While the yellow pages may be a relic of a bygone era, telephones are still crucial to business. Almost two thirds of customers still prefer to make initial contact with a business by telephone, and almost 70% have used a click to call from a search engine result. Just a few years ago, the leading source driving phone calls was mobile searches, followed by desktop searches - together accounting for 65% of the total volume.
For the most part, when a customer calls a business, they expect to be connected to the appropriate person or department with minimal wait. Unified Communications services can address all of these points for your business within a handful of standard features. Below are six of the most useful UC features.
Direct Dialed Numbers
A number that can be called from anywhere that will reach a particular department, division, or person while bypassing any other call distribution feature can be a great bonus for potential clients. If they do not have to go through a menu to reach the salesman they have been working with, or get directly to technical support, your customers feel more valued and tend to think of your business in higher regard. With UC, direct inward dialed numbers can be set up at every level, reaching whichever service you want with a single phonecall.
An auto attendant is the most basic automated call direction protocol that incorporates input by the caller. In essence, it is a menu of departments or individuals that the caller can select. This can eliminate entirely, or at least reduce the workload of, a receptionist. Auto attendants, when laid out best, can speed the time it takes on the call and get your caller right where they need to be. In the UC world, auto attendants can be easily managed, created, altered, and tweaked - often in real time.
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Like an auto attendant, a hunt group is an elementary component of ACD. Think of it as a simple call center. The incoming call is offered to a list of people in your business in an effort to find someone available as quickly as possible. In most UC systems, these are very easy to configure and manage, and you can swap members of the list within seconds.
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As your customer is waiting for an answer, they may be placed on hold. UC systems frequently have a way of customizing the on-hold message, which can serve a variety of functions. You can set it up as a marketing engine, telling customers of new products and services, or you can relay frequently asked questions to improve their knowledge. Lastly, you could use royalty-free music that is in-line with your business persona. Whatever you choose, you can change it at a later date if you should desire.
Fixed Number Convergence
Unified Communications works se well with mobile telephony that there is almost always some service that can be implemented to incorporate an employee's cell phone as a receiver for business calls. This can be as simple as sequential or simultaneous ring features, or something like an application that can run on a smartphone to emulate the user's desktop device. In any case, the caller has a higher chance of reaching the person they are wanting to contact with than ever before. And, failing that, there is still Voicemail.
Voicemail to Email
When all else fails, voicemail can be left. What is different about UC voicemail is that it can be sent to the employee via email, which makes the messages easier to react to and store, and if set up properly, provides nearly infinite storage.