Your best customer has a problem, and there’s only one employee who can provide the solution. You call his desk phone and get his voicemail. You check again, but your email from before lunch is still sitting there unanswered. And, of course, you hear a prerecorded message when you dial his mobile phone. Meanwhile, your client is still waiting. In times like these, when you’re trying to get answers from someone who isn’t in the office, it’s a good idea to look into cloud solutions for business phone systems.
Using a Cloud-Hosted Phone System
In this scenario, the fault doesn’t necessarily lie with your employee — it comes from your team members not having the tools they need to do their jobs. Without the easy accessibility of a cloud-hosted phone system, you may not be providing the service your clients expect from you. In today’s age, customers expect immediate help on whatever channels they’re using. When you prioritize moving to the cloud, you will have a consistent, cohesive means of communication wherever your employees are located.
Your employees will be able to step away from their desks and manage call routing, either for the day or for just a few hours. This significantly cuts down on missed calls, which will increase productivity and improve customer service. And they’ll have options for setting their preferences, either on a user portal or through a mobile app.
Features of Cloud Solutions for Business
Your team may never miss a call again with the features provided by cloud-hosted phone systems. When heading out of the office to work at home while waiting for the cable company, you can forward calls from your desk phone to your mobile phone. This way, you can give the customers who will be calling the service they deserve. Calling via your business mobile app, your customers will not see your personal information, but rather a business profile that makes a very professional impression and provides a seamless experience across devices.
If you aren’t sure of the exact number where you can be reached, you can use a “follow me” feature, which calls the first number in sequence and then moves to the next number you designate as the second. Or, you can set up the phone system to ring all your forwarding numbers at the same time. If you’re going to be in an important meeting or need some quiet time to get a client proposal written, you can set your phone to “do not disturb,” and it will send all your calls straight to voicemail.
With the functionality and features available through cloud solutions for business, customers can feel confident they’ll reach someone at your business when they call. It’s an expectation of service they come to count on. And as most savvy businesses know, when service is lacking, customers may simply find another company to deal with.
Contact a Vonage Business consultant to learn more about cloud solutions that meet your unique requirements.
Businesses are moving to the cloud, with research firm Gartner predicting that by the end of 2017, there will be a $246.8 billion market for the public cloud alone. And while C-suite members need high-level knowledge of basic cloud services, IT managers are tasked with understanding cloud solutions for business at a deeper level. What skills do tech pros need to meet this new mandate?
According to a recent Forbes survey, more than half of companies are putting new apps and services in the cloud instead of on existing infrastructure. The result? It’s now possible for non-tech employees to easily deploy applications or resources without waiting for IT approval. In fact, 76 percent of respondents say DevOps (not IT) was responsible for their transition, despite the lack of DevOps departments in most organizations. Those surveyed pointed to DevOps as an operating philosophy with roots in agile development.
What does this mean for the IT manager skill set? It’s no longer possible to tell employees how they should interact with cloud services, but instead empower them to easily and securely leverage the cloud. Forcing them down the narrow path of approved services often leads to the development of shadow IT. As noted by Network World, even NASA discovered 28 unsanctioned cloud services on its system during a recent audit. As a result, an IT manager must develop new ways to embrace employee expectations while minimizing overall risk.
IT professionals must become adept at both designing new cloud environments and determining the best cloud distribution for their organizations. According to CloudTech, high-demand skills for tech experts now include private and hybrid cloud design, private and hybrid infrastructure-as-a-service provisioning, and cloud systems management.
Yet this is just the beginning. Companies have evolved past the one-cloud-only model to embrace the notion of specific clouds for specific workloads or projects. As a result, many companies are trending away from single public or private deployments to a multi-cloud mix that includes hybrid, private, and public distributions that change dynamically over time to meet corporate needs. Beyond rebranding themselves as cloud experts, IT managers must learn how to effectively balance cloud spending and cloud benefits while simultaneously communicating value to C-suite executives.
Once cloud systems are up and running, IT managers must develop skills to make the best use of these new resources. Consider the IoT. The market for this always-connected, interlocking web of sensors, mobile devices, and monitoring tools promises big gains if companies are able to effectively collect, parse, and interpret big data. To meet this emerging challenge, IT professionals need the time and space to expand their knowledge and embrace the impact of IoT.
