What do you already know about Unified Communications, or UC? Did you know that it’s not simply a buzzword that is circulating in technology circles? UC is an actual thing, a practical set of tools?
It can assist your SMB become more productive almost immediately after installation over your existing VoIP network. It helped my SMB almost ten-fold, if not more, after I started using it. Let’s take a look at five of the many ways in which UC can boost productivity in your SMB too.
- Presence — Unified Communications provides presence tools so that you know when the person you’re wanting to communicate with is at their desk or not. Better yet, most UC packages go beyond mere “green dot” functionality and provide a wider range of Instant Messenger-like responses: Ready to Communicate, Busy, Do Not Disturb, Away, and so on. The downside to many presence packages is that they don’t auto-detect your status, and many people forget to set it manually. This is a problem that’s being addressed, but for now, try to find one that auto-detects a user’s presence information.
- Call one number to reach one person — Once your UC system is set up, you can call one number to reach one person. The system is intelligent enough to have all of an employee’s numbers on file. If they are not at their desk, then the system will try them at home. If they’re not at home, it’ll try their mobile. It will go down all the numbers it has for the person until it reaches them. If the search is unsuccessful, then a message can be left for the person. This way you don’t have to remember all the numbers a person might have; you just need one. Simple and elegant, no?
- Instant messaging and chat — Sometimes you don’t need to actually talk to a person, but you still need to communicate with them. You can do this on a time-delay basis with instant messaging and chat tools. Like short message service (SMS) on your phone, these tools allow you to ask and answer questions of your colleagues, and allow them to answer at their leisure.
- Click to dial features from Outlook and/or a web browser — Unified Communications software is intelligent enough to detect phone numbers embedded in text. When they are present, all you have to do is click on them and your phone will dial that number, practically like magic. Other intelligent UC packages will even be smart enough to detect names of your contacts within text, so if you have an occasion to call those while reading some mail from them, it’s a piece of cake to call them. Even if you have mail mentioning a 3rd party, if you have that person in your database, UC will pick that person out and make them click-to-dial.
- Screen pops with specific customer information — This is a feature especially good for workplaces that get a lot of inbound calls from regular callers, such as sales teams. Imagine if you knew who was calling before the phone rang — what their name was, their relationship to your company, what their last order was, and what their stock price was? Imagine taking stock of all this information before picking up the phone? Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. All your UC system has to do is dip into your company’s database when the phone rings, retrieve what’s relevant to who’s calling, then put it up on your screen in an easy-to-digest format.