Business Phone Options: What Retailers Need in a Scalable Solution

When selecting business phone options, retailers should consider how the solution will support possible rapid growth. Cloud-based phone systems can easily and seamlessly scale up when retail employers adjust their staffing levels to meet seasonal needs. This is a common scenario during the winter holidays when temporary help is onboarded to serve increased customer traffic. Once the season has passed and the new year begins, it's important that the retailer's phone system can easily scale down alongside company staffing levels.

Interactive retail communications no longer rely exclusively on business phone calls to make sales to customers. Today's retailers must support a unified customer experience across multiple channels to succeed.

A unified communications solution built on a cloud-based business phone system is one way that retailers can rapidly scale their capability — not only for calls but also messaging, video, business apps, and chat. Specifically, this is beneficial for retailers that rely on heavy phone work that takes place across multiple departments and locations, which can give way to considerable internal efficiencies.

Let's take a look at business phone options for retailers that you can deploy to scale your retail business now and in the new year.

Business Phone Options to Complement Calls

In the universe of business telecommunications, phone calls have been around almost since the advent of Alexander Graham Bell's marvelous invention. But the retail consumer of the 21st century wants to communicate in many ways that typically don't include the traditional voice phone call. Retailers must support an omnichannel customer experience with other options and capabilities that they can rapidly scale, including:

  • Work on the go: With the ability to take a customer call from anywhere on the sales floor, a unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) solution liberates retail associates from having to stand behind a counter near a phone on a wall. Instead, UCaaS solutions can ring multiple wireless or mobile handsets simultaneously when an incoming call is received, allowing the associates to stock shelves, help customers already in the store, or even process inventory in the back room until the phone rings.

  • 24/7 order processing: Orders for retail merchants small, medium, and large can come in 24 hours a day, seven days a week via mobile and desktop apps. Whether through CRM integrations or traditional emails, dedicated sales staff can connect to business tools from cloud-based phone services for seamless productivity. That way, you'll know practically in real-time about customer orders that arrive in the middle of the night — or anytime. See almost immediately how your in-stock merchandise levels compare to the order pipeline. If it's out of balance, the procurement department will know when it's time to reorder from wholesalers and other supply chain partners.

  • Contact centers: From simple customer support to omnichannel contact center services, a UCaaS business communications solution can help you seamlessly connect and manage remote customer service agents serving customers via phone, text, and chat. Scale the solution up or down in response to business needs as your contact center staffs up or down during the holiday shopping season or after the end-of-year clearance sales.

  • Virtual receptionists and music on hold: In the event your contact center is experiencing heavy call volume, a UCaaS business solution can easily incorporate a virtual receptionist to allow customers to record a message for a customer service agent to call back, indicating whether the message is urgent and/or sensitive. If the customer is willing to wait on hold, they can listen to music while they wait their turn in the virtual queue.

  • SMS order status notifications: For retailers of all stripes — e-commerce, brick and mortar, multichannel — the customer experience does not end until the merchandise is safely delivered to the consumer's street address. Using a communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS), retailers can integrate an SMS API into their communications solution to notify customers in real-time when their packages are delivered.

Back-Office Phone Options for Retailers

While there are many use cases for retailer UCaaS solutions in customer-facing situations, additional options exist for organizations to implement. Utilizing these services, retailers can support their business in the back-office with conferencing applications among employees, partners, and suppliers. Conference calling solutions for the back office solutions include video conferencing, web conferencing, audio conferencing, and mobile conferencing. Taking advantage of these solutions improves not only customer experience, but the organization's scalability and agility, too. So really, it's a win-win for everyone.

To learn more about business phone options and other business communications solutions, contact Vonage Business.

Derek Handova
Derek Handova Contributor

Derek Handova is an enthusiastic white paper writer and brand journalist in the B2B and technology spaces. Previously, he has led content creation efforts at prominent companies such as Altera, BearingPoint Inc., Check Point Software, Harris Corporation, Solectron Corporation, and other Silicon Valley icons. His most recent engagement was working in content at Nexmo, the Vonage API platform. He has written articles for B2B News Network, Energy Central, IPWatchdog and Channel Futures, a Penton publication.

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