“As MSMEs grow, cloud telephony is the system that can grow with their needs”
Technology for MSMEs: For centuries, MSMEs have been disadvantaged because they could not afford technologies such as voicemail, IVR, call routing capabilities and other advanced features.
By Chaitanya Chokkareddy
Technology for MSMEs: Imagine calling a call center where, after a long wait, you get an overworked representative who takes their time to figure out what service you need and connects you, or you might end up shuttling between departments. until you find the right one. Now consider calling a call center where you get an appropriate IVR message asking you to choose from a set menu according to your needs and guides you to the appropriate department immediately. Which experience do you prefer? Obviously, the second.
For centuries, MSMEs have been disadvantaged because they could not afford technologies such as voicemail, IVR, call routing capabilities and other advanced features. But today, cloud phone services have enabled businesses of all sizes to call or receive calls directly from any computer, laptop or mobile device with an internet connection. According to the recent Global Industry Analysts study, the global cloud telephony services market size was $13.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $34.5 billion by the end of 2026, with a CAGR by 16.8%. The study also indicates that SMBs are expected to register a CAGR of 18.1% with a market size reaching $14.1 billion by 2026.
As MSMEs grow, they need a system that can grow with their needs. With on-premises phone systems, a server called a private branch exchange (or PBX) is required. Some of them are scalable, but others won’t scale beyond a certain number of users. So businesses could end up paying for, say, 12 users when they only need nine lines.
With cloud telephony, adding a user to a cloud phone system is just a click away. You buy capacity for the exact number of users you have, and adding another user is as easy as ordering service and plugging in another phone. You can also easily add a new extension or include more agent licenses without making infrastructure changes that would incur substantial costs and take time.
The scalability advantage that cloud telephony offers is especially useful for today’s hybrid work models. Cloud systems have immediate built-in business continuity and are unaffected by localized issues including power outages or natural disasters. It also helps businesses to switch agents to work from anywhere (WFA) when needed and even if something happens near a data center there are redundancies and power generators back-up, making communications systems disaster-proof.
When it comes to integration, it’s impossible to integrate traditional systems with other commercial tools. When a sales rep (rep) talks to a prospect, there’s so much going on in the background – notes to take, follow-ups to settle, leads to follow up on. Cloud telephony helps businesses integrate their phone systems with CRM solutions or help desks without switching between tools. Such integrations help automate reminders, automate lead form responses, and more.
Additionally, enabling artificial intelligence (AI) makes it easy for businesses to deliver a superior customer experience at scale, as L1 requests can be easily handled by self-service and bots. This means faster responses to simple queries and reduced wait times for customers who need to connect with a representative. Additionally, bots can be combined with a dialer to automate collection calls, provide proactive support and reminders. Such integrations make it easier and faster to train sales reps with speech analytics and AI-powered agent assistants.
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Cloud telephony also helps startups and MSMEs with cost savings. With phones, businesses must pay phone and cable charges, install servers, hire technical help, and rent space to house phone systems. There are also recurring maintenance fees and contracts that keep you locked in with this setting for at least 3-5 years. Cloud telephony has no hardware or installation costs and requires no capital expenditure, minimal maintenance and IT costs. Other advantages include data security, mobility, powerful analysis and reporting capabilities, easy implementation, etc.
While there are many solutions available in the market, the one that stands out for startups and MSMEs are virtual numbers, also known as direct inward dialing (DID) numbers. Virtual numbers are phone numbers without a physical link extension. They hide the phone number of the actual device on which calls are answered or made. Although these numbers only exist virtually, calls to these phone numbers can be routed to existing landlines or mobiles. An advantage of virtual numbers is that they can be shared between several landlines. Businesses can buy a single virtual number or multiple virtual numbers depending on how they want to use them.
Technology has advanced rapidly. Whether you are a startup, an MSME or a large enterprise, cloud telephony has been widely used by businesses today, taking over the conventional phone system. He played a vital role in the consolidation of several emerging economies like India. With so much in store for the cloud in the years to come, it’s not hard to imagine what lurks over the horizon. MSMEs are poised to make the most of cloud telephony with the benefits of affordability, scalability and reliability as they expand their customer base globally.
Chaitanya Chokkareddy is Director of Innovation at Ozonetel. The opinions expressed are those of the author.
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