The technology you use in the office should enhance your ability to do business. That’s what technology does! Yet, the same technology that helped you serve clients better just a short 5 or 10 years ago can just as easily hinder your staff’s ability to work as fast or effectively as you need them to, as your customers expect them to and, unfortunately, as some of your competitors already do today.
If you’re using an older business phone system, it could be slowing your company down in ways that aren’t always easy to see.
Phone systems like ShoreTel Connect ONSITE allow you to seamlessly integrate your communications systems with your business and customer applications. This integration shaves time off simple tasks like retrieving customer information, routing inbound callers to the right person, and placing full customer records on your employees’ screen as a new call connects. Features such as these can not only make your employees more productive, but also get the customer’s experience off to a great start.
Enriched Customer Service
When customers contact your business, what kind of experience are they getting? If you’re relying on older systems, they’re undoubtedly having a disconnected, frustrating experience.
With a basic phone system in place, it’s easy to assume that all is well as long as you have a dial tone. But today’s communications need to go beyond that. Are your customers often bounced from one representative to the next, hoping to find the right person to solve their problem? Do they end up repeating their issues to each new person who comes on the line, and face lengthy hold times while the new representative accesses their information all over again? This once state-of-the-art phone system is now inhibiting your ability to support customers in the manner to which they’ve become accustom, and that your competitors most likely provide.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you integrate your phone system with your CRM tool and communications tools, you can access professional contact center features that are natively integrated with your ShoreTel Connect ONSITE solution, delivering a better customer experience.
Enhanced Worker Productivity
As businesses like yours try to do more with fewer workers, it’s imperative to minimize disruptions and make the workflow more seamless.
With an older phone system, the work environment can be disruptive and confusing. Customers are easily routed to the wrong department, getting more frustrated as they repeat their information to multiple agents. Employees may have to switch between multiple screens or devices, or manually input or copy data to accomplish repetitive tasks. Seconds lost to those tasks add up to hours and days – even weeks – over the course of a full year.
A modern communications system like ShoreTel Connect ONSITE gives workers the ability to merge their phone into their applications. As a result, instead of navigating multiple windows, they can access the phone system features from within applications, like their CRM, using an intuitive interface.
If your business uses Skype for Business to manage video chats, instant messaging and desktop sharing, but it’s all separate from your phone system, a ShoreTel Connect ONSITE solution can merge those applications so that with the click of a button, you’re connected and using all the features of your phone system from within the Skype application.
When you leverage a business communications system that integrates with your applications, like ShoreTel Connect ONSITE, you provide a technology-enriched communications system that allows your workers to work better together and gives your customers a smooth, seamless experience.
Does your phone system create a positive customer experience? We can help. Contact us at (408) 385-3485.
If your business phone system works, you might think that’s really all that matters. But the thinking that all you need is a dial tone could be preventing your users from communicating effectively – internally and externally.
If you’re using a legacy PBX system, your phones aren’t meeting the evolving needs of your business. Unless you look closely at some of the costs of keeping a legacy system, you might not realize the hidden costs behind it. The costs of upkeep, the inability to provide the best customer experience and the lack of worker mobility can be very damaging to your business, in ways you don’t even see.
The reality is your phone system can – and should – be doing more for you.
Older, legacy phone systems are expensive to maintain and encounter a number of challenges with upkeep. Legacy software and servers require periodic updates or replacement that may no longer be available. In some cases, vendors have gone out of business, leaving customers with no real support for their systems.
A modern phone system, like ShoreTel Connect ONSITE, is easy to deploy and maintain, so you get a more affordable system based on a modern, agile solution.
Legacy phone systems tether users to their desks, offering limited options for a workforce that now can work from anywhere and from any device. Older phone systems such as these provide only the most basic forwarding options. Today’s modern workers – who can do their jobs from the office, remotely or on the road –expect to have tools that enable them to work in teams, collaborate, share content and communicate – all from a unified solution. They must be able to instant message, call, video chat and more from any device, anytime, without having to switch between multiple applications.
