloud communications platform because it’s simpler compared to a traditional voice line.
All you’ll need is a device that’s connected to the internet, and a compatible application. (For example, you can use a VoIP app on your smartphone to make calls using cloud VoIP technology.)
This is great for modern workforces which are remote.
Image credit: Nextiva
Distributed teams don’t really have the option to communicate with traditional desk phones, it doesn’t make sense. But cloud communication solves that problem.
With VoIP, remote workers just need internet access on their device to make calls. This gives them a quick and easy way to communicate—and make sure things get done.
88 percent of people use a mobile device at work at least once per week
Speaking of mobile devices, the majority of workers frequently use mobile devices for work.
Granted, they’re still using other technology (like their desktop) for work. But with mobile usage on the rise, cloud communication providers offer an easy way to communicate on the devices they’re turning to.
Providers, like Google and Microsoft, have compatible apps for several smartphones. So, no matter where your team is, you’ll still be able to catch them on their mobile phone.
59 percent of employees use three devices at work
There’s a barrage of new tools emerging every week.
Employees are overwhelmed with project management tools, emails, and SMS systems. Unsurprisingly, that’s tough to keep track of.
(This could be why 60 percent of business professionals face a crisis at least once a month. Or, why one-third of respondents have lost a customer. Communication issues are to blame for both disasters.)
However, a cloud VoIP system uses one space to log communication. You won’t need to use two platforms to call and text your customers. Your cloud VoIP system can handle both—cutting the need to pay for two softwares.
Top Cloud Communications Features & Advantages
Are you convinced to switch to cloud communication for your business?
A cloud communications service offers some features that copper landlines don’t. Below are some of the most important features you’ll want to look for:
1. Auto Attendant
An auto attendant answers incoming calls to your contact center. It’s also known as an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) or Digital Receptionist.
With this feature, you don’t need a real-life receptionist to man your phone line. Instead, you can automatically greet your customers. This pre-recorded message can:
- Tell them an estimated wait time
- Ask for the department they need to speak to
- Relay key information, such as opening hours
The majority of cloud communication packages include auto attendants. It’s the best way to improve customer experiences. That’s because it keeps your incoming caller updated, while routing their call to the most relevant person.
2. HD Voice Quality
Some businesses are worried that cloud VoIP systems aren’t as reliable as traditional landlines. Because data is submitted wirelessly, they’re more prone to low quality connections… Right?
Not necessarily. In fact, business VoIP providers offer HD voice quality.
Your connection can be twice the sound quality as traditional cellular calls. That means you’ll sound like you’re in the same room as your caller—even if you’re on opposite sides of the world.
The best part? This cloud communication feature has other use cases. For example, you can improve the accuracy of your transcripts.
Or, you could record your HD calls for internal training purposes. Say goodbye to muffled recordings, and hello to crystal clear audio files for your training departments to use.
3. Unified Communications
A Unified Communications package includes other communication tools alongside your phone system. (This is sometimes called UCaaS: Unified Communications as a Service.)
The extra devices are usually VoIP-powered, and can include:
- Conference calls
- Voice calls
The majority of cloud communication phone systems don’t come with this as standard. You’ll often need to pay extra for a UCaaS package. That’s because the extra devices—like fax machines and desk phones—requires a longer set-up.
VoIP desktop applications for voice calls, however, simply need a desktop or smartphone.
4. Voicemail to Email
Did you know sales reps spend just a third of their time selling? Repetitive tasks (like returning voicemails) all take up valuable time from their daily routine.
However, voicemail to email features can resolve that problem.
It does the name says on the tin: Your phone system records any voicemail messages that your incoming callers leave. Then, you’ll receive an audio file of the voicemail directly to your inbox.
This feature allows your sales team to spend their time more effectively. Why? Because you won’t need to use several devices to organize voicemails. You can use the device you’re already using to check emails (your PC), and return voicemails with the same device.
5. Instant Messaging (IM)
Chances are, you’re already using Instant Messaging features for your personal phone. The iPhone, for example, has an iMessage application. The iMessage app sends text-style messages over the internet, instead of through a cellular connection.
Some business cloud communications offer this feature. You can send instant messages to co-workers or employees through your internet connection.
Your internet connection is an ideal for enterprise communications — especially if you’ve got a remote team. Employees might not have a strong cellular connection at a remote location. But so long as they’ve got WiFi — you can send them a message.
The best part? Survey data shows that employees are more likely to text than chat by a 3:1 ratio. So, check whether your cloud communications service provider offers this feature.
Cloud Communication Will Never Be The Same
Data from the report proves that old copper wires are out. Businesses are leaning towards modern technology for collaboration.
To recap, here are some of the key stats from the report:
- 87% of people use a mobile phone to communicate at work at least once per week.
- 60% of people face a crisis at least once a month due to communication issues.
- 59% of people use at least three devices at work.
These stats are indicative of a new reality in business communication – one where the stakes of business communication are higher than ever.
The most notable takeaways:
- Unified cloud communication providers solve the top communication problems.
- Customers have higher expectations for business communications than ever.
- Communication is a differentiator now more than ever – an increasing number of customers are leaving businesses due to communications problems.
The best businesses will lean on new go-to communication channels such as text to communicate more effectively with customers and teammates. Moreover, they will empower remote teams with tools that let them communicate from their laptop, mobile device, or desk phone at-will. Finally, they will consult internally about the preferred communication channels that customers and employees like to use when interfacing with one another.
In lieu of these insights, it’s small wonder that cloud communications giants like Google and Microsoft are taking over the business voice industry. Expect that trend to continue, as more and more companies adapt to meet the needs of the market.