What do you think when you hear UCaaS? Maybe you think of VoIP. That makes sense, considering many unified communications providers started off as VoIP providers. Or maybe you don't think in acronyms, which also makes sense, considering time is short and the ever-expanding tech lexicon is long. Thankfully, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is not as complicated as it sounds — and it can help solve complex communication challenges that plague many enterprises.
Cloud communications have come a long way in recent years, and there are far more benefits of UCaaS than just internet-based phone service (VoIP). UCaaS integrates all of a company's communications applications like voice, messaging, video, conferencing, contact centers, and chat, and services them into a single communications platform. Employees can access the platform from anywhere, using any internet-connected device.
In fact, VoIP isn't even a strict requirement for UCaaS. Companies that aren't ready to give up their landlines can use session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking, a cost-effective technology that lets businesses connect legacy phone systems to UCaaS platforms.
No matter what capabilities a business chooses to glean from UCaaS, it will always gain these four main benefits:
1. Real-Time Connections
It's an age-old business conundrum: The better a team collaborates and innovates, the more the company grows. But the larger the company grows, the harder it is to collaborate and innovate. Suddenly, it's impossible to get everyone in the same room, much less on the same page.
Geographically dispersed teams, siloed departments, and human latency create communication gaps that slow employees down and can lead to misunderstandings and mistakes. UCaaS makes it easier for employees across teams, departments, and locations to connect, using whatever channel is most appropriate for the conversation.
For example, say one employee has a quick but urgent question for a colleague at another location. She calls his desk, but he's on the phone. She could send an email, but who knows when he'll check his inbox. Instead, she sends an instant message and gets an instant response. If she had a complicated question — the kind of question that could lead to endless emails and possible misunderstandings — she could initiate a video call and have a good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation — even if they're 1,000 miles apart.
Because your internal communications channels are streamlined into one platform, employees only need one account to use them all.
2. Seamless Access to Information
Your team spends a lot of time searching for information — contact details, customer data, and all the other information they need to do their jobs. When these details are spread across multiple databases or buried in email threads, employees can't be sure the information they find is the most current — if they can find the information at all.
Cloud solutions like CRM and file-sharing applications help eliminate problems like document control and customer data collection. These solutions can also integrate with UCaaS for an even greater productivity boost.
For example, with CRM integration, employees can click-to-dial directly from CRM and automatically log calls. They can also view customer information from CRM inside the UCaaS platform and receive automated screen pops identifying incoming callers. UCaaS can also be integrated with collaboration solutions like G Suite and Office 365, productivity apps like Slack, and many industry-specific applications.
3. Omnichannel Customer Engagement
Your employees aren't the only ones who want multichannel communication options. So do your customers. That means voice, video, and chat.
With UCaaS, you can build an omnichannel contact center that supports all three. Customers can reach out to your business in whatever way is most convenient for them, and reps can seamlessly move the conversation from one channel to another (e.g., from instant message to phone if a customer needs to walk away from her computer). You can also leverage communication APIs, such as chatbots, to streamline communications even further.
For a truly seamless omnichannel customer experience, you can combine UCaaS with CPaaS, or communications platform as a service. CPaaS lets your development team embed real-time communications features — voice, video, chat — on your websites and social media pages. So if potential customers like the product shot you posted on Instagram or the white paper you distributed on LinkedIn, they can connect with your team in one click, directly from the social channel.
4. Cost-Effective Scalability
Traditional phone systems can make it difficult to grow or shrink your business. If you expand your workforce, IT must add new extensions, purchase new equipment, and set up workstations for new hires. Those folks will also need accounts for all the other internal communications tools that your organization uses, such as conferencing solutions or messaging apps. Then, if you need to downsize later, your company is stuck paying for extensions, equipment, and software licenses you don't need.
UCaaS makes it easy to scale your workforce up or down. Because your internal communications channels are streamlined into one platform, employees only need one account to use them all. The cloud-based platform can also be accessed from any internet-connected device, meaning there's no equipment to install or maintain, and you don't have to foot the bill for service you're not using. Better yet, by unifying communications into a single solution, you pay fewer vendors and thus pay less.
These are just a few of the benefits of UCaaS for enterprises across industries. Your company has its own unique communication challenges — and UCaaS can help.