Is your business considering a switch to cloud-based communications? There are many cloud-based hosts available, but they may be very dissimilar in terms of features and benefits. Here are a few of the top features that you should be looking for when comparing different cloud-based systems after you've outlined the needs of your business.
1. Hosted PBX and VoIP Communications
Most organizations want advanced communications technology but don't want to invest their time and money into managing it. Hosted PBX and VoIP solutions are managed and maintained by the cloud communications service, rather than relying on the organization itself. Cloud communications can be scaled to a business, to be effective for small organizations and larger organizations. Hosted PBX and VoIP solutions are also substantially more affordable than traditional telecommunications systems.
2. Business Continuity
When a business goes down, everything grinds to a halt. Ensuring business continuity is often the number one priority for an organization. Cloud-based communication systems avoid downtime through redundant solutions and seemingly limitless resources. With better business continuity, a company will be able to retain its data and will continue delivering services to its customers.
3. Improve Mobility
Not only are more mobile technologies being used today, employees are also going mobile. Many employees are working outside of the office, which means they need to be virtually located when they aren't available in the office. A reliable cloud-based communication system should be able to find employees where they are and transfer calls as needed. Calls can be connected through virtually any device, as cloud-based communications systems are platform independent.
4. SIP Trunking
Does your organization already have a telecommunications system installed in your office? If so, one of the features you should look for in a cloud-based communications system is SIP trunking. SIP trunking gives you the ability to connect to your existing telecommunications infrastructure with a modern VoIP, line, so you can take advantage of all of the modern VoIP features and benefits while still maintaining your existing network.
5. Support and Customer Service
Customer service is particularly important with a cloud-based system, as your cloud-based host will be providing your maintenance, upgrades, and customization. Organizations need cloud-based services that are responsive to customer service needs and able to provide continuity of care. Look for cloud-based systems that provide a single point of contact that you can reach out to.
6. Unified Communications
A unified communications system connects data, chat, video, voice, and other communications solutions in a single, seamless product. An organization with a unified communications platform will be able to consolidate its data in a more effective way. Unified communication systems have a few major advantages: they are scalable to an organization's needs, improve disaster recovery, and can be easily configured.
One of the major advantages to cloud-based solutions is that they can be easily configured to your organization. The better the configuration, the more effective the solution will be and the more productive your organization will be. Not only should you check which configuration options are available to you, but you should also find out how future configuration will need to be completed.
8. Automated Attendant Services
What happens when employees aren't available? Automated attendants are able to route customers more effectively. If an employee isn't available, the customer will be routed to another available customer or to a mailbox, as is appropriate. An automated attendant can connect multiple offices together and the entirety of the system can be scaled up as necessary to incorporate additional offices.
9. API Integration
A cloud-based system with API integration can be easily connected to third-party solutions, such as customer relationship management suites. API integration makes it easier to create a complete office ecosystem, which works seamlessly together and improves upon productivity, efficiency, and accuracy. Microsoft Office, Salesforce, and other useful third-party platforms and plug-ins can all be supported through API integration.
10. Solid Customer Reviews
Word-of-mouth is one of the most important aspects to choosing any service provider. Look or a cloud-based hosting provider that has solid reviews and testimonials. If there are any negative reviews, ask the provider about them and look for patterns. Customer testimonials are one of the most honest and informative ways to discover the pros and cons of any service.
Cloud-based systems have a number of valuable features that may also make one system a better choice for your business than another. An easy way to begin your comparisons is by listing the features that your organization truly needs, in addition to features that your organization may just want. From there, you can work to find the communications solution that works best for your organization.