Unified communications may not be a term with which you’re familiar. Yet you’ve almost certainly used one of these systems. The Google suite, Microsoft Teams, and CISCO all offer a unified communication solution.
Yet the approach isn’t new. Hewlett Packard, Juniper, Microsoft, Logitech and Polycom founded the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum in 2010. They wanted to ensure collaboration between tech firms so the platforms could work together.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed just how important this interoperability is. The key difference is that these platforms wanted compatibility. A unified communications system offers centrality—we’ll explain how and why below.
Yet the pandemic has also underlined how important these systems are for a modern business. With the widespread move to online working, employees need a more flexible and user-friendly approach. A unified communications platform provides that.
Read on to learn about the importance of this exciting business solution.
What Is Unified Communications?
A unified communications system pulls your communication tools onto a single platform. It blends real-time services, like instant messaging, with asynchronous tools like email.
This is not the same as voice over the internet (VoIP). Here, workers can take calls to their work number in several ways. That might involve using a desk handset, their mobile phone, or even their computer.
Yet VoIP only works for voice calls. By contrast, unified communications systems provide VoIP functions and text-based tools.
Microsoft Teams is a good example of a unified communications system. Colleagues can send instant chats, make voice or video calls, schedule meetings, and even access files on SharePoint.
This frees up how employees send and receive information.
For example, a colleague might send you a voicemail message. Using the system, you can listen to it on your phone, or through an email.
You can either call your colleague back or send them a response using text chat or email. You can choose the medium that best suits your reply.
The platform stores all the information, whether that’s a call or a text-based message. This makes it easier to search a single database for specific information.
Why Is Using Unified Communications Important?
Many businesses think their success depends on a specific part of the business. Perhaps it’s the sales team or a hero product.
In reality, communication is what can make or break a business. Poor communication can lead to catastrophic errors which could damage your brand’s reputation.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has made the importance of these systems more apparent. Staff couldn’t walk up to a colleague’s desk or call their extension. So, they need to be able to contact each other in another way.
A unified communications system becomes crucial in becoming the centralised space in which all communications happen and are stored.
The System Reduces Errors through Collaboration
Before unified communications became commonplace, errors were all too easy to make. Look at the potential flaws with emailing documents back and forward within a team.
How can you be sure everyone is using the right version? If several people are working on the file, how do you condense changes onto one document?
With unified communications, the team works from the same master document. No more version control errors, like saving an old document over a newer one. This improves accuracy and clarity for the whole team.
This is also important to consider when you work with other businesses. You don’t want employees sending outdated documents to clients.
It’s also easy to invite external partners to video meetings using a unified communications platform. This streamlines the process and improves the conference call experience for all involved.
Employees Become More Productive
If we use a platform like Microsoft Teams as an example, it cuts down on the number of single services you need. Workers can conduct many of their tasks within the same application.
They can collaborate on documents during a group call. Following the call, they can continue to send messages about it through the chat feature. Group messaging also allows teams to communicate in a transparent way.
They can also let colleagues know about their availability in advance. It’s easy to set statuses such as ‘do not disturb’ or ‘available’. This means employees can create blocks of undisturbed, productive working time.
This isn’t possible with non-unified systems. Phone calls or instant message chats might still disturb employees. Without a status, others don’t know their colleagues are unavailable.
Good Hardware and Security Is Essential
You can scale your business with ease because many systems operate in the cloud. You won’t need to buy physical hardware to expand your communications capacities. This also leads to lower maintenance costs.
46 percent of businesses have reported a cyberattack. Such issues are on the rise, so security should be your priority with any system.
Users only need one set of password credentials instead of several. This makes their credentials easier to remember, so they don’t need to write them down. It’s much easier to enable security measures for a single login, reducing the threat of attacks.
It Improves the Customer Experience
The customer experience should be central to any modern business. 81 percent of businesses even compete on the basis of customer experience. This makes a unified communications system a key part of your customer experience strategy.
If you deal with customers, then a unified system makes it easier to transfer customer calls to the right staff. This streamlines the customer experience, improving their perception of your brand.
You use also your system as a customer relationship management platform. Staff can access up-to-date information while on a customer call. This makes it easier and faster to solve customer problems.
Enjoy Your New Communication Solution
A unified communications system is important for any modern business because it allows you to adapt to changing situations with ease. Look at how smoothly businesses who already used platforms like Teams adjusted to remote working.
A flexible unified communications platform allows your staff to collaborate on accurate work, reducing errors and improving the quality of work. This makes it easier to provide a clean and consistent experience for clients and customers alike.
If you’d like to experience the power of a unified communications solution for yourself, contact us today.