With ShoreTel Connect ONSITE, workers can call, chat, email or even video chat to connect with anyone, from any device. Connect ONSITE is a feature-rich IP telephony solution combined with an enterprise-grade collaboration suite that is easy to access via a simple modern interface.
Features like ringing multiple devices and find me/follow me are built in from the get go.
In older business models, employees worked predictable hours, from set locations, partly to make sure they were easier to get ahold of. A legacy system reinforces this model, leaving your business far less agile than your competitors.
Imagine the boost in productivity when you’re using ShoreTel Connect ONSITE, which lets employees turn virtually any endpoint into a fully-functioning phone system just like the one sitting on their desk. Features like softphone, remote number support and a fully featured mobile app allow users to access the company phone directory, make calls, use instant messaging and set up conference calls on their smartphone, PC or tablet, no matter their location.
Traditional phone systems lack security features like encryption, so your communications are more easily intercepted and easy to interpret.
For many organizations, this lack of encryption presents problems with government compliance or concerns about corporate espionage. In contrast, the ShoreTel Connect ONSITE solution offers encryption using TLS/sRTP. It has been tested and is protected against the newest vulnerabilities, as well as attacks designed for older systems.
If you’re among those companies still clinging to your current phone system because you need to retain administrative control and cloud is not an option for you yet, here’s some great news. A premises-based system like ShoreTel Connect ONSITE gives you everything that a modern cloud phone system offers and still lets you retain control while enabling modern communication and collaboration features for your business.
How well is your phone system really meeting your needs? We can help. Contact us at (408) 374-8727.
Your new marketing campaign was a huge success and your office is receiving the highest level of calls you’ve ever experienced in your growing business. Your staff is taking live calls, checking voicemail and returning customer inquiries as fast as they can.
Can you imagine the impact if your phone system goes down mid-morning – at the peak of the call volume?
Who knows why disaster strikes?
It could be a clumsy utility worker, a lightening storm or some other unpredictable problem. Phone system issues are a reality with traditional telecommunications systems and can create enormous business headaches for you.
If your business hasn’t planned for adversity with a disaster or redundancy plan, those kinds of communication failures can significantly disrupt your business from, well, doing business.
What is your communication continuity plan?
In the past, developing a disaster recovery plan meant that your IT staff would need to re-engineer your business phone system so it could be recovered successfully. If you’re a growing business, you likely don’t have that kind of unlimited resources for equipment and infrastructure.
This is where cloud communication can help.
Cloud phone systems have greatly advanced system recovery and business continuity in the face of an outage. They’re hosted virtually, so there’s no need to worry about the types of disastrous scenarios that used to disrupt on-premise or landline phone services.
If a phone line is cut, cloud-based systems are totally unaffected. If Internet service goes down, phone calls can be re-routed to backup cell phone numbers or other business offices.
3 Essential Business Benefits of Switching to the Cloud
As you think about a continuity plan for your phone system, there are several important benefits to the cloud that you want to consider.
Simply put, recovery and continuity is a non-issue.
With these benefits in mind, the question, then, is why you wouldn’t switch to the cloud?
What if you were challenged by your CEO to hire a significant number of new employees within the next 6 months? He would want you to find the right talent that will do the jobs exceptionally well and meet the demands of your growing business.
As a senior manager, you know that finding employees with the right stuff will require you to look outside of your current office locations. Your goal is to find the right people – location is no longer critical. And, you need to remain close to the new team with fewer layers and more attentive communication.
Of course each new employee will have a personal smartphone they can use remotely, but you know that business calls are better conducted on a private line that provides more reliable call quality.
You need your team to be efficient and professional as quickly as possible.
How will you ensure you have a phone system for the new remote employees that will enable them to be productive right away? You know your current on-premise phone system may limit the efficiency and capabilities of your off-site staff.
On-Premise Phone Systems May Limit Remote Employees
Generally, the benefits of on-premise phone systems are about reliability, caller identification, and voicemail functionality. Businesses that have onsite systems want to maintain control of their technology, have concerns about data privacy and often have international locations.
Modern cloud phones systems, on the other hand, allow employees (including remote workers) to:
Is a Cloud Phone System the Solution?
