By Darach Beirne, Flowroute, now part of Intrado
If we’ve learned anything in the last year related to business communication strategies, it’s that the services and tools that keep us connected, productive, and informed are essential. Companies have seen how investing in telecom resources keeps their business afloat during challenging and unpredictable economic changes. Though most modern enterprises have adopted a cadre of new telecom tools in recent years—including messaging and video solutions—there’s one tool that remains a non-negotiable resource: reliable voice calling.
Customers rely on MSPs to connect them with the right services and tools for their needs. Offering customers the resources they need to thrive in the current business climate gives MSPs a competitive advantage and boosts customer satisfaction. MSPs should strive to provide customers with solutions that meet modern demands, are high-quality, secure, scalable, and deliver maximum ROI. Because voice calling checks all these boxes, MSPs should consider how partnering with a reliable cloud-based calling provider can help them move ahead of competitors. Below are some of the key reasons why MSPs should offer VoIP solutions to their customers.
Modern collaboration tools incorporate several features to power productivity and reduce burnout—a key focus of companies with remote workforces. Voice and calling features and collaboration platforms are essential in how businesses enable their employees to connect with colleagues and external audiences when working remotely. The agile and scalable features of cloud-powered voice also allow companies to make changes or pivot on a dime to continue delivering service even when employees logged on from disparate locations.
Increase Flexibility And Agility
Cloud-based calling solutions allow businesses to remain nimble and flexible in the event of sudden change, and voice capabilities are no exception. VoIP solutions, in particular, help companies rapidly adapt as business needs change, like when customer service teams become dispersed, or a business moves from one location to another. VoIP calling comes with inherent scalability, letting enterprises add or remove phone lines, port numbers, and adjust features as needed. And, compared to legacy phone systems, these solutions are more cost-effective and include the benefits and functions of a traditional phone system.
Enable Business Continuity
Voice calling is also a critical element of business continuity, which businesses are likely more concerned about after facing the last year's challenges. Though there’s a growing preference among some customers for text or chat functionality, customer support is still necessary through voice communication. In addition, hosted voice capabilities allow employees to keep working from outside the office right away in the event of a disaster or outage. As a result, there's minimal interruption to workflow or service. Modern carriers also can direct traffic to different networks when needed, meaning voice calls are quickly routed to operational networks to mitigate downtime.
Make Setup Simple
With VoIP, companies can implement calling and modern telecom services quicker and more streamlined than legacy counterparts. It's not a complicated, costly investment that requires expensive updates or ongoing maintenance since there’s no hardware involved. The ease and simplicity of setup mean enterprise customers can get their voice and calling needs in place faster, further cementing VoIP solutions as a critical communications resource.
Not All Carriers Are Equal
It is critical to choose the right provider to power calling and voice for enterprise customers. Different carriers offer varying levels of expertise and unique approaches or solutions that can be of use for other businesses or scenarios.
It’s also important to note that there’s a range of different ways services are packaged or billed—and it is worth doing some research to understand those differences from the outset. Depending on the services and flexibility customers need, enterprise customers could experience some sticker shock in the process. For example, many carriers will charge customers based on how many simultaneous calls they have going at the same time. If the business relies on the ability to have more than one active call going on at once, they may want help exploring options from other carriers.
Call quality is another differentiator that’s worth paying attention to when evaluating carriers to recommend to customers. Some carriers will have redundancy models that keep calling capabilities up and running even if there's an outage or other service interruption. For some businesses, experiencing hours of downtime resulting from an outage can impact sales and customer service, so the right carrier will have a way to protect customers against this.
When evaluating voice calling providers, there are a few features and services MSPs should look for that will give enterprise customers access to the best modern calling experience. While not all of these will be essential for every customer, the features can help some companies level up their voice calling capabilities.
- APIs. Some telecom carriers offer Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), essential IT tools to help customers improve and customize their services. Telecom APIs can support remote workforces, enhance customer service and retention, and scale calling capabilities. Developers can use telecom APIs to add texting, calling, and other telephony capabilities with other applications or services. In addition, APIs can simplify and streamline tasks such as number porting and (Add one or two more telecom capabilities).
- E911. With companies navigating remote and hybrid work environments, businesses will want to ensure their teams have access to the same emergency services that on-premises solutions would give them. While providing access to emergency services for dispersed workforces can be more difficult since employees work in various places, enhanced 911 (E911) services can be a huge help. E911 is "enhanced" because the service shares the caller’s location with the local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), which helps emergency responders locate and assist the caller in an emergency. Modern voice calling services enable customers to get the full benefit of legacy phone systems, including the ability to get help during an emergency.
- Localized numbers. For companies with an expansive footprint or a global reach, MSPs may assist them in getting local numbers for inbound and outbound calls. Through some carriers, businesses can get local telephone numbers by area code in any location. They may also want toll-free inbound numbers to ensure customers worldwide can contact them without incurring a cost. Utilizing local and toll-free numbers is vital to providing a better experience for their customers no matter where they are. Carriers that provide these numbers should be a top priority.
Even though text, email, and video are prominent communications tools, voice calling remains central to business communications. When MSPs work with a modern cloud-based carrier, they can unlock new ways to enhance calling services with APIs, E911, and localized numbers. Be sure to carefully evaluate a carrier's calling offering to match the right carrier with customers' needs.
About The Author
Darach Beirne is vice president of customer success at Flowroute, now part of Intrado. With more than 25 years of experience building and leading B2B customer success, Darach leads Flowroute's dedicated customer support team, driving strategy for customer success and improved customer satisfaction. Prior to joining Flowroute, Darach led professional service and sales engineering teams for providers such as Contenix, Huawei/3Leafsytems, InQuira, Siebel/Scopus, and Ingres. He also has assisted high-tech companies in developing strategies to improve the customer experience and increase scalability.