Hosted Telephony

How to Choose Between VoIP and Unified Communications

Today’s businesses and contact centres find themselves in a difficult dilemma. Faced with rising customer service expectations and a need to reduce costs, making decisions about technology involves carefully balancing these two conflicting challenges.

Unified Communications with a platform like Communify WebRTC promises to bring your diverse forms of communication into one system and even give you new ways to communicate. But does your business really need these features when compared to a simple VoIP service? Will WebRTC deliver enough value to make your investment worthwhile?

To help you make an informed decision, there are four key areas to consider: your business, network, agents and customers.

What is your business trying to achieve?

The first step in making a good decision around your communication is examining what led you to feel the need for change.

You could simply be looking to replace your existing telephony. A quality VoIP service can help you to reduce your call costs, while also giving you increased flexibility to scale your seats as demand increases – a faster and easier process than adding conventional analogue lines. VoIP is also particularly easy to install. With good support from your service provider, you could start seeing value almost immediately.

However, many businesses are looking beyond cost savings to consider the bigger picture around communications. If you’re trying to increase the productivity of your agents, remain competitive, and meet the expectations of customers that demand points of contact across multiple channels, VoIP alone will not deliver those benefits.

Unified Communications makes those large-scale changes and improvements possible by bringing all your communications together in one centralised system. While this change may be slower to implement, most businesses are likely to see more value long-term.

What does your network infrastructure allow you to do?

Once you’ve decided the direction you want your business to go in, it’s a good idea to look at the realities of your network infrastructure. While processes and ways of working can be changed, overhauling your network could become a costly, complicated task.

Particularly as the technology has matured, VoIP isn’t a resource-intensive technology. In essence, the only requirement is ample bandwidth to carry your inbound and outbound calls.

Unified Communications, of course, may demand a little more from your network. In some cases, the most feature-packed solutions may be out of reach for smaller organisations.

However, there is an alternative – a way to get the Unified Communications you need while keeping your network overheads down.

By choosing a hosted Unified Communications service, you can keep the majority of your technology hosted with and managed by your service provider. This not only removes the barrier to entry, but also removes the commitment of a large-scale capital expense.

What do your agents need now and in the future?

After considering your business aims and whether your network could hold you back, you’ll need to address the people that will actually put your plans into practice – your agents.

A good strategy is to split this into two phases:

  • Now: What do your agents need to keep their existing productivity and performance? How could your chosen solution support this?

  • Next: What do your agents need to become even more productive? How could Unified Communications features transform performance?

For your agents, Unified Communications can offer entirely new ways to work, from bringing different channels into a single web-based system to video chat, ad-hoc and multi-party conferencing, and shared data – all through one interface.

If you identify a need for change in productivity, Unified Communications can be a valuable asset.

What do your customers need and care about?

Finally, don't forget the most important people of all – your customers. They should be at the heart of every decision you make. How can you improve their service? How can you increase per-customer revenue?

With features like advanced call routing, smartphone support and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system integration, Hosted VoIP can improve customer experience quickly and easily. However, this will only affect your voice communications.

The biggest improvement in service will undoubtedly come from Unified Communications, which allows you to similar benefits to every form of communication your business uses – from email and SMS to video and web chat.

Today, your customers want a consistent experience across every channel they decide to use. While VoIP remains an essential tool for many organisations, Unified Communications reflects the future of the way we work with customers.

As you compare VoIP and Unified Communications, get the advice of a provider who knows both technologies in-depth.

Contact Hostcomm to discuss your challenges and how the right technology could help.

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