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29/05/2020

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Look Professional or Act like an Amateur? Shifting the customer experience through Cloud Telephony

First impressions can last a lifetime.  If that first customer exchange goes well then it could be the start of a beautiful and prosperous relationship.  If it goes poorly, then your reputation may never recover in that customer’s eyes. All the time, money and energy invested in your brand can be rapidly undermined when customers don’t get the experience they were expecting.

This guide examines the importance of providing a professional telephony experience to your customers; protecting your brand through a progressive choice of cloud telephony solution with advanced features that come as standard to ward off the risks of appearing amateurish.

Counting the cost of a missed call

Nothing causes customer irritation quite like a blatant lack of joined-up communications.  Getting through on the phone is rarely the problem, but rather the delay and confusion that becomes all too evident as individuals wait for the necessary information or approval from someone they can’t reach.

In recent weeks, I have tried to phone three companies to enquire about their service and each time there has been no answer. Potential business lost as a result of a phone system not working as it should do!

The reliability and quality of your phone system is crucial to ensuring a high standard of experience for both your users and customers, and that includes the ability to reach key people wherever they are, on whichever device.  You need to be sure that the system you use consistently performs, both within the office environment and for remote users.

An Ombudsmen Services study in 2016 put the cost of poor customer service in the UK at a staggering £37bn a year, with 79% of people avoiding brands that they’ve received poor service from in the past.  An earlier study by NewVoiceMedia listed the following in its top 5 customer frustrations:

  • Being passed around multiple agents (32%)
  • Staff’s lack of the knowledge required to answer a query (29%)
  • Being kept on hold (25%)

Your phone system needs to be able to support dynamic working practices and collaboration through mobility solutions.  This makes each user significantly more accessible to customers and colleagues through a single phone number, irrespective of device or communications method.  Moreover, each user – wherever they are – can use the full scope of business phone system capabilities such as conferencing, messaging etc. This is even more important than ever as we move into the post COVID 19 period.

Look for a cloud telephone system that has been developed with quality of experience in mind, and can deliver superb voice quality regardless of location or device.  It should also deliver outstanding availability, and be guaranteed and certified for security.

Improve sales performance with always-on business communications

Everybody knows that customer service delivery has a direct impact on sales.  Improving communications systems enables larger sales volumes to be processed at greater efficiency, while enhanced satisfaction rates and NPS (Net Promoter Score) levels reduce customer churn and increase average revenue per contact.

Objectives for using better business communications to increase sales performance include:

  • Increasing speed of customer response to elicit more valuable initial customer engagements and build long-term loyalty
  • Providing easier access to appropriate knowledge across the organisation so that customers receive a more personalised service experience
  • Integrating communications with key customer/sales data and back-end business processes to boost efficiency

Speed of response

Cloud telephony supports a business contact centre function with high-quality voice and a range of out-of-the-box capabilities from queue management to contact centre reporting and call recording.

Cloud telephony also enables contact centres to become virtual entities, unrestricted by geographical location and 9-5 hours.  Agents benefit from easy-to-use softphone clients that extend the traditional desk phone telephony experience to PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. All this, combined with true fixed-mobile convergence, enables the ongoing availability of inbound and outbound sales agents in the event of serious problem with core IT infrastructure caused by flood, fire or similar. Or in the case of a global pandemic.

Access to knowledge and service personalisation

Cloud telephony features such as skills-based routing help organisations of all sizes provide fast customer access to appropriate knowledge holders.  CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) with CRM systems further supports the objective of assuring a personalised service, matching calls with customer records so that agents save valuable time dealing with important customer queries.

With cloud telephony, these and other service capabilities are future-proofed to stay relevant to changing technology preferences as part of a consistent multi-platform experience. This leads to better sales performance and increased customer retention, not to mention happier staff users who are less frustrated with their communications tools.

Integrating other applications, data and processes

The in-built integration of telephony with other business applications is a significant driver for the adoption of cloud telephony solutions, bringing scalability, flexibility, efficiency and speed benefits.  This gives a huge competitive advantage to organisations that would otherwise find it difficult to keep pace with digital evolution because of prohibitive cost and lack of skills.

How cloud telephony improves customer communications 

Cloud telephony can play a vital role in customer service strategies, impacting both revenues and costs.

On the revenue side are the increased opportunities arising from more satisfied and engaged customers, leading to repeat business and positive referrals.  There is also plenty of evidence that good business communication leads to higher conversion of prospects into new customers.

As far as costs are concerned, cloud telephony delivers a wide variety of substantial efficiency gains and reduced waste.  Increased productivity, greater staff retention, reduced travel costs and other overheads are just some of the examples.

