The customer benefits of cloud telephony
“Cloud-first strategies are the foundation for staying relevant in a fast-paced world.” So says Gartner, who predicts that more than $1 trillion in IT spending over the next five years will be affected by the shift to the cloud. So what does this mean for one of the most fundamental components of business operations – the telephone system? Well, these are exciting times.
Let’s deal with a common retort: “A telephone is a telephone. Why do I need cloud telephony?” It’s all about the customer experience. It’s a widely-held view that customer experience is now the ‘new marketing’. In a multichannel world, how we interact with our customers across all touchpoints has a major influence on their willingness to conduct business with us. As technology continues to redefine customer expectations and set new benchmarks for customer service, digital innovation has reinvented the touchpoints where customers engage with brands. Such is the digital trajectory that it’s easy to draw a simple conclusion: the telephone is old money, right? Perhaps you should ask your customers.
There’s a reason why 96% of SMEs still regard a landline as a fundamental requirement. It’s because the telephone remains UK consumers’ preferred method of contact. Sure, we email, we text and we go on social media. But when we want an answer, we pick up the phone. What’s more, the service we receive when we make that call significantly informs our opinion of that business. That call, and how it’s handled, is the definition of customer experience. And it’s why call management isn’t just a part of your organisation – as far as your callers are concerned, it is your organisation.
Cloud telephony provides an opportunity to enhance customer interaction and drive operational productivity. Moreover, it can help maintain business continuity and support strategic decision-making with real-time insight. Crucially, in an environment that’s floating inexorably towards the cloud, cloud telephony gives organisations a platform to explore an increasing range of data services that can transform business functionality, unlock new revenue streams and improve customer experience.
As for the business benefits, these are manifold. Cloud telephony allows companies to reimagine the contact centre environment, in particular adding mobility, flexibility and connectivity to historically restrictive telephone systems. And – as I’ll explain in my next blog – there’s a silver lining!
– Lee Bryant, Managing Director