If you’re one of the many small businesses that are considering how cloud services can enhance your business, it’s worthwhile to compare cloud phone systems before making your final choice. Cloud-based phone systems are an accessible and affordable phone service option, so it’s no surprise that they’re becoming so popular.
When you compare cloud phone systems, you’ll notice that each comes with its own set of business-friendly features. When you opt to use them along with software integrations, you extend your capabilities even further.
Cloud-phone systems don’t depend on traditional phone system hardware or systems. Everything works directly from the cloud.
You can access cloud phone systems using your computer, smartphone or tablet simply by logging in. Cloud phone systems offer your business a wealth of benefits like these:
- Easy to use
- Easy to update
- Personalized extensions
- Call routing
- Unlimited calls on the same number
- Set up local, toll-free, and international numbers
Your business can access and store data in the cloud using a cloud phone system. Cloud phone systems serve to give your business many competitive advantages. They’re cost-effective, easy to use, and easy to update.
Finally, all cloud phone systems aren’t created equally. Therefore, a good approach is to assess your business’s needs. Compare them to what various cloud phone systems have to offer. Then consider best practices for comparing cloud phone systems before making your final choice.
Why Compare Cloud Phone Systems?
If you’re going to invest in a cloud-based phone system, you can probably think of a few cloud phone system features that you can’t live without. As you start making comparisons, you’ll probably discover a few more cloud phone system features that will enhance operations. Add these to your list of preferences.
Think about the types of features that will make it easier for your employees to service your customers. It’s helpful to build a list of necessary features when you start exploring cloud-based phone systems for your company. Make sure the features are ones that elevate business performance and help to provide a good customer experience.
One of the primary considerations you need to consider when doing a phone system comparison is whether you’ll be using it primarily for inbound or outbound calling. The features of cloud-based phone systems are designed for customer support and enhancing your sales operations. Your main goal is to compare each cloud phone system’s features. Make sure to see which functionalities most closely align with your needs.
Cloud-based phone systems have expanded their capabilities in recent years. The nice thing about that is that it gives you dozens of options to consider. The following information will help eliminate a lot of the challenges and confusion as you make your comparisons.
While cost is an obvious factor, it shouldn’t be the only factor. You’ll find that some phone systems cost more, but they have more features built right into the cost.
Many of the cloud-based phone systems allow you to use software integrations. These integrations should sync with your phone system. This capability gives you the ability to seamlessly use your technology stack from just your phone system. This ultimately streamlines specific business functions.
Questions to Ask to Compare Cloud Phone Solutions
A good way to pursue your cloud-phone comparison is to ask yourself the following questions:
- What functions does my business need and does the right system offer all of them?
- Which phone systems have features that I wasn’t considering, but my company would benefit by using them?
- Will the phone system support the number of employees that we have now or plan to have in the future?
- Is the system scalable in case my business needs change in the future?
- Do I only need basic features like caller ID and voicemail, or is it time to add some new features like ring groups, automated attendants, or on-hold music?
- How easy will it be to sync it with my CRM system or other software programs we’re already using?
- Is it time to consider how a more unified communication system will improve our sales or support functions? How will adding features like chat, video, text, etc. create efficiency and improve our workflows.
The Benefits of Cloud-Based Phones for Sales Teams
A cloud-phone system that includes the right features will prime your salespeople to be more productive and close a higher percentage of sales. Here’s what you can expect:
For salespeople that live on commission, time is money. Computer telephony integration, or CTI, makes it possible for your computer to interact with your phone system. With the right training, the more calls they make, the more sales they close. Some phone system features help salespeople make more calls, minimize the downtime between calls, access prospect data, and respond faster to inquiries. These are some of the features that can set your sales team ahead of the competition:
- Power dialer – Lets salespeople dial calls in rapid succession from a list on the computer.
- Click-to-dial – Dials calls quickly by clicking on an icon on the computer.
- Call recording – Preserves conversations to confirm details, monitor call quality, and assist with training salespeople.
- CRM integrations – Links phone system with CRM so customer sales data is accessible.
- Skill-based routing – Routes calls to salespeople with various types of expertise.
- Call tagging – Lets you assign customized labels to calls for improved workflow.
- Call whispering – Allows a teammate to listen in on a call and “whisper” advice.
- International numbers – Allows you to claim local and international phone numbers to build trust with customers in far-away locations.
- Call logging – Logs calls automatically and eliminates manual note-taking.
The call whispering function can help overcome issues with training needs. Automated responses and voicemail features may prevent lost sales due to missed calls.
The Benefits of Cloud-Based Phones for Support Teams
Getting the right features for your support staff allows them to provide a better customer experience and they inspire greater job satisfaction. Here’s how cloud phone features can enhance your customer support function:
- One-click setup – Lets you manage all integrations from the cloud phone dashboard.
- Set business phone hours – Automatically opens phone lines during your scheduled business hours.
- Integrates with CRM and helpdesk software – Provides a single source of data for calls.
- Warm transfer – Lets teammates have a quick conversation before transferring calls.
- Call routing – Lets you set rules for call routing and ring distribution.
- Mobile accessibility – Lets you respond via a mobile phone wherever you are.
- Call conferencing – Allows you to have several people on one call.
- Shared contacts – Create and share contacts with team members.
- Live feed – Allows managers to monitor call activity so they can set up call flows and coach new team members.
- Call whispering – Gives managers the ability to “whisper” advice to call team members.
The right cloud phone systems offer all the features and software integrations that are necessary for setting up successful cloud-based call centers and they work especially well for remote teams and distributed teams.
Cloud-Based Phones & Call Centers
Happy customers are loyal customers and loyal customers are your key to growth and prosperity. Your customers are your lifeline and your brand advocates. A call center that takes advantage of a cloud-based phone system and adds software integrations positions itself greatly to continue providing loyal customers with a positive customer experience.
Whether you use your business phones for sales or support, you can count on being able to increase efficiency and enjoy cost savings with impactful call center features. We live in a multiple-channel communication world. A cloud phone system and call center let you meet your customers on the same channels.
With a cloud-based phone system, you can take calls anywhere. The lack of physical hardware means your call center team members can also work from home or from any other location if you wish.
Cloud phone systems also make reporting, monitoring calls, and coaching much simpler.
With the availability of an open API, the options for software integration capabilities to enhance your cloud phone features are virtually endless.
10 Best Practices for Comparing Cloud Phone System(s)
Best practices will give you a concise view of what’s important in comparing cloud phone systems.
Aircall suggests you put the following 10 best practices at the top of your list:
- 1. Assess your company’s needs for cloud phone features and functions.
- 2. Compare the costs of cloud phone systems according to current and future needs.
- 3. Consider doing a trial period with the system.
- 4. Identify other companies that have had good success with the service.
- 5. Understand if you need to make an additional investment in equipment of any kind.
- 6. Determine if the system will accommodate the number of employees you need.
- 7. Learn who will help you if you encounter a problem with the system.
- 8. Ask if the quoted price is an introductory price.
- 9. It should be easy to set up and implement.
- 10. Look for a system that has fixed costs no matter how many calls you make.
Cloud-based phone systems have paved the way for small businesses to take advantage of a full-featured phone system without breaking the bank. Now, companies of any size can give the same great customer service as companies that have large budgets. A cloud-based phone system is truly a game-changer.
This article originally appeared by our friends at Aircall.