In summary, cloud telephony improves business prosperity by:

  • Empowering customers with faster, more reliable, high quality voice access to key knowledge holders within the organisation.
  • Increasing competitive advantage over rivals with inferior communications systems.
  • Instituting long-term efficiency gains and productivity enhancements that streamline business processes.
  • Reducing the burden on internal technical and customer-facing resources.
  • Boosting customer service metrics and encouraging more positive customer experiences.
  • Satisfying internal user requirements for intuitive, powerful, flexible phone system capabilities that enable them to serve customers better from wherever they are, feeling more valued and less likely to leave the organisation.
  • Being more able to address compliance requirements around call recording.
  • Standing ready to embrace change with a future-proofed communications platform, automatically updated free-of-charge to take advantage of new features and capabilities.

The Cloud Reliability Misconception

When considering cloud solutions, some business and IT leaders may still encounter outdated perceptions around performance reliability that infer a diminished ability to serve and communicate with customers.

In fact, most cloud solutions are even more reliable and have higher security standards than traditional telephony because of these misconceptions.  In addition to guaranteed reliability and availability even during power failures, cutting-edge transmission protocols ensure interception-free transmission of communications.

Loss or degradation of communications service is a risk that all organisations face, and that plays a significant role in the choice of telephony solutions.  Despite their market size, traditional telecom carriers are far from being immune to service interruptions that can unexpectedly knock out the communications of large enterprise customers for hours or even days at a time.  But cloud telephony adopters don’t just expect the same level of continuity and resilience from their provider; they expect even better.

Cloud-based telephone systems are extremely reliable and fail-safe.  And since solution providers understand that the highest voice quality and reliability are among the most important considerations for many customers, constant availability even during power failure has been built into cloud solutions by design.

Today, cloud-based telephone systems like Eve are extremely reliable and offer HD voice quality that often exceeds that of conventional telephone systems.

How secure is cloud telephony?

Another consideration for modern business communications is the question of data security.  To fully trust their cloud provider, organisations can seek transparent information concerning the technical, organisational and above all legal terms and conditions, including security of information.

Cloud telephony systems are located in data processing centres where there high protection against failure.  This is because cloud providers provide extra backup measures and are typically subject to very high technical and organisational safety standards, and will be both ISO 27001 and SAS 70 Type II certified.  Such safeguards are far beyond the budget of small and medium-sized businesses (and many large organisations) who are, accordingly, significantly less able to guarantee the high availability and security of data, including external mobile access, within their own data processing centres.

EVE delivers superb voice quality regardless of location or device, and is failure resistant due to the use of fully-redundant servers, delivering greater than 99.9% availability and certified for security. The system is hosted exclusively in high performance data centres in the UK uses direct high-speed resilient connections to the BT network.

Your Telephony questions answered

Will this cost me more than my previous system?

Hosted VOIP solutions such as the CIS Eve Platform tend to be lower than standard telephone systems and include 5000 minutes of calls per month, so a fixed monthly fee is easy to compare with what you are currently paying.

How easy is it to implement a system like this?

Very easy and we take care of all of the work for you at CIS. Once the portal has been set up we can configure the call routing, hunt groups (press 1 for sales etc) as required and adapt them to provide the right process to fit you and your clients. You can be set up within hours and with our training and support, your team can be equipped to use the systems quickly as well.

What downtime will there be if I make a change like this?

We know the importance of customers or potential customers being able to call you and so we work to limit any downtime that could occur. To give you confidence and assurance, CIS can manage the cross over during a quiet period so ensuring you don’t miss one call.

Will we lose connection if we have poor internet coverage?

The amount of data that a VoIP system uses is minimal and so it would depend

on number of live calls at one time. You do need good internet coverage to make calls but no more than what you would need for standard working. As part of our work to understand you, CIS will look to review the broadband and connectivity you have and we can provide some suggestions for how this can be improved.

How does a system like this interact with tools like Teams and Zoom?

Those systems are great, but they are not phone systems for customers to ring in on and for you to use to transfer customers between different teams in different locations. A system like Eve does have its own collaboration facility which you can use if required.

Will it work on home broadband?

Yes absolutely. It is perfect for home and remote office setups

Does it work on all mobiles?

Yes, there is an app that is provided for both IOS and Android devices.

What happens if I am abroad?

The beauty of a VOIP solution is that you can continue using the VoIP solution through your laptop or Mobile app as long as you have a wifi connection. With internet, you are connected anywhere and your customers will not notice any difference

Can I use it when I’m hands free?

Yes, you can, its designed to be perfectly mobile whatever you are doing

Can I block premium numbers?

Yes, you can block use of premium numbers being used, including international calls, and directory services – this is set on a person by person basis.

Can I have call recording, how long are they stored for?

Yes, call recording is included and although the default is 30 days, you can extend

this to 6 months, 1 Year or 7 Years. If for compliance reasons you need to keep calls for a longer period of time, that option is available to you.

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Put simply, it refers to making phone calls that are made through the internet, rather than through a regular landline or a mobile network.

 

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