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Posted on: June 10, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

By TAYLOR MALLORY HOLLAND – Contributor

Selling cloud communications shouldn’t be hard. When business leaders truly understand the value of unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), making the migration is almost a no-brainer. When enterprise decision-makers encounter the alphabet soup surrounding the technology, however, they are often overwhelmed by UCaaS.

Understanding these seven UCaaS benefits can help channel partners sell more technology and increase their revenue streams.

7 UCaaS Benefits for Enterprise Customers

When it comes to selling the tech, knowing its value is essential. Here are some UCaaS benefits that are sure to impress your clients — and earn you more revenue.

1. Streamlined communications

Vonage Business offers high-quality UCaaS that integrates all of your clients’ communication applications and services into a single communications platform. That includes voice, messaging, video, conferencing, contact centers, business apps, and even chat. Your clients’ employees can access the platform from any internet-connected device, including their smartphones.

Clients who aren’t ready to give up their landlines don’t have to move their phone systems to the cloud. Vonage also offers session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking, a cost-effective technology that lets businesses connect legacy phone systems to the Vonage Cloud quickly and affordably.

2. Scalability

Traditional phone systems don’t make it easy for your clients’ businesses to grow or shrink. Adding new users means adding new extensions, purchasing new equipment, and sending someone from IT to get new hires up and running. Downsizing means that your clients are stuck with extensions and unnecessary equipment.

With UCaaS, IT departments can add new users or even new business locations without having to worry about complicated and costly installations. And with pay-as-you-need pricing, your clients don’t have to foot the bill for service they’re not currently using.

3. Improved collaboration

At many large organizations, siloed departments and human latency create communication gaps that slow productivity, impede innovation, and frustrate both employees and customers. UCaaS helps bridge these gaps by making it easier than ever for employees across departments and locations to connect and collaborate. Your clients’ employees can work from anywhere and from any device, and they can set status alerts to let colleagues know when they’re unavailable.

The Vonage platform includes HD voice and video conferencing, as well as instant messaging, for up to 300 participants. So if one of your client’s employees needs to ask a colleague a quick question, she doesn’t have to wait around for the team member to check their email. And if two teams need to share information, better align their departments, or collaborate on a project, they can have face-to-face interactions, even if they’re hundreds of miles apart.

4. Seamless integrations

UCaaS is a powerful business solution on its own, but it also integrates with other key cloud business technology, including CRM systems like Salesforce and NetSuite, collaboration solutions like G Suite and Office 365, recruiting tools like JobDiva and Bullhorn, productivity apps like Slack, and even industry-specific applications.

By connecting these systems to UCaaS, your clients also connect these systems’ data and boost productivity for employees. For example, with CRM integration, employees can click to dial directly from CRM, automatically log calls in CRM, and view customer information from CRM inside the UCaaS platform.

UCaaS technology is constantly evolving, and Vonage is at the forefront of that innovation, enabling channel partners to meet all their clients’ communication needs — now and in the future.

5. Omnichannel customer service

Using UCaaS, your clients can build omnichannel contact centers that support voice, video, chat, and whatever communication channels are yet to come. That means customers can communicate with your clients in whatever way is most convenient for them, which goes a long way toward creating a great customer experience.

With CRM integration, your clients’ service reps see screen pops for incoming calls, so they can greet customers by name and easily access all the information they need to answer questions and provide support. Meanwhile, managers can record calls and pull detailed analytics in real time, which gives them insights into how to better train reps and improve the overall customer experience.

6. Better customer engagement

Thanks to Nexmo APIs, Vonage Business offers functionality that other UCaaS providers don’t, including communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS). Leveraging developer-friendly APIs, CPaaS streamlines all the real-time communications features that customers use to reach a business — voice, video, SMS, social chat — and allows your clients to embed those features on their websites and social media pages. If a potential customer sees a Facebook post about an item they like, they can reach out to the business directly from the Facebook post with just one click.

Vonage also offers voicebot and chatbot APIs, marketing automation APIs, and a host of other features that make unified communications more personal and powerful than ever.

7. Cost savings

Unifying communications into a single solution means fewer vendors and thus fewer expenses. With Vonage Business Cloud, your clients could save an average of 36 percent compared to a traditional phone service, and a traditional phone service doesn’t include all the other UCaaS benefits.

Because the solution is cloud-based, your clients don’t have to pay for or maintain hardware. They also don’t have to worry about hardware failures, which can be costly and can cause operational downtime.

UCaaS Benefits for Channel Partners

Vonage has much to offer businesses, and thus many opportunities for channel partners to expand their revenue while increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. The Vonage Partner Network offers training opportunities, tools, and support, as well as a robust residual-selling model with benefits and incentives that increase with each tier.

UCaaS technology is constantly evolving, and Vonage is at the forefront of that innovation, enabling channel partners to meet all their clients’ communication needs — now and in the future.

Posted on: May 20, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Remember that song: “One of these things is not like the other? One of these things is just not the same!” We could say this of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Auto Attendant. Although sometimes confused for the same thing, there are important differences between Auto Attendant and IVR.

You have by this point in your life called into many an auto attendant, we can be sure of that. It’s when you call into a business or organization and, instead of talking to a live human, you are greeted by an automated voice which provides you with a full menu of options. The automated attendant — also known as a phone tree or auto receptionist — routes calls to a queue or voicemail box. Although to be fair, it can play hold music while it makes the connection.

