For small and medium-sized companies, it is vital to be able to communicate smoothly with suppliers, other business partners and customers. Intercommunication between different employees and departments is of course also crucial. For SMEs, the combination of phone calls, e-mails and apps is often overwhelming, especially when employees also work from home.
A traditional telephony infrastructure with a physical PBX and fixed phones is becoming less and less relevant. Most modern companies today opt for communication applications in the cloud. And they have good reason to do so. After all, they are much more flexible and cost-efficient.
What is telephony in the cloud?
A telephone system in the cloud is a complete business telephony solution that runs entirely over the internet. This is also called VoIP calling, which stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. A bit like the apps on your smartphone. It is essentially telephony as a service and not as a product. All functions are accessible and easy to set up via the internet.
Because it is a service, it is often offered by a VoIP provider for an attractive, monthly flat rate, including numerous useful features.
What are the possibilities of cloud telephony for SMEs?
The fact that everything runs in the cloud opens up an infinite world of possibilities, previously inaccessible to SMEs.
A phone system that only works in one location is out of date. Today, you and your employees need to be able to make calls, video chat, email, and make calls from anywhere and from different devices. Having a landline number on mobile is also a snap.
The main feature of cloud telephony, and thus at the same time its main advantage, is that the system works entirely online on any mobile phone, computer and tablet. All you have to do to make calls is have an internet connection.
In times when working from home has become a fixture, flexible accessibility has simply become indispensable.
Everything clear in one online portal
Another advantage of cloud telephony is that all aspects can be managed from one online dashboard with just a few mouse clicks. So you are no longer dependent on your phone provider or a technician to change certain options. Think of adding new users, changing settings, automatic call forwarding, changing end destinations, changing permissions, and so on. This way, as a business owner, you have full control over your business telephony.
Intelligent call forwarding
If you work with several employees, it is a tough job to efficiently transfer all those incoming calls to the right person. For that, you either have to employ a full-time receptionist or buy an expensive, physical phone system. With modern telephony in the cloud, that problem, too, is gone.
Thanks to an IVR or Interactive Voice Response system, you can set up your own intelligent call forwarding menu in no time. An IVR system is the beating heart of a telephone system in the cloud. It welcomes callers and transfers them to the authorised persons within your organisation. Forwarding can be based on a traditional dial menu or even automatically based on data from the incoming call, such as the number called or calling, date and time of day.
It gets even better if you know that you can also forward calls based on your employees’ availability schedule. Calls are then simply transferred to the staff members available at that time.
Digital voicemail is a real gamechanger for businesses that have to handle a lot of customer calls. It automatically transcribes the recorded messages into a text message and then sends it by e-mail to the employee concerned. Listening to it can also be done simply via the PBX app. So no hassle with dialing in and codes to listen to voice messages. Employees receive the messages in their mailbox and can immediately start answering questions and assisting customers.
Virtual call center
And if you combine these advantages and functions of cloud telephony, as an SME you have a real virtual call center at your disposal. Every call is important, and with smart selection menus, intelligent call forwarding and easy modification of end destinations, every call goes straight to the right person.
Customized cloud telephony for your small or medium-sized business
There is also a wide choice in terms of online business telephony and Europe phone number providers. However, it is not always easy to choose the best solution for your small or medium-sized business. Specifically for self-employed, small and medium-sized businesses, there are some important points to consider:
– User-friendly? An online phone system should make communication easier and actually be able to work on autopilot after installation on a plug-and-call basis.
– All-in-one solution? What is included in the package offered? Online calling, online interface, smart dialing menu, free fair-use calls, intelligent call forwarding, digital voicemail, and so on.
– Hardphone included? Is a business phone (hardphone) with all the bells and whistles included in the package or do you have to buy this from a third party?
– Compatibility? Can all my employees install the app unlimitedly on their favorite devices (Android as well as iPhone) using a QR code?
Easy-to-remember phone numbers
It is basically possible to register and manage all business phone number variants via a cloud phone system.
Broadly speaking, there are 3 options.
– Local numbers
Among others, London 204 number can be chosen.
– National numbers
These are numbers that can be called at local rates but are not associated with a specific region or city.
– Foreign numbers
An international phone number is also among the possibilities, e.g. buy German number online.
Telephony in the cloud is the future and that future is now
Hosted VoIP gives you more flexibility, more control and lower costs, which is always nice for small and medium-sized enterprises. This allows you as a business leader to focus on growing your business and increasing customer satisfaction. And precisely because it is so straightforward and efficient, you don’t need to have any special expertise, training or hire specialized people to use all those handy gadgets.
As an entrepreneur, you get enough on your plate anyway. The last thing you want is to break your head over the intricate details of a telephone exchange. In short, cloud telephony offers everything small businesses need to thrive in an increasingly competitive and fast-changing business world.