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7 Questions to Ask When Researching Calling Capabilities for Microsoft Teams

This article was published on March 15, 2024

Microsoft Teams is a powerful tool for business collaboration and communication. Remote and hybrid employees alike can huddle up in group chats, share one-on-one messages, carry out video conferences, or co-author shared documents in real time — all from the same platform.

 

Microsoft Teams has surged in popularity over the last few years due to the functionalities it offers remote, hybrid, and onsite workforces. And with the right calling features baked in, it gets even more enticing. Let’s explore how adding advanced calling features enhances Microsoft Teams and the questions every business should ask as they research solution providers.

Image of man wearing a headset, talking on the phone, and looking at a computer screen

Why Advanced Calling Matters

If you currently use or are considering adopting Microsoft Teams, it’s important to ensure that your employees and customers have the best possible experiences. This is where the advanced calling features of cloud-based unified communications can make a difference. Cloud-based unified communications (UC) technology brings together multiple communications channels, including voice or video calling, personal or group messaging, and audio or video conferencing. Enhancing your Microsoft Teams investment with these communications capabilities empowers your employees to meet customer demands.

7 Questions To Guide Your Research

So what should you look for in a provider of advanced calling capabilities? Simply put, it should be reliable, feature-rich, and secure, while maintaining enough flexibility to adapt to your specific business processes and needs. Think about these questions on your decision journey to help get you started:

Question 1: What is the ideal future state of communications at your business? 

Cloud-based business communications tools are flexible, feature-packed, and scalable enough to enhance customer engagement and employee collaboration, today and tomorrow. Companies in need of new tools often weigh their present solutions and future needs with respect to factors like call quality, reliability, usage, and features.

Does your chosen vendor offer the ability to bypass network congestion and component outages? And do their solutions integrate seamlessly with current apps the business uses, alongside those it may implement in the future?

Question 2: Will your geographical needs for voice calling evolve over time?

Business communications like telephony can be a challenging component of geographic expansion if not considered in advance.

Even basic calling can turn into a costly, complex process when done over international lines. The same idea applies to SMS/MMS, video conferencing, and other forms of business communication. Using the right solutions can support and even enhance experiences as businesses move into new markets.

Question 3: Do different departments in your organization have unique communications needs? 

It pays for a company to understand exactly who in the organization will be using business communications tools and how they’ll be used.

Relying on a single vendor to meet all communication and collaboration needs can provide a significant advantage. Introducing multiple vendors to suit business needs creates an environment where interoperability problems are the norm, not the exception. By contrast, landing on a single vendor that is flexible and scalable enough to meet company use cases and easily integrates with other solutions being used, like Microsoft Teams, can streamline communication and collaboration.

For example, customers calling to initiate returns and resolve billing questions have very different needs. If an organization's current infrastructure requires multiple, siloed solutions, they tend to make these situations more complex. It's time to consider something a bit more feature-flexible.

In other words, having additional telephony features to support different functions and workflows can only help increase individual productivity and overall company effectiveness.

Question 4: Do you have input from business and IT leaders to ensure alignment?

Speaking of strong communication and collaboration, it's essential that business and technology stakeholders across a company have a voice in the UC decision-making process.

Why does it matter? Securing alignment in strategic investments, like enhancing Microsoft Teams with UC, can result in more efficient adoption across the organization. Keeping an open dialogue with all relevant stakeholders minimizes the likelihood of potential conflicts between departments during the implementation process.

Question 5: What does the implementation process look like?

If the solution in consideration requires a good deal of employee retraining, hardware overhauls, or ongoing technical maintenance, it may not be the right choice. 

In particular, companies should pay close attention to a UC solution's capacity to integrate with Microsoft Teams and even the larger Microsoft 365 suite. Employees prefer to work within familiar interfaces and with products they already know. In addition to reducing the amount of training, bringing a “familiar face” to the software integration can boost productivity in a way that newer solutions may not.

Cloud-based UC solutions often allow for fewer hardware needs, more efficient training, and fewer disruptive maintenance issues. In short, selecting the right solution should result in minimal disruption.

Question 6: Can telephony capabilities be extended across Microsoft 365 tools?

This is another area where a UC provider can add value. Consider vendors that offer integrations across other Microsoft 365 tools that your team already uses, such as Dynamics and Outlook. Communications that seamlessly integrate with these tools can help drive efficiencies. For example, using a separate collaboration software that isn’t integrated with your external calling tool can make it difficult for employees to reach the right person, making them toggle between different platforms. With capabilities like telephony extended across Microsoft 365, you can boost productivity, decrease resolution time, and deliver better experiences.

Question 7: What is your business communication redundancy plan if Microsoft Teams has an event?

What happens when reliability issues get in the way of collaboration and conversation? While Microsoft Teams is reliable, there can be outages and events that impact productivity. When the platform experiences an event, you want to be sure there are failovers and protections in place.

Bringing a UC solution into the fold can provide an extra layer of reliability, a great thing to have if outages strike. In the event of a service interruption, you can switch to the UC system to seamlessly maintain communications. This keeps your employees, potential customers, and existing customers talking, even when trouble arises.

Ready to Learn More About Enhanced Communication and Collaboration for Microsoft Teams? 

Choosing the right Microsoft Teams communications integration for your business takes time and thought. These questions can help guide your research and identify the solution that optimizes business communications, enables employee productivity, and delivers better customer experiences.

As the world’s most flexible cloud communications platform, Vonage can help businesses explore voice calling for Microsoft Teams.

Check out our ebook to learn more about how Vonage can enhance customer engagement and employee collaboration with Microsoft Teams.

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