Whether you’re running a national retail chain or overseeing an independent dentist office, businesses have relatively similar requirements when it comes to selecting and managing their communications services: reliability, quality and simplicity.
By Darach Beirne, Vice President of Customer Success at Flowroute
Their customers, however, might have slightly different priorities; some opting for convenience, while others need flexibility and immediacy. For example, a nationwide survey of more than 1,300 consumers found that more than half (58 percent) indicated they would view a business more positively if it offered messaging capabilities such as SMS and MMS.
Finding a solution that satisfies this telecom wish list can seem daunting, and because of customers’ changing expectations, the cookie cutter approach from traditional “phone companies” just doesn’t work anymore. This has given rise to a new type of carrier: IP-based service providers taking voice and messaging services to the cloud.
Unfortunately, cloud-based communications still face a number of hurdles due to misperceptions around security, complexity, costs, reliability and call quality. Below are some of the common concerns organizations of all sizes have raised – and eventually overcome – when migrating to an IP (or cloud)-based carrier.
Myth #1: “My call quality will suffer.”
Nope. Businesses can’t afford to deal with dropped calls or degraded service, nor can their customers. A quality carrier will provide cloud-optimized voice communications services that provide clear, reliable and high performing connections 24/7.
Myth #2: “A landline connection is just more reliable.”
Wrong. In fact, today’s cloud-based service providers can resolve network outages faster than legacy telcos because of their unique ability to reroute IP-based traffic. This means that when a company experiences a local access or network path outage, instead of calling the phone company and waiting for a fix (sometimes for hours), technology known as adaptive call routing can quickly bypass the disruption so the business can quickly resume normal operations. Similarly, if companies are experiencing degraded service, adaptive call routing can reroute the traffic over another secure partner network to ensure capacity, uptime, and quality.
Myth #3: “IP phone systems are more susceptible to fraud.”
False. Security is only as good as its weakest link, and your business communications platform is as safe as you make it. More often than not, the horror stories told about VoIP vulnerabilities stem from improperly secured networks. To keep sensitive information out of the hands of fraudsters, the entire network must be secured, including Internet phone lines. This means following basic security practices such as ensuring software and firmware are up-to-date, requiring complex passwords that are changed frequently, and establishing secure connections protocols like SSL for all access to any point in your network from anywhere.
Myth #4: “I’m a small business owner; I don’t have the IT expertise or resources to use cloud communications on my own.”
That’s okay! While cloud-based communications can give businesses more access and control over their telecom services, we understand that not business has an in-house IT department or a software development team. That’s why it’s important to work with a carrier that can provide IT and telecom experts available to jump in at critical times to ensure issues get resolved in a timely matter.
Myth #5: “The phone company has been around for over a hundred years – they know what they’re doing!”
Okay, this one’s half true. Yes, the “phone company” as your great-grandparents knew it provides a dial-tone and they’ve been doing that since the 1800’s, but today’s businesses are built on innovation, not tradition. Today’s customers expect instantaneous, seamless voice and messaging communication, as well as personalized interactions and the ability to take action immediately based off a phone or text message. This type of functionality can take months to implement with a legacy provider, versus days with an IP-based carrier.
If we haven’t changed your mind about cloud communications just yet, remember that there are options that allow you to start small and see if an IP-based solution makes sense for your business.
Being informed about the truth behind many of the common myths around cloud-based communications can help your business and its customers to find the right solution that works best for your specific needs.
Darach Beirne is the Vice President of Customer Success at Flowroute (@flowroute). He brings over 20 years’ experience building and leading customer support, customer success, professional services, and sales engineering teams for providers such as Richemont/Contenix, 3Leaf Systems, Oracle/InQuira, Siebel/Scopus and Ingres.