Virtual Phone Number Forwarding: Talk is the New Email

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Organizations of all sizes are tasked with improving productivity and increasing revenue while at the same time managing reduced budgets. No matter how small the budget gets, employees still only have a limited number of hours in a day in which to do their jobs. But with a unified communications system, companies are able get more done with less.

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What are Unified Communications Systems?

Unified communications are integrated applications that optimize business processes. Companies can unify real-time applications like instant messaging, chat, telephony, and web conferencing with non-real-time applications like email, fax, voicemail, and SMS messaging. These systems combine the best of telephony with the best of the internet. Phone calls don’t travel across hard lines. Instead, they use the organization’s internet to transmit calls.  This gives users a variety of ways to contact each other such as:

  • Voicemail messages can be delivered via SMS, audio email, or text email.

  • Faxes can be delivered to or sent from an email inbox.

  • Web conferencing can be conducted at users’ desktops, laptops, or mobile devices.

  • Video chat can put coworkers in a face-to-face conference call.

  • With virtual phone number forwarding, both internal and external calls placed to a desktop phone can be forwarded to a user’s mobile device, home phone, or laptop.

Combining a broad range of communications allows employees to stay connected to one another, increasing effectiveness and producing cost savings across the board.

Email:  Convenience at a Cost

Email is incredibly convenient. It can often save the hassle of trying to track down an individual over the telephone. But email can also be a burden to employees. Consider some of these statistics recently published by Forbes.com:

  • Every day, businesses send 90 billion emails across the internet.

  • Employees spend up to four hours a day dealing with email, half a typical working shift.

  • Almost 40% of all workers send work-related email outside of company time.

  • Workers check their email around 36 times per hour (almost 300 times a day).

  • It takes the average person 16 minutes to re-focus on work tasks after dealing with email.

  • Only about 1/3 of all emails are truly necessary for work purposes.

Organizations cannot eliminate email completely – nor should they. In fact, there are many times when email is the best method of communication. But unified communications systems can reduce the need for unnecessary email. Employees can reach one another through instant message systems for easy, one-off issues. They can collaborate on a recordable web conference, rather than creating lengthy and time-consuming email threads. And with the help of virtual telephone forwarding, employees can set their desktop phones to ring to their mobile devices while traveling. This keeps them connected to their coworkers back at the office, reducing the need to send an email in order to reach someone remotely.

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Unified Communications: Where Data and Phone Intersect

As organizations realize the benefits of unified communications, applications are becoming more and more popular in the workplace. Companies that adopt these platforms realize employee time savings, increased productivity from the workforce, and direct cost reduction. Some of the benefits include:

  • BYOD cost savings – Unified communications systems allow employees to use their personal devices (Bring Your Own Device) for work. They can conduct business on the company network without incurring data or mobile charges on their bill, and without revealing their personal phone numbers to customers. BYOD eliminates the cost of corporate devices.

  • Reduced travel costs – Flexible web and video conferencing applications allow employees in different locations, even those located internationally, to meet at any time. Face-to-face customer meetings can also be conducted remotely.

  • Increased collaboration – Teams that operate out of different corporate locations are able to collaborate in real-time, improving productivity and connecting the workforce.

  • Improved customer relations – Employees aren’t the only people who benefit from unified communications. Organizations with customer contact centers on these systems experience a 6-10% increase in first-call resolution rates, according to research published by Cisco.

Virtual Numbers Transform Voice Communication

Virtual phone numbers and internet-based communications systems allow employees to connect with each other in ways that were not possible just a decade ago.  Because virtual phone numbers use the very same data networks on which organizations use email and web, all systems can be fully integrated. Virtual phone number forwarding means companies never have to miss a chance to connect with a client, vastly improving response time and customer satisfaction.  With these systems, organizations can get more done in less time, for less money.