The most successful and profitable technology installations, I think we’d all agree, are the ones where the customers have loved and understood the tech. Not only are the customers happier with their new devices (and happy customers are their own reward), but they make fewer support calls after the installation.
Unfortunately, it seems like some modern technologies, such as phone systems, have become unnecessarily complex in the quest for universal adaptability or singular focus on just the hardware or software. This means that a user may encounter duplicate or non-complementary features when attempting simple tasks like transferring calls, finding a contact or programming numbers, leading to frustrated service calls to their support provider.
This is what frequently happens when phone systems are “dis-integrated”: the critical components are designed to work together with generic phones made by one manufacturer, and the platform and mobile app made by another. You end up with feature duplication and incompatibilities that take what should be basic functionality and turn it into a major waste of time for customers and a support headache for service providers.
In one example, you may end up with mobile apps that are filled with features that don’t make sense for a mobile device. Often mobile applications are designed like the desk phone, yet in a mobile interface that becomes complicated and unfamiliar. In another example, the information on the desk phone, like Do Not Disturb, Presence or Visual Voicemail functionality is not automatically synchronized with the other solution components.
These little inconveniences can cause support calls that are nearly impossible to resolve. In many cases, they may be due to system upgrades by one provider that make certain features on the phone incompatible with the cloud PBX until the next update comes out. Of course, in the meantime, you’re getting flooded with calls where you have to tell the customers repeatedly, “I’m sorry, but there is nothing I can do until the company releases an update for their phones.” In reality, you know who they are going to blame.
Benefits of True Unity in a Cloud-based Phone Solution
What is the key to making the office phone a productivity tool again? The answer is proper integration and true unity of all components. When all components (the phone, mobile app, and cloud PBX platform) are engineered by one provider to work together, you end up with a fully integrated communication system—one that provides a seamless user experience with ease of use and simple management.
Better integration: Integrating a business’ communications with its applications for business process and workflows can improve efficiency. Having a cloud-based system can also integrate powerful features like CRM, instant messaging, email and voice, providing constant business presence that increases productivity.
Greater scalability: Your customers need their phone systems to scale to meet demand. Having an integrated interface will allow them to do so easily and reduce the number of support calls for basic administration.
Better customer service: Using a cloud-based virtual receptionist or automated attendant, your customer can easily redirect calls to various departments and change greetings. With the holidays approaching, this would allow each of them to set up their holiday greeting and then have it revert back to a regular greeting at the proper date. This will ensure any phone calls are handled properly.
Why In-house Manufacturing Makes a Difference
Improved quality control: One of the benefits of having a fully integrated cloud-based phone system manufactured in-house is that it gives the manufacturer more quality control over the entire production process. The different components can be tested in-house to verify each component integrates properly. There is never a concern about one outsourced provider upgrading a component that suddenly makes it incompatible with the rest of the system.
Fewer support calls: Better integration between the phone, mobile app, and cloud PBX platform requires less support time and creates more efficient workflows. When the phone, the mobile app, and the cloud PBX platform are all manufactured by one company it is more reliable than compiling a group of components from different companies. This also allows greater customization that can be fully tested before being sent out to the customer.
Our job as service providers is to provide technology that our customers love and that is simple and intuitive to use, which also reduces the number of support calls received. A system that is easy to use and understand leads to fewer calls to support and a better customer experience overall.
George Platt is chief executive officer and president of Estech Systems, Inc. (ESI). Platt has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. During his 11-year career at Intervoice, Platt gained extensive experience in reseller channel distribution and VAR development. In his last position at Intervoice, Platt was Senior Vice President of Global Channels and Sales Operations. Immediately before joining ESI, Platt served as Executive Vice President of WS iNet, a call center hosting company. Platt joined ESI in 2011 as President/Chief Operating Officer, and was promoted in 2014 to his current position.