Shaan Sood, European marketing manager at Sangoma, discusses why these two solutions should be a basic requirement for every business.
Before discussing the mergence of these two technologies, I’d like to take a step back. It wasn’t that long ago when a mobile phone was only used for making calls and sending texts – oh and let’s not forget playing snake!
These days smart phones have more functionality than some laptops; and we’re seeing a similar evolution with contact centres and unified communications.
Contact centres started life out as call centres, where you would have lots of people making calls; over time more functionality was added such as fax and emails. Today contact centre agents have access to websites, video and social media platforms which enable them to have up to date information about the company they are talking to whilst on a call.
Businesses had a need for easier, more efficient communications, with customers or users able to get in touch through multiple channels. This led to the contact centres (CC) we see today, with features like music on hold, recording, whisper, call queues and distribution becoming standard rather than extras.
Now let’s consider the other part of this mergence – unified communications (UC). In a nutshell, UC refers to a system which enables access to all the tools a company uses to communicate through a single application. For example, voice, video, presence, conferencing, instant messaging, and screen sharing can all be used from the same user interface across different devices.
The year 2020 has meant the way we work has changed dramatically; more people have to work from home and virtual collaboration and communication is becoming the new norm. Even when we are able to go back to being able to go into the office, I think many businesses will allow their employees to continue to work at home some of the time.
This means business owners need a phone system that not only enables remote working – but also allows agents to provide good customer service. If a customer is kept hanging on the phone or told to call back on another number, then they aren’t likely to remain a customer.
This brings me to the title of this article – the mergence of UC and CC; the functionality of both of these solutions are needed as a basic requirement for businesses of all sizes. In the future we won’t talk about UC or CC; we’ll discuss business phone systems that enable employees to take their work extension with them on any device. Everyone should be able to easily manage, prioritise, queue and redirect calls; create call rules (such as marking yourself out for lunch); presence (where you can see who’s free to take a call); record calls for compliance. There also needs to be integration with business tools like Salesforce.
At Sangoma we’ve already combined unified comms and contact centres into our business phone systems; we include these capabilities free for every use because we believe they are essential for today’s business phone systems and not an optional extra.
A business phone system needs to suit a customer’s business and allow them to work where they want, communicate how they want and collaborate how they want. If it doesn’t then it’s not the right system.