Imagine a customer calling for detailed, technical information about your products and services. These calls can be cumbersome for customer service employees who don't possess the technical knowledge about a specific product or service. Now imagine those same customer service employees having a comprehensive menu on their computer screens describing the Unifyexact technical knowledge about that specific product or service, as well as other detailed information the inquiring customer can use to make an informed decision right away.
In the world of UC (Unified Communications), technical customer service calls are handled and processed much differently than they were just a decade ago.
Transitioning to a UC platform improves communications both internally and externally by arming employees with better technology tools that add value to the overall communication process. This article contains helpful knowledge and insights to assist you in the transition to a unified communications platform.
UC is essentially a unified platform for communications in all its forms. Potentially, this can include land-lines and cellular phones, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), VoIP, IP-PBX, fax, voice mail, conference calls, video conferencing, whiteboard and unified messaging. Your employees will have presence within your business communications - whether they are physically in the office or not.
The concept of presence is easy to understand within instant messaging where a "buddy status" is available at a glance. UC takes this a step further by grouping these "buddies" together by specialized skills and attaching them to specific knowledge areas. All of this would be available at a glance.
UC allows for real-time delivery of all these forms of communication within a single environment that users can access within a simple interface. For example, customer service staff could have a list of employees knowledgeable about a product, along with the best method for immediately contacting that person who has the correct answers about the details of the product.
By clicking on a contact icon, a call can be made, or even a page or a whiteboard session accessed to bridge key information on the product, customer and employee Unifycontacts simultaneously. If your business doesn't already have it, Unified Messaging (UM) can offer communications integration, albeit on a smaller scale than UC.
Unified Messaging is capable of grouping together communications from different sources, such as e-mail, faxes and voice mail, but does not allow (in all instances) real-time delivery. Unified Messaging systems store these multi-platform communications for the user to access information at his or her discretion.
Still, nowadays, UM does provide improved communication synchronization to an extent that was not available just a decade ago. It is important to understand that while UM does offer efficiencies by grouping communications together; it is not the same thing as UC. Oftentimes, these terms are interchanged and interpreted to have the same meaning.
Again, they are not the same. Tying communications together in a UC platform can have a tremendous positive impact on productivity at your business. Businesses with offices across the globe have an excellent opportunity to synchronize communications as they occur around the clock in real time. Additional functionality allows calls to be routed according to preset rules.
For example, if an employee is working at a remote location outside the office, the UC system can route a call to their cell phone and then a voice message into their voice mail. At the heart of UC is the Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology that allows analog phone conversations to be transmitted over the Internet. UC basically expands that functionality by allowing other communications through the same protocol. Transitioning to UC does not have to be an overwhelming process.
First, consider what usable technology your business already has and how those assets could be integrated into the new platform. Consider what communications are already transmitted utilizing the Internet Protocol (IP). It could be that your business is only a few steps away from integrating these into a truly unified format that dramatically increases productivity.
Another benefit of introducing UC to your business is enhanced security within your company's communications that was never present before. Without UC, communications occur over multiple data formats using multiple protocols, and you may not have control over certain information. Integrating these data formats using UC gives your company the ability to better manage the overall communications process.
The necessary equipment for creating a UC infrastructure includes various software applications and hardware equipment. The Microsoft version of the UC solution is built around the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and the Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 for the interface. Microsoft, of course, is geared toward the software UC solution. Its server software is designed to be deployed on a dedicated communications server.
Cisco, the IT hardware equipment manufacturer most widely known for its routers and switches and its reputation as the "backbone of the Internet," also offers software UC solutions, along with the necessary hardware equipment. Cisco is more widely known as a hardware company; so naturally, the company's UC solution is more hardware-based.