Other innovations are also changing the way enterprises handle day-to-day operations. The rise of cloud-based VoIP, for example, can not only replace but significantly upgrade the performance of inter-office and intra-office communication systems and pave the way for unified communications deployments. While it makes sense to leverage the tools and technology of third-party experts for cloud-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), IT managers remain the critical point of contact between cloud services and new solutions.
The bottom line? Implementing the cloud is a challenge shared by employees, executives, and IT managers. Meanwhile, understanding cloud solutions for business falls under the purview of IT experts and demands a new focus on end users, multi-cloud management, and the ability to effectively implement innovative solutions.
Are you ready to learn more about the power of the cloud? Talk to a Vonage Business consultant today!
Hiring is a lot like dating after 30: It seems like most of the good ones are already taken, and competition is fierce for talent that’s still on the market. And it can be hard to meet new people, unless you expand your search beyond those in close proximity to you.
Cloud solutions for business help to solve these challenges. By making the workspace increasingly mobile, cloud communications enable employers to widen their searches, find and hire the best people for the job, and retain those employees by offering something more and more people now want — the ability to work from anywhere.
Downshifters, Dads, and Disabled Workers
Fortune predicts that as more millennials mature into the next stage of their lives, they will soon be leaving cities in droves, opting for suburban or even country living. Add to that the tens of millions of people who already live in rural America, and you’ve got an enormous talent pool that may not be within commuting distance to your company offices. However, they are within telecommuting distance.
Remote work also appeals to parents, many of whom leave the workforce because they want to spend more time with their families or because the cost of childcare now amounts to an extra mortgage payment. Providing these caregivers with the technology and flexibility to work around their lives opens up a huge, untapped market of job candidates who might otherwise opt out of full-time work outside of the home.
Telecommuting has also created new job opportunities for disabled individuals, for whom traveling to an office might be difficult or even impossible. With the ability to work where they’re most comfortable, they can be just as productive and innovative as anyone else on your team.
Of course, this is not the extent of those who’d appreciate the opportunity to work remotely. Most everyone is yearning for a greater work/life balance these days, and they’re increasingly looking for employers who will help them achieve it.
Finding the Right People
Smart leaders don’t want to hire just anyone. They want to hire people who are not only qualified for the job, but also bring enthusiasm, passion, and dedication to their work.
Depending on a business’ location, this can be challenging. In smaller towns, the talent pool is often limited, particularly for highly specialized jobs. In larger cities, there are more professionals, but also more businesses seeking to hire them, many of which offer salaries and perks your company might not be able to match.
Location doesn’t matter for companies that hire remote workers. Not only can they hire from anywhere, but they also have a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting top talent.
For example, Jenny Collister, founder of the Reef & Rainforest travel agency, said she believes that successful travel agents must be passionate about travel and adventure (translation: the kind of people who don’t like to stay in one place). To attract these wandering souls, she offers the balance and flexibility of being able to work from home or on the road. With a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system and mobile app, her agents can even help customers plan trips while on trips of their own.
“I like offering flexibility to my staff,” Collister said. “Some employees embrace it, and others like more structure, so we try to maintain a balance that ensures that our customers are fully served during work hours and often beyond.”
The Value Equation
Having a remote workforce doesn’t just help companies find and hire the best talent, but studies confirm how productive these employees can be. For employees, working remotely can help meet their professional and personal priorities. There are some employees, particularly millennials, who may value work/life balance and flexibility more than a big paycheck. With the high cost of daycare, some parents may offer to work for less if they can work from home. Of course, remote workers should expect to be valued and compensated as any in-office employee would. But the remote work model sometimes offers negotiable flexibility that can appeal to both employer and employee.
Mark Krassner, founder of Knee Walker Central, has built a successful business with a team of remote workers spread across the country—all of whom are tied together by a hosted VoIP phone system. This arrangement affords employees an attractive level of flexibility. In fact, several of them have relocated their home offices without missing a beat. With cloud solutions for business, all workers need is an internet connection in their new location, and they’re up and running. Krassner also points to how productive his remote team has been for the company.
So yes, hiring these days can be a lot like dating. However, there’s one big difference: In the case of hiring, long-distance relationships actually do work.
Speak to a Vonage Business consultant to learn more about cloud solutions for business.