How Unified Communications Transforms Small Business Operations
Even small businesses can have big communications challenges. Unified communications gives your team all the tools and information they need to connect with customers and co-workers anytime, from anywhere.
With the right integrations, your team can access not only multichannel communications tools but also customer relationship management (CRM) and other key business systems—all with a single login on any device.
To better understand what a difference a communications platform can make, consider a day in the life of Jessica, a sales director for a B2B software development firm.
Small Business Operations Before Unified Communications
8:00 a.m.: Gets to work
Jessica arrives early to check her email and plan her day. Aside from managing her team, meeting with prospective clients, and collaborating with leaders from other departments, Jessica's inbox is always full, and her phone will be ringing off the hook by 9 a.m.
9:00 a.m.: Greets new hire
Jessica needs her new sales rep, Theo, to get up to speed ASAP, but the two overworked IT engineers haven't had time to set up his workstation. They're doing it now, but it will be hours before Theo has a computer, phone, and all the business apps Jessica needs to train him to use.
9:30 a.m.: Gets a customer complaint about slow customer service
An important new client calls to complain about long wait times for tech support. Jessica apologizes and ensures him the company is actively recruiting new agents for the growing business. She doesn't mention the outdated technology and inefficient processes that are slowing agents down.
10:00 a.m.: Fields calls for others
Jessica hangs up to find three new voicemails, all with questions that someone else could (or should) be answering. One customer needs a billing statement, another has a technical question, and the third couldn't remember his sales rep's phone extension. Jessica calls them back with contact information for the right staff members.
11:00 a.m.: Prepares for a lunch meeting
Jessica was supposed to meet her top seller, Simon, and his top prospect for lunch, but Simon is sick today. Simon sent her notes after each previous meeting with this client. She crosses her fingers as she checks the CRM, but the entry is incomplete and outdated, so she must search through old emails and shared files.
11:45 a.m.: Misses important call
Minutes after Jessica leaves for lunch, the buyer calls to say she'll be an hour late. Jessica doesn't get the message in time and wastes an hour waiting when she could have been working.
1:00 p.m.: Returns to office
Jessica seals the deal at lunch. Back at her desk, she logs into the CRM system to update the client profile, then logs into G Suite to access the contract template, user agreements, and other paperwork new clients need to sign.
2:00 p.m.: Checks on Theo
Hoping to finally start training Theo, Jessica visits his desk to find an IT engineer still setting up his new computer. The engineer explains that he got sidetracked by other urgent matters this morning, including setting up a VPN so Simon could work remotely.
3:00 p.m.: Finally trains Theo
Jessica briefly walks him through the CRM system and sales enablement solutions he'll use each day. She directs him to training resources and sales process descriptions that she wrote up for new hires. She tells him her door is always open if he has questions, and he almost certainly will.
4:00 p.m.: Learns about unified communications at an executive meeting
Jessica isn't the only one tired of fielding calls for others, missing important communications, and searching informational silos for data she needs to do her job. Other leaders in the company want to shore up operational inefficiencies, and the IT director has a solution: unified communications with CRM integration and communication application programming interfaces that enable SMS, chatbots, live video, and more.
Small Business Operations After Unified Communications
8:45 a.m.: Gets to work
Jessica no longer arrives at work an hour early. With cloud-based communications and the ability to access data from other work apps with a single log-in from any device, she can get a jumpstart on her day from home or on the way to work.
9:00 a.m.: Greets new hire
Jessica gives Theo a laptop, an email address, and a temporary password to log into the unified communications platform (no IT involvement necessary). She introduces him to the various sales enablement apps but explains he can get all the important information he needs inside the communications platform. She suggests that he listen to the last few sales team meetings, which she recorded and stored using the unified communications solution. She also recorded video training sessions, so every new hire gets the same information, and she can spend less time answering the same questions.
9:30 a.m.: Gets a customer compliment
An important new client calls to praise Jessica's company for an excellent customer experience. His team appreciates the multichannel communications options, the chatbots for simple interactions, and the consistently fast response from individuals across departments. Jessica knows it's because the unified communications system's virtual receptionist helps calls get to the right staff member. That employee sees a pop-up with customer data from CRM, so they know exactly who's calling, have context for why they're calling, and know how to answer their questions.
10:00 a.m.: Makes sales calls
Thanks to the virtual receptionist, Jessica no longer gets calls that other people should be handling, so she has more time to make sales calls, check in with loyal customers, and think about big-picture sales goals and strategies.
11:30 a.m.: Preps for a lunch meeting
It doesn't take long to prep for her lunch meeting with Simon's client. Thanks to the CRM integration, Simon was prompted after every call to update the client profile, so he entered his notes while the experience was still fresh in his mind, and he linked all relevant documents stored in G Suite.
11:45 a.m.: Reschedules meeting
Minutes after Jessica leaves for lunch, the buyer calls to say she'll be an hour late. When Jessica doesn't answer her desk phone, the call goes to her mobile phone, so she learns about the delay before she leaves the office parking lot.
2:00 p.m.: Returns to office
Jessica seals the deal at lunch. Before she leaves the table, she uses her mobile phone to access the new-client paperwork and sends those documents to the client during dessert. By the time she returns to her desk, the client has returned the forms and the new partnership is official.
2:15 p.m.: Takes advantage of the time saved
By mid-day, Jessica has already done a day's worth of work. She uses that time to review call analytics, coach her team, and build her own sales pipeline.
With a robust communications solution, your team can also streamline operations, boost productivity, and improve the employee experience. The technology scales as your business grows, so you can easily add new employees or even add a virtual omnichannel call center. Your team can work from home or on the go and never miss an important call. That's the difference that unified communications can make.
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