What can you achieve with Hosted Telephony? Gemma Maroney of Solution IP, experts in hosted telephony
As the Internet nears total ubiquity, more and more business resources are turning to the Cloud. We’ll look at telephony in a moment, but first, what exactly is hosted technology?
Hosted technology is the catch-all term for services that are provided from a remote location, rather than being installed on individual workstations. Some familiar examples are Google Drive and Dropbox – the services themselves are run within the huge network of servers known colloquially as “the cloud”, and individual users simply access them via an internet connection. Hosted solutions are seriously disrupting the marketplace as businesses begin to see how hosted telephony can benefit them.
The Opportunities that Hosted Telephony Offers
The biggest bonuses for businesses switching to hosted telephony are the flexibility and advanced functionality that it brings; calls can be easily routed to ensure that staff can handle calls wherever they are, lines can be added or removed quickly and cheaply and the shift from a Capex to an Opex model allows for greater flexibility in operational planning.
Advanced Call Handling
You can check up on all of your call centre’s vital statistics from your smartphone: real time data on call volume and queue time can all be viewed from anywhere, and with advanced hosted telephony solutions like Horizon, you can even adjust how the system operates on-the-fly from a mobile app. These vital metrics are accessible through a web portal and offer a complete overview of how your contact centre is performing.
In addition, call recording can be added to your hosted package (often at no extra cost). Since your calls are now part of your company’s digital real estate, it is quick and easy to review them as required and use them to enhance training and customer experience.
A Solution that Scales with your Business
A huge benefit of hosting in the cloud is that you get infinite scalability and future-proofing built in right from the start. No need to worry about future system upgrades, as you can simply scale up (or down) as business needs dictate – ideal for contact centres with strong seasonal cycles, as extra users are easily added during peak periods and can be removed once the rush is over.
Rationalisation and Redundancy
Hosted telephony connects multi-site offices to the same system; whether your other sites are two or 2,000 miles away, it’ll be just as easy to contact them as if they were in the same building. In addition to this, calls can be diverted from one location to another with ease, so if employees need to transfer to another centre temporarily they can still be reached with the same phone number. This offers tremendous disaster-recovery capabilities, as employees can be relocated from one premises to another with no disruption to the contact centre’s service.
There are also great cost savings with most hosted solutions when it comes to inter-site call charges; instead of paying for calls between sites, some hosted packages offer free calls to UK landlines and mobiles inclusive of the monthly licence fee. This can dramatically cut bills for those with multiple sites and offices.
Implementation costs, maintenance costs, and capital expenditure can all be reduced with hosted telephony, and replaced with a simple and clear monthly bill. While there is a need to carefully consider the total cost of ownership, hosted telephony is often a very attractive financial proposition.
A well configured hosted telephony platform features multiple layers of security and encryption to maintain the privacy of your and your customer’s data. Hosted telephony providers recognise the importance of providing top-notch security and ensure that their services are fully covered by a team of experts; in comparison, on-site installations are maintained by your company’s IT department, who have a million other tasks to handle beside security.
The Bottom Line
Hosted telephony solutions offer excellent management reports, call recording, web-based access to call data and administration functions, and feature rich handsets. Systems that integrate these benefits help ensure that the future of hosted telephony is bright and, coupled with the “great ISDN turn off” in 2025, it’s not hard to see why so many businesses are moving their telecoms to hosted solutions.