As any small business owner can attest, it’s not easy to keep up with all the changes that have taken place over the past few years. Businesses have dealt with the pandemic, supply chain problems, inflation, social unrest and more. It’s been enough to wake up even the most experienced entrepreneurs at night. But as the saying goes, “with adversity comes opportunity.”
One of the key opportunities emerging from the turbulent 2020s is an easier, more efficient way to go global. Once relegated to shopping malls, convenience stores and local office spaces, today many small businesses are expanding their horizons thanks to innovative new technologies that enable them to work remotely and collaborate with partners, resources and customers from all over the world. And to give their business an extra edge in the decentralized, global marketplace, many companies are turning to cloud telephony.
The cloud and the distributed communication system it supports enable entrepreneurs to do business almost anywhere. But how does cloud telephony work? What are the main benefits? And most importantly, how do you choose the best system for your business?
What is Cloud Telephony?
“Cloud telephony is a telephone system that works via mobile data or the internet. The cloud’s ability to host everything from files to messaging, voice communications and video is transforming these systems into unified communications platforms,” explains Mahyar Raissi, co-founder and CEO of OpenPhone. “It allows companies to grow without being tied to traditional hardware. And they can access and share their data and systems anywhere in the world.”
OpenPhone is a cloud telephony service available for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and web browsers. Founded in 2018, the platform has grown in popularity among startups and small businesses, serving more than 40,000 customers.
Cloud telephony, also known as cloud calling, allows users to access business voice services over any mobile or internet connection. These services are virtual solutions that are remotely managed by third parties, so there is no hardware or other equipment for businesses. And cloud telephony isn’t limited to basic voice calls; it includes text and multimedia messaging, file sharing, business software integration, and more.
How does cloud telephony work?
“Cloud telephony offers tremendous flexibility,” Raissi says. “It eliminates cabling and intermediaries by handling the entire call routing process, allowing businesses to access their phone systems through a web browser or mobile application.”
“Cloud telephony is essentially software that allows you to use your business phone system from any computer or smartphone,” Raissi says. “This eliminates the need to use outdated, on-premise desk phones. Cloud telephony handles the entire call routing process through a business phone service provider. That way, you can call and text from any device, automatically sync your business contacts across all your devices, and work wherever you want.”
From an online cloud telephony dashboard, businesses can easily assign numbers to team members, initiate call forwarding, and take advantage of many other calling features. The provider takes care of all aspects behind the scenes, freeing companies from administrative overhead and the obligation to manage their own PBX/PABX. The service provider is the party responsible for building and operating the servers that run the business telephone system.
What are the main advantages of cloud telephony?Easy to use: No more PBXs collecting dust in the cabinet or annoying copper wiring. And companies don’t have to call IT when there’s a problem. The old-fashioned hardware for landline telephones is also a thing of the past. Scalable: With traditional business phone systems, companies must put a lot of time and effort into scaling the system as their organization grows. Every time a new employee is hired, companies have to purchase a new desk phone, train the person and deal with increased costs. Always up to date: With traditional PBX systems, all cables and hardware remain on-premises. That means a company’s internal or outsourced IT department is responsible for maintaining and updating the system. So when updates happen, the company usually needs to purchase new equipment, servers, and other technology. With cloud telephony, on the other hand, the service provider takes care of all technical aspects. A company only needs to update its mobile application from time to time to access all the new features and improvements. Flexible: Flexible work arrangements are on the rise. From remote and hybrid work models to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, businesses and employees alike are realizing the value of non-traditional work arrangements. And cloud telephony fits perfectly into this model.
How do you choose a cloud telephony provider?
One of the most important aspects when choosing a cloud telephony provider is finding a provider that offers all the features the business needs. Some of the key features to look for in a business cloud telephony system include voicemail, toll-free number availability, automatic assistant capabilities, shared phone numbers, snippets and automatic replies, and simple integrations with business systems (such as a CRM).
Every company will have a different set of priorities. The trick is to identify must-haves versus nice-to-haves. It is also important to check customer reviews. Companies make big claims about customer satisfaction and usability, but sometimes this is just marketing fodder. Using G2 or another software review database, companies can access product information, complete with a feature list and customer feedback.
It is also extremely important for businesses to choose a system that is easy to use. As Raissi points out, an intuitive user experience can make a huge difference.
“If you have a business phone app that’s as intuitive as your other apps, there’s no learning curve,” he said. “You can easily adjust your phone settings and teammates without having to pay for IT support. This helps companies save valuable time and resources.”
Data safety, privacy and security must also be a priority. Businesses trust service providers with one of their most valuable assets, their data. And unfortunately, some providers will use anything a company shares to their advantage. Companies must ensure that their provider has encryption, follows data protection standards, and is not authorized in any way to use, view, or sell user data.
And last but not least, understanding the full price of any cloud telephony solution is essential. Take into account start-up costs, maintenance and subscription costs. Sometimes it can be difficult to sort through all the hidden costs to find the real price. But it can save time and money in the long run.
This post What companies need to know about cloud telephony was original published at “https://smallbiztrends.com/2022/03/what-is-cloud-telephony-service.html”