It’s commonplace for business owners to use several devices to communicate, including landline phones, mobile phones, instant messaging, web and video conferencing, and more in any given work day. While all this innovation should translate into increased productivity, improved customer service and more opportunities for collaboration, the result is often a communication overload.

Keeping track of what information was exchanged by phone, text message, chat, voicemail or email can quickly become daunting. Even the most organized business owners can miss an email or two or forget to check voicemail, while in the midst of IM-ing and texting. One way to streamline all the chatter is to unify your communication system.

Unified communications (UC) is a term used to describe the integration of a business’ many devices to simplify communication. Basically, UC allows users to receive and respond to a communication in their preferred form, regardless of how it is sent. For example, if a client leaves a voicemail message, the owner is able to check it through email or text because his or her communication tools are synced up.

Here are four ways that a UC can enhance your company’s operations.


1. Improve collaboration
Whether you work with in-house or remote employees, UC makes collaboration among team members much easier. Rather than sending emails back and forth or losing track of project status, vendor orders or who was handling a customer’s complaint, a unified, cloud-based system can ensure that a file is locked when someone else is working on it or an alert is sent to other team members when it’s been updated. Team members also can connect with key data from any place that has an internet connection. This allows remote teams to hold meetings or collaborate from any location, or a business owner to meet with a client en route to another client meeting.


2. Close information-sharing gaps
According to Laura Nunemaker, an online marketing and social media specialist for small businesses, another benefit of a UC system is that it ensures calls, emails or other opportunities are not overlooked. For example, if your sales rep receives a voicemail from a hot prospect, it could potentially get missed if that rep is out of the office or working with another customer. However, with UC, you and members of your team can direct any call or email to the person who is best suited to respond to it—even if key people are not available, or if the office is closed for a holiday.

Spectrum Business can help guide you through choosing a UC system that’s right for your business.

3. Gain more insight into customer interactions
Beyond greater efficiency and productivity, UC can also provide your company with valuable insights, bringing the business and its customers together in a way that allows the company to cover all aspects of sales, customer service and support simultaneously. Many UC systems allow you to record and listen to conversations. By accessing details about previous calls or interactions, you can help inform employees for the next customer interaction. So, for example, if a customer called a salon to learn about a new service, the employee who picked up the call would be able to instantly access available information about that customer (what products she had previously inquired about, whether she had an upcoming appointment scheduled, or her recent reviews of products), regardless of whether that employee ever met the customer on the phone.


4. Lower communication costs
Most unified systems can be set up online in minutes, and updates are made to the system automatically, with no need for appointments with IT reps or the purchase of additional hardware. By folding all costs into the same streamlined system, you will also be in a better position to negotiate prices and rates than when paying for each service or equipment cost separately.

Before you add another device or platform to your list of communication tools, take a few minutes to evaluate how you can unify your methods of communication to increase the productivity in your business.

By folding all costs into the same streamlined system, you will also be in a better position to negotiate prices and rates than when paying for each service or equipment cost separately.

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