With cloud-based VoIP technology, you no longer have to deal with these challenges. Onboarding a new remote employee is as simple as purchasing a phone, connecting it to the Internet and downloading some software.
Gone are the added setup, management, maintenance costs and headaches. Your employees have immediate access to the exact same functionality as your on-site employees. And perhaps best of all, cloud phone providers ensure your phone system is constantly upgraded and protected. All these changes provide your company improved uptime, call reliability and customer experience.
In a word, a cloud-based phone system just makes things simpler.
If you’re looking for a more effective way to sync remote workers to your company’s network, then you may want to consider moving to the cloud. Your remote employees — and their customers — will thank you for it.
If you’d like to examine cloud phone system options for your company, contact us and let’s determine what makes the most sense for your company’s situation.
If you make money using the phone, then your phone system needs to be a business enabler, not an inhibiter. It needs to differentiate your business from your competition. Your prospects must be able to reach you in a timely manner. Your customers need to find you wherever you are, at the front desk, in a meeting or outside the office. In short, your phone system needs to work for you, not against you.
Your business communications system needs to ensure you have the best tools that will help you do a better job with your customer…today and tomorrow. Below are two ways an onsite phone system can improve the customer experience by improving flexibility and enhancing reachability.
Improving flexibility through work groups
When a customer or prospect calls your company and the phone rings endlessly without being picked up, or it goes to a general voicemail box, they may question how capable your business is. Since today’s customers have higher expectations than ever before, you want to give the impression to current and potential customers that you can serve them the way they want to be served, regardless of whether your employees are in the office or working remotely.
A ShoreTel Connect ONSITE phone system allows you to improve your business’s flexibility by routing calls using the power of work groups. Here’s how:
Work groups can be created to respond to what’s happening in your business. For example, you might have a new advertising campaign and you need more people ready to answer the phone. Perhaps there are changing weather conditions and you need to re-route how support is handled. Or you want to better enable how calls are routed to a call center team and establish a top-down or longest idle calling pattern so your best salesperson or available call center consultant gets the next call. You may even have a business that requires seasonal considerations like greetings or auto attendance during high call volumes.
Using work groups gives you speed and flexibility in how you organize your employees and respond to your customers, allowing you to deliver a consistent level of service no matter the dynamics taking place in your business.
Enhancing Reachability for Mobile Employees
Today’s business reality is such that if you aren’t reachable and you aren’t set up to respond to your customers, then your customers will go elsewhere.
Reachability is how easy it is for a customer or prospect to locate you or your team. It’s not just how long it takes to reach them, but how easily a customer can access them. Employees are no longer tied to an office or a desk phone. You need to make sure your staff has a mobile office with them.
A ShoreTel Connect ONSITE phone system can help your employees be more reachable by allowing your phone to find you or key staff members wherever they are.
ShoreTel Connect ONSITE gives you the ability to use external assignment rules that have phones ring wherever an employee is – whether that’s in a meeting, traveling or at a client site. It can even mean having several phones ring at the same time, say, your desk and cell phone ringing simultaneously.
World-class phone systems using unified communications allow you to implement tools making you and your team more accessible through Microsoft Outlook integration, and desktop sharing and mobility features like find me/follow me. These basic communication and collaboration tools are a must in today’s business environment and critical for future business success.
Such capabilities enable your staff to be reachable no matter where employees are located or what type of technology may come next. That’s a differentiator your customers will appreciate.
Creating a Better Customer Experience
You pride yourself on how you serve your customers. If your current phone system isn’t helping you be flexible and reachable, then it might be inhibiting your business – not enabling it.
It’s time to consider how your business communications can help you even better serve your customers…now and in the future.
If you’d like to evaluate how your phone system can be a business enabler by implementing ShoreTel Connect ONSITE, email us at email@example.com or give us a call at (408) 374-8727.
Remember the days when the only way you could empower your team to collaborate was in face-to-face meetings that required time and travel that were planned far in advance? That brings up not-so-fond memories of securing landlines, delayed flights, flip charts, windowless meeting rooms and maybe even slide projectors!
