The COVID-19 pandemic triggered numerous challenges and disruptions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), resulting in many adopting a remote business structure. This sudden shift forced SMBs to reevaluate their IT strategies and accelerated the digital transformation of their respective workforces.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, there are over 30 million small businesses in the nation. The proliferation of online tools and innovations, such as unified communications as a service (UCaaS), web and video conferencing and cloud computing have transformed the SMB environments into a more collaborative work environment. As workforces look to stay connected and acclimate to this new virtual model, SMBs should consider these four tips for maximizing business communications across their remote teams.

  1. Unify Communications for a Unified Workforce – The key to boosting workplace productivity lies in the communication system an SMB deploys. This makes the UCaaS the heart and soul of an SMB’s technology stack. By 2025, the unified communications (UC) market is estimated to value $167B. In an effort to maintain remote business continuity, SMBs need to implement a comprehensive UCaaS solution where all communication tools are under one centralized system versus deploying a single solution. Integrating UCaaS in the modern workplace provides staff a way to stay connected and collaborate by engaging in Zoom meetings, messaging on Slack or chatting on Microsoft Teams. Implementing UCaaS with existing collaboration tools and customer contact centers paves the way for SMBs to innovate from anywhere and move at the speed of their employees and customers.
  2. Connect Through Conferencing – It is essential to leverage web and video conferencing tools to connect today’s remote workforce. As the economic impact of the pandemic affects businesses of all sizes, SMB margins are tight and budgets are limited. As such, it is integral for SMBs to invest in affordable web and video conferencing tools that promote collaboration and ongoing communication. Small businesses across a variety of sectors in the financial, healthcare, hospitality and retail depend on video and web conferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom to interact with clients, cohorts and patients. These collaboration tools are valuable communication assets and allow SMBs to remotely engage with prospects, colleagues, partners and key stakeholders for webinars, meetings and company-wide discussions.
  3. Take Communications to the Cloud – To prevent customers from experiencing interrupted services or downtime, it is crucial for SMBs to implement a cloud-based communications solution that provides unprecedented flexibility. These solutions are often more affordable than legacy services such as Plain Old Telephone service (POTS) or on-premise Private Branch Exchange (PBX). Cloud-based systems offer customizable call routing, recordings, transcriptions and backup capabilities that enable SMBs to drive workforce efficiencies, scale operations and effectively compete in today’s business landscape. VoIP communications providers offer many upsides that equip employees to work from anywhere on any device, thereby dramatically improving the customer experience, boosting staff productivity and reducing operating costs. SMBs can maximize collaborative communications to help their customers achieve business growth by adopting the industry’s most comprehensive suite of cloud-based telephony services.
  4. Optimize Integrations – With today’s cloud technology, your phone is no longer an isolated device, it can now be a player among all of your other critical systems. This means your solution can integrate with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM), your billing platform, support and care ticketing platforms, and even specialized platforms for any industry. This might allow for click-to-call capabilities for sales agents or collections, screen pops for your customer care, and call time tracking for billing purposes for professionals such as those in the legal profession.

As SMBs embrace a telecommuting future, it is essential to take control of remote communications. This includes the adoption of innovative collaboration tools such as UCaaS, cloud-based telephony service, and video and web conferencing. By unifying all communication platforms into an integrated stack, SMBs are equipped to collaborate seamlessly and effortlessly, maximizing business continuity and operations across all levels of the organization.

 Amr Ibrahim has 20+ years of experience in software development, telecommunications and management, Amr prides himself on helping businesses of all sizes become more efficient to compete in today’s corporate world. He recognized the value of great customer service and tapped into his entrepreneurial spirit and found his own telecom company, ULTATEL. Since then, the company has been twice-recognized as a Top 10 VoIP Tech Company by Enterprise Networking Magazine.

Business communication stock photo by sdecoret/Shutterstock