The humble telephone has come a long way in recent years, and now BT is planning to retire the UK’s traditional ISDN and PSTN networks, steadily migrating all business customers to high-speed broadband lines dedicated to voice traffic.
Thus, upgrading your telecoms system will soon become a necessity rather than a mere possibility, and there are many advantages to doing so sooner rather than later.
What is Hosted Telephony?
Hosted Telephony is a form of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) that is ‘hosted’ in the Cloud, meaning that no physical hardware is required on-site, other than perhaps your choice of handset (but even then you can use a desktop application or opt to have all calls diverted to mobile devices, negating the need for desk phones altogether).
If you have mobile workers that are constantly on the move, Hosted Telephony can help them stay in touch, even when out and about. Each staff member carries a single contact number with them at all times – meaning the office ‘landline’ number can be redirected to mobile devices and used anywhere with sufficient internet signal.
This makes flexible working and hot-desking at multiple locations possible and easy to set up, while BYOD policies are allowed to flourish.
Flexibility and Connectivity
Large, multi-site companies can manage calls centrally, ensuring that customers are put through to the most appropriate branch or individual right away. Intelligent call forwarding also ensures that, if one line is busy, the call gets passed onto the next available colleague – limiting the number of dropped calls, again helping to boost customer satisfaction.
Expansion is also easily facilitated, as most hosted systems operate on a license per-user basis, with new lines being added almost immediately and with great cost-efficiency. Installing new lines or moving business premises has traditionally been a great headache for communications managers, but Hosted Telephony makes the whole process simple, with the system powered by the Cloud rather than traditional phone lines.
Virtual numbering is another element of Hosted Telephony. It allows businesses to create a ‘local’ presence even if they don’t have a physical presence on the High Street. This has become an increasingly popular feature, especially for online operators, as it allows them to have a Bristol contact number, even if they happen to be based in Cardiff, for example.
Displaying a local number is one way of building consumer confidence, but some companies may prefer non-geographic numbering – starting ‘08’ or ‘03’ – allowing more of a nationwide presence. Either way, Hosted Telephony makes bespoke numbering easy to set up.
Most providers also allow free internal calls, even between different buildings. This, along with the reduced need for ongoing maintenance, can help consolidate costs.
The lack of hardware means there is no risk of damage to the phone system in emergency situations, such as fire or flooding, ensuring ‘business as usual’ with calls easily redirected to mobile devices, or accessed via desktops with sufficient Internet connection.
Times of crisis can seriously damage small and medium-sized businesses, but moving your telecoms to the Cloud will mean you can safeguard against events that are out of your control.
The Human Touch
Improving the quality of customer service will always be at the heart of industry innovation, and having the right communications tools to hand is key. As such, ensuring that key staff are always available can only help to foster good relations, while also meaning that decisions can be made faster and business can develop at a quicker pace.
Upgrading such a fundamental part of your day-to-day business operations may seem daunting, but when you consider that virtually everything else is moving to the Cloud – client databases, security services, CRM systems, etc. – telephony is the next natural step.
So how can Hosted Telephony help your business flourish? With its low installation and zero maintenance costs, coupled with increased flexibility and potential for improving the customer experience, it is one innovation that you’ll want to take seriously, especially as the clock is ticking on traditional telecoms.
There are multiple reasons to embrace Cloud communications, and there’s a good case for ambitious businesses with plans to expand to be fully devoted to Hosted.
Originally published Jun 02, 2017, updated Aug 12, 2020