Of course in today’s business world, this is an outdated and impractical proposition. You and your team are mobile, on demand. Your mobility requires today’s flexible business communication tools that enable quick teamwork to solve business problems.
But how do you create collaboration when you and your staff may be located all over the state, or even the country?
Communication Tools that Drive Collaboration
It all depends on the tools you are using to gather team members together to share information, plan and innovate.
Many businesses lack the communication equipment their teams need to work together effectively.
In today’s business world, your employees access information from their desks, laptops, cell phones and a variety of other devices and locations. To share that information they use email or separate web applications that require additional steps to use. Even with web conferencing, the personal cell phones that remote employees rely on may not be connected to the company’s main phone system to join a conversation.
Unfortunately, your current phone system may be creating limitations for you and your team. It’s drastically more difficult for remote employees to access company systems for conferencing and voicemail with personal landlines and cell phones. And since it doesn’t make business sense to fund frequent company meetings, you need another way to encourage employees to work together whenever and wherever they need.
Thankfully, there’s a relatively simple way to solve that problem: Implementing a company-owned communication system that’s flexible, mobile, and collaborative.
Enable Mobile Employees with Functional and Professional Tools
A unified communication system encourages collaboration. Team members receive company calls, access corporate voicemail, and setup virtual conferences from a basic Internet connection.
It’s one click to start a meeting or share a document. No more separate emails, links and phone numbers. It just happens in the flow of the conversation.
Traditional phone systems, on the other hand, often hinder collaboration because of their limited mobile capability. This results in lost money, lost productivity and lost opportunities. To top it off, you may be paying more in the form of multiple carriers and disparate systems.
Cloud communication systems give you a continuous connection to your partners, co-workers, customers and suppliers from almost any location your employees are working. Your teams can collaborate as easily from the road as they can from the office.
Forget about fragmented conference calls and impersonal emails. In today’s business environment, it just makes sense to bring teams together using cloud technology.
Business competition in today’s economy is fierce. Your customers expect the highest level of care, and you and your staff need to be reachable, professional and customer-focused at all times – no matter where you’re working.
If that’s your business model, is your phone system supporting you and your employees like you need to support your customers?
Use this checklist to evaluate if your business communications gives your customers the experience they expect from their chosen providers. Any items checked off may signal that you could be getting more out of your phone system.
Reachability and Professionalism
1. Customers can access your sales staff anytime and anywhere, with mobile capabilities that direct incoming office calls to be received on your sales staff’s mobile phones.
2. Outbound calls look professional, coming from the main company number, even when your employees are using their smartphones or other mobile devices.
3. Customer focus is enhanced by [Begin hyperlink to blog post 1] integrating your Outlook and CRM tools [End hyperlink to blog post 1] with your phone system to track conversation history with your client.
4. Employee productivity is increased by merging call records with customer records to improve sales trending projections and staffing optimization.
5. Employees can bring their own device and integrate it with your phone network.
6. Teamwork is made easy with voice and video calling, instant messaging and desktop sharing.
7. Employees feel secure that voice and data are safe, even in public hot spots.
8. Ongoing administration, such as adding a new employee, is easy vs. labor intensive.
9. Local support is available to train your staff to use features that improve the customer experience.
10. You have the option of outsourcing your phone system management to an experienced
How did you do? Depending on your responses, here are some things to think about:
You want your employees to function effectively while improving company productivity and increasing customer satisfaction. Your phone system should help you do all that – and boost your competitive advantage. Find out how a ShoreTel Connect ONSITE business communications system can get you there.
If you’d like to discuss your phone system’s capabilities and see what’s possible for your business, give us a call at 408-374-8727.
In the 21st century, work is no longer a place you go, but a thing you do. That’s the nature of the changing work place. And your phone system needs to work with you – in multiple locations, with a mobile and growing staff, and a customer that demands high quality communications. You do more. Your phone system needs to support you, not hinder you.