How does that differ from the IVR? You might think of it as auto attendant 4.0. For one thing, when you reach a business with an IVR, the automated voice quite often sounds better, more true to life. Additionally, you can typically interact with the IVR using either the numbers on your keypad or your voice. You know you’re working with an IVR when it says “press or say 1.” That “say 1” is your cue that there’s voice recognition software at work.

Now, we recognize that those distinctions don’t seem like such a big deal when you’re calling in. You’d probably rather be talking to a human in the first place, so being able to speak instead of press numbers isn’t that big of a step up. OK, but the real difference between auto attendant and IVR isn’t directly experienced so much by the caller as it is by the recipient of the call.

Auto Attendant vs IVR for the Agent

Think of auto attendant as an automated switchboard operator. This feature does help your customer get more efficiently to the individual or department they want to reach. But they don’t provide additional information. The attendant sorts them to the right place based on their keyed responses.

With IVR, the caller may never need to interact with a human. After all, this solution feature can provide information and collect details from the caller, such as case numbers, addresses, birthdates, credit card numbers for over-the-phone payments, and much more. For example, paying by phone at your utility company by entering the numbers of your checking account or credit card. Since the IVR can easily handle automated tasks, your business can free up human agents for more complicated processes.

Another advantage is that the IVR can be scripted to provide information to the caller based upon their responses or particular circumstances at your business. For instance, the messaging a customer might hear while on hold could be customized to reflect the details gained from their menu sequence. Since they are calling in response to X campaign, they would hear messaging related to that campaign while in queue.

IVR solutions can also feature additional add-ons such as:

  • Data-Driven Routing: deliver prioritized calls to the proper destination based upon the customer’s transaction status or account information
  • Post-Call Survey: provide inbound or outbound call surveys to understand the satisfaction of your customers once their call or business transaction is complete.
  • Appointment Reminder/Notify: deliver an automated outbound call to notify the customer about a change in their transaction status change or confirm an upcoming appointment.

Evolve IP’s IVR is delivered through easily customized pre-built scripts that deliver the exact call flows and features you need. Evolve IP’s IVR service also retains the flexibility to be customized for your exact needs. Find out more today!

Posted on: April 12, 2019 By: CNSG Marketing

By: David Portnowitz of Star2Star

The global communications landscape is changing significantly, with the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) both growing at remarkable rates. If you’re not already familiar, IoT stands for “Internet of Things” and is the industry term for this era’s “smart” devices including smart phones, appliances, cars, and other items we use every day. AI is more widely known, and often characterized as an intelligent robotic persona. With the prevalence of Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant, almost everyone who has ever used a smart device has also experienced AI.

Breaking Down The AI and IoT Trends

In 2015, there were about 15.4 billion connected devices in existence; by 2025, this figure will swell to 75.4 billion. 77 percent of consumers are now using at least one AI-powered device or service. Oftentimes, customers engage with AI without even realizing it.

Related: What You Need To Know About Chatbots

As global communications are changing, contact centers are being forced to keep up with the pace. The contact center, after all, is one of the most important touchpoints for customer communications and businesses are being challenged to update their technologies as well as their customer service strategies.

Related: The Communications B2C Customer Experience

The AI Emergence

AI is being used in a few different ways in the contact center. First and foremost, AI has emerged as a major driving force behind interactive voice response (IVR) systems and chatbots. In the past, automated conversations were very basic. But thanks to AI, bots can expand beyond rudimentary conversations and respond accurately to complex customer queries. For this reason, there is growing interest in using AI-powered bots to provide self-service throughout the day, and after hours.

Related: 3 Key Ways AI Impacts UC

Now, a gap is growing between companies that are actively using AI in the contact center and companies that are not; companies that are using AI can provide much better self-service by reducing on-hold times, lowering costs, and streamlining conversation flows for agents. Companies that refuse to embrace AI will fall farther behind the competition in the coming years. Businesses are therefore strongly advised to work AI into their customer-facing processes.

Related: 10 Reasons Businesses Are Switching To UC Cloud Services

We are also seeing more and more companies deploying AI for intelligent call routing. Routing decisions that used to rely primarily on basic input data (like a customer’s language, location, age, and purchase history) are now being enhanced with real-time intelligence engines. AI can pull data from a wider pool, and combine that information with additional characteristics (like a caller’s mood) to put a customer in touch with the right associate.

Related: UC Solutions For Every Industry

Contact centers, it should be noted, are also using AI to collect real-time threat intelligence, in order to prevent fraud during interactions. Many businesses now use AI in the background to gather data and flag suspicious activities.

The IoT Impact

The IoT, meanwhile, is having a major impact on the way that businesses approach customer service. First and foremost, companies now have access to much more data than they had in the past. Connected endpoints can provide a wealth of information that can be analyzed to better understand the customer experience. Contact centers should have access to this information, in order to provide relevant service.

Related: Key Market Drivers In Cloud Communications

This, of course, also means that agents need to be better prepared to handle technical questions. Many contact centers are now providing additional training for agents, to get them up to speed.  According to one study, 67 percent of respondents said their contact centers trained associates to handle customer interactions differently due to connected/IoT technologies. Twenty-three percent of contact centers, it should be noted, hired associates with different skill sets to support IoT technologies.

Related: Top 10 Technologies That Changed Business Communications

While it’s important to have a working knowledge of IoT and an AI-driven customer service strategy, it’s important to remember the third component to an advanced contact center: A robust unified communications (UC) platform. It all comes together with UC, which can serve as a centralized environment where agents can access incoming messages from any device and leverage the support of AI and IoT services.

 

 

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