Unified Communications-as-a-Service Levels the Playing Field for SMBs

To equalize the customer experience, build a presence as large as your biggest competitors

Small businesses have always struggled to keep up with their larger competitors, especially when it comes telecommunications technology.

Until Hosted Voice services came along, switched phone systems like private branch exchanges (PBX) were prohibitively expensive for SMBs, while enterprises could afford the superior telephony capabilities that made their operations more efficient. When you called a small business, you knew it. No extensions or personal voicemail, just a blanket greeting to leave a message and “someone will return your call.” Deafening silence while waiting on hold. Busy signals; the inability to transfer callers. The list goes on.

With the advent of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calling, the cost barriers to acquire advanced telephony features like multiple extensions with voicemail, call forwarding, call recording, automated directories and interactive voice response have largely disappeared. These capabilities have moved to the cloud. Today, companies of any size can lease the telephony services and hardware needed to run the business for an affordable monthly fee and present the same customer experience to inbound callers as the largest global enterprises.

UC vs. UCaaS

Now, the same can be said for the successor to VoIP technology: unified communications (UC) and its sister, unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS).

Unified Communications (UC)

UC refers to a phone system that integrates multiple communication methods within a business including telephone calls, video conferencing, instant messaging, voicemail, email and fax. UC consolidates all the ways employees and customers communicate into one application to make a businesses much more efficient – but the company has to purchase and maintain the hardware including telephone sets, video displays, modems and routers. An expensive proposition for SMBs.

Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS)

UCaaS, on the other hand, is a cloud-based deployment method for delivering advanced communication services to SMBs that do not have the budget or IT staff to implement UC on its own. Here again, small businesses lease the necessary services and hardware from a service provider for a low monthly payment. Only now SMBs can take it to the next level with support for multi-point video conferencing, mobility, presence technology, remote collaboration tools and other professional messaging features like SMS in addition to VoIP.

What Are The Benefits Of UCaaS?

The primary benefit for UCaaS is that it allows a company to shift from a capital investment (CapEx) to an operating cost (OpEx) mode for its communication expenses. Besides the reduced costs of using the internet for phone calls instead of traditional telephone landlines, UCaaS offers SMBs the ability to:

  • Up their customer service game with features like interactive voice response and toll-free calling.
  • Increase customer engagement frequency through SMS messaging.
  • Improve employee productivity by allowing users to bring their own devices to work and reach them anywhere.
  • Access technologies like video conferencing to level the playing field against larger competitors.

All these things were previously out of reach for most SMBs, but no longer. UCaaS can be quickly scaled up or down to match business consumption, and it’s future-proofed for SMBs because the onus is on the service provider to maintain the latest upgrades and equipment. Adding features or more extensions is accomplished at the flick of a software switch – no need to add more physical lines or equipment.

So when a customer calls your business and hears, “Thank you for calling XYZ Industries. If you know your party’s extension, you may dial it now, or press zero to speak to an operator,” they won’t know if you have 10 employees or 10,000, just that their call is being handled in a professional manner.

If you think your business could benefit by shifting your VoIP and/or existing UC services to the cloud, talk to us. We can help you plan for the transition and design a scalable UCaaS solution that offers the same customer experience as your biggest competitors.