As your business changes and grows, you’re likely hiring employees that will work remotely and flexibly. You may have sales people who telecommute, consultants who are in the field or staff who work in remote offices. You might be hiring millennials that expect to work with greater flexibility. You are creating your workplace to meet the changing demands of your employees and your customers.
In fact, there are some estimates that up to half of workforces will be working outside of traditional offices by 2020. And, if you’re trying to attract millennials to your staff, flexibility is key to them wanting to work for you.
Will Your Current Phone System Support this Changing Work Environment?
Today’s organizations must find ways to empower all of their employees to work effectively and efficiently from any location at any time. Thankfully, cloud technology is making this kind of flexibility a reality — allowing employees to access virtually any file, application, network, or communication service from any place with a secure Internet connection.
With a cloud phone system, you can hire staff wherever and whenever you need them, and ensure they will be able to connect consistently and professionally.
Meet Your Employees Where They Are
Cloud phone systems allow team members to receive company calls, access corporate voicemail, and setup virtual conferences from a basic Internet connection. When employees step out of the office, calls can be forwarded and certain features can be accessed from their cell phone.
Traditional phone systems, on the other hand, often hinder remote workers’ communication effectiveness because of their limited mobile capabilities.
This often results in lost money, lost productivity, and big headaches. Even worse, businesses often pay more for traditional phone systems in the form of equipment maintenance and outages.
Unified communication systems create an overall user experience that makes people feel like an effective part of the team, wherever they are. At the end of the day, that’s good for your team, your company, and, most importantly, your customers.
If you want to unify your communications system with your business, employees and customers, then it might be time to consider making a change to the cloud.
With so many phone system options to pick from, it’s difficult to know which one will fully support your business. But you do know one thing: your current phone system no longer meets your company’s changing needs. So you do what any smart business person does – you conduct a thorough assessment of your options. You quickly learn that what you need is a unified communications system that will integrate with your current business applications at a reasonable cost. Most importantly, you want to control how you use, manage and pay for the phone system over the long term while building for the future and enabling an easy migration to the cloud as your business evolves.
If this scenario applies to you, it’s time to consider a unified communications system that gives you total control in three critical ways:
1. Control Over Custody
Is ownership your preference? If you have a certain comfort level when the assets you buy are sitting under your roof, an onsite phone system will give you complete custody of the equipment. Simply put, you own it. This type of investment creates a future benefit for your business by reducing long-term system costs while increasing the book value of your company. The financial decision of leasing, renting or buying is up to you. A ShoreTel Connect ONSITE system gives you investment protection while laying the foundation for a later migration to the cloud. You decide how you spend money on care, maintenance and growth, helping control costs in a way that makes sense for your business. That’s brilliantly simple.
2. Control Over Care
If you like the idea of being able to control how and when you complete a phone system upgrade, and who administers changes to your phone system, then a ShoreTel Connect ONSITE phone system may be right for your business. An onsite solution gives you physical control of your phone system. You have the ability to determine when you want to make system changes and upgrades. It also gives you the ability to have a non-technical person manage moves, adds and changes as you need them. The system’s flexibility gives the administrator access from anywhere, meaning it’s a single image administration, no matter how many sites or locations you have.
3. Control Over Administration
The ease of administration with a ShoreTel Connect ONSITE phone system means it will work with the business applications you already own and enable future growth. Applications you have purchased, developed or customized, like Microsoft Outlook, Skype for Business, Salesforce and other CRM solutions, easily integrate with a ShoreTel Connect ONSITE system. This gives you a unified communications strategy for the short and long term. The best part? You get to keep what you’ve already built and connect it with a phone system that adds additional business communications and collaboration capabilities, giving you more control without affecting your users’ productivity or your customers’ experience.
Determining What’s Right for Your Business
Many companies want to move to the cloud. Just as many companies want to maintain control of the assets they own. As you consider your phone system options, think about how an onsite phone system will give you the control you require in your business today, integrate to applications you’ve already customized and manage how you pay for the system. ShoreTel Connect ONSITE might be the best solution for your business giving you control today and a unified communications phone system for tomorrow.
How well is your current phone system really meeting your needs? Let’s find out. Call us today at 408-374-8727 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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