Small and midsized businesses (SMBs) generally have less time and fewer resources than their enterprise counterparts. Even with these limitations, it's critical that SMB stakeholders find the time to evaluate their business systems — and upgrading an outdated business phone system is one of the smartest places to start.
Failing to upgrade a phone system can carry steep costs in the competitive SMB world. Small organizations without consistent communication subject themselves to decreased customer satisfaction and increased churn, and employees without up-to-date tools can't be expected to do the best possible job. For these reasons alone, a business phone system that was good enough years ago can cast a shadow on the rest of the SMB's operations today.
SMBs that do upgrade a phone system, however, enjoy greater communication consistency, an empowered workforce, and the ability to implement powerful technology over an affordable medium. Here's how SMBs everywhere can benefit from the presence of cloud communications.
Boost Business Operations
In terms of communications, a business phone upgrade can make an SMB indistinguishable from its enterprise competitors. With their ease of implementation, simplified (vendor-backed) management, and digital delivery, cloud communication platforms make meeting that goal easier than ever.
Known for its flexibility, scalability, and affordability, a VoIP phone system can effectively bring phone service to any business location with an internet connection and phone, with no need for complex hardware (or associated installation costs). Additionally, VoIP makes long-distance and international calling less expensive, a considerable benefit in today's global, web-based business world.
Of course, a phone service isn't only about standard phone calls. Features like virtual receptionist grant SMBs a professional presence even when no one is there to answer the phone, improving customer perception.
With increased mobility in the workplace, a business phone system must also take into account how owners and other stakeholders handle business beyond the desk. Cloud-based apps allow these personnel and others (field-based sales reps, for example) to use their desk numbers anywhere, sending/receiving calls and SMS messages from within a cloud-based, vendor-managed app. Being reachable at the same number at any time is yet another way for SMBs and their clientele to communicate with added consistency and utility. Automated routing features, which ring a designated backup number under specific conditions, can further add to this effect.
With the very real benefits of upgrading a phone system, SMBs have fewer reasons to stick with the status quo — and every reason to consider an upgrade.
Improve the Employee Experience
Naturally, many features that benefit customers work just as well for employees. Being able to call or send an SMS message to the same number for a coworker no matter what branch they're working in is one example. Meanwhile, desktop apps further extend the "desk" number to a computer, giving mobile employees (including flex-work and work-from-home employees) added mobility wherever they're working when a call comes through.
Calls on a cloud-backed system do not have to stop at the phone. SMBs can grant employees advanced communication and collaboration features — including chat integration, video conferencing, paging groups, and file sharing — when they upgrade a phone system. Any one of these are beyond the technical capabilities of a standard phone service and can be expensive to deploy, let alone develop, for standalone use. By comparison, cloud-based alternatives are deployed directly over a data connection, reducing capital expenditure and the need for technical infrastructure.
For slightly larger businesses, sending high-tech functionality over a data connection is especially beneficial. By choosing a platform that requires less technical infrastructure on the user's end, businesses spend less on expenses like servers, networking upgrades, and per-user licensing fees. They also save on personnel costs, since there is less need to hire dedicated technical staff when the provider does most of the heavy lifting. Finally, utilizing communications technology from a worthwhile cloud provider means high uptime guarantees and dedicated, knowledgeable support when problems do arise.
Consistency, Productivity, and Prosperity
For small and midsized organizations considering an upgrade, phone system choice comes down to a single question. In short, how long can you afford not to switch? With the very real benefits of upgrading a phone system, SMBs have fewer reasons to stick with the status quo — and every reason to consider an upgrade.