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Faster, Smarter, Better: Hosted Voice Gives Your Business New Communications Tools and a Competitive Edge

May 09, 2018

Leveraging the power of the cloud, hosted voice can improve accessibility, ensure business continuity, and support new trends like telecommuting.

Read the Faster, Smarter, Better: Hosted Voice Gives Your Business New Communications Tools and a Competitive Edge Guide.

There are a lot of ways to describe the growth of cloud-based services: rapid, burgeoning, and even, perhaps, dramatic. But one thing it isn’t is surprising – that growth makes a lot of sense. Hosted applications can change – and dramatically improve – the way businesses work. Nowhere, perhaps, is that more apparent than when it comes to hosted voice.

Today’s businesses need to be mobile and nimble. They need to move fast and often move wide, increasing their footprint without increasing their headaches. They need to be responsive to customers and foster collaboration between employees. In this guide, created by Comcast Business, companies can see how hosted voice is uniquely positioned to support, and boost, all of these traits – traits that aren’t just good for business, but crucial for success.

In the article that follows, we’ll look at topics including:

  • How hosted voice empowers today’s increasingly mobile workforce.

  • The unique – and productivity enhancing – features of cloud-based voice.

  • How the best hosted voice systems are flexible enough to let your employees work the way they like, with the devices they prefer.

Putting the muscle in mobility: how hosted voice untethers your workforce

Not long ago, an employee away from their desk was an employee with limited ability to get the job done. Many of the resources they’d need – like quick access to people and information – were often lacking, resulting in delays and inefficiency. Today, that’s no longer the case. Mobile technologies – led by smartphones, laptops, and high-speed networks – are empowering off-site workers to an unprecedented degree. Not surprisingly, these tools are rapidly catching on. According to Statista, in 2017, over 67% of the US population used a smartphone which is more than a threefold increase since 2010.[1]

But there’s a challenge: How to leverage these new capabilities to give employees more mobility, and to give companies optimal results. Hosted voice is one-way forward-thinking businesses are doing just that.

With cloud-based voice, it is the system’s provider that houses and operates the core hardware and software. This service makes the user’s location irrelevant. No longer do employees need to be hardwired into an on-premises infrastructure to use their full suite of communications tools, from voicemail to conferencing to speed dialing. Instead, they need only access the cloud from their phone or laptop. And with hosted voice, it’s not just traditional tools that users get, but special features expressly designed for mobile users, such as voicemail-to-email capability and a single phone number that rings on any designated device.

The result: a business operating with improved efficiency – and gaining a competitive edge. Indeed, hosted voice makes the following not just possible, but easily achievable:

  • Improved customer communications. When customers can reach their business contacts via a single number – thanks to cloud-based features like “Be Anywhere” from Comcast Business VoiceEdge™ – they can get faster responses and attention. From troubleshooting to purchase orders, callers can get what they need faster. That translates into better customer service – and stronger customer relationships.

  • Better collaboration with colleagues – and a jump start on innovation. Getting ahead of the competition – and staying there – requires innovation and rapid development cycles. By giving employees the same communications tools on the go as they have in the office, cloud-based voice helps keep them connected and accessible. A sudden stroke of genius can get communicated, and acted upon, immediately – and collaboration no longer has to wait until everyone is back at their desks. Colleagues can invite, initiate, moderate and participate on a conference call from their desk or on the road with ease. A simple click of a link launches collaboration.

  • Improved productivity. The advanced features of hosted voice don’t just boost accessibility, but flexibility. Employees can work more effectively no matter where they are, and under conditions that would previously bring business to a halt. When inclement weather – or a sudden emergency – shuts an office, your workforce can still leverage a full suite of voice communications tools. Even when more mundane events – like a mid-day dental appointment – pop up, productivity doesn’t have to suffer. With Business VoiceEdge, users can start a call on their office phone and then switch seamlessly to their cell phone. So, they can take care of your business even when they have to take care of their own.

The anywhere, anytime office: with hosted voice, productivity is no longer deskbound

For businesses looking to expand, leverage mobility, and improve customer service, cloud-based voice offers a secret weapon. Actually, it offers several. Advanced features help keep employees accessible and productive no matter where they are – which keeps them in the know, and on top of crucial matters. To see how these capabilities can enhance the way your business works, consider two core features of Comcast’s Business VoiceEdge, a hosted voice solution:

  • Be Anywhere. Today’s employees are increasingly mobile, working from home, from branch offices and client sites, and from hotels and airports. They’re also working on an array of devices, including smartphones and laptops. Comcast Business’ “Be Anywhere” feature gives them the flexibility to work where, and how, they want, yet still be readily available for customers, clients, and colleagues. With “Be Anywhere,” Business VoiceEdge users are reachable via a single phone number – so callers need not remember multiple different numbers and hope they dial the right one. Users can choose which device rings – such as their cell phone, home phone, or laptop – when someone dials their office number. They can even set “Be Anywhere” to ring all of their devices simultaneously, with the call automatically handled by whichever answers first. The result: seamless mobility – and the ability to act, and interact, wherever and whenever you need to.

  • Remote Office. Receiving business calls outside the office is critical, but so too is the ability to make and manage them. The “Remote Office” feature is about accessing calling features, like call forwarding - while you are remote - as easily as if you were sitting at your desk by signing into “My Account” in the Business VoiceEdge application.

The “Remote Office” features allow you to manage your business phone from anywhere using your choice of Comcast provided tools: My Account, Business VoiceEdge Companion App or Comcast Business App. With these tools, you can always be accessible. For example, you can update your Be Anywhere settings from the web portal, leverage your Keypad from desktop to make calls, or the mobile app by transferring an active call to your cell phone seamlessly.

Cloud-based voice may make location irrelevant, but your company’s performance will never be. The advanced features of Business VoiceEdge help keep your business running smoothly – and help keep you ahead of the pack.

Productivity made to order: hosted voice fits in with any workstyle

Cloud-based voice delivers financial benefits and eliminates support and maintenance headaches – great news for the C-suite. But what employees want to know is how it impacts the way they do their job. Flexibility is key: Different users rely on different tools, whether it is a traditional phone, smartphone, or laptop. The best hosted voice solutions understand this, and are designed to fit in with any workstyle – to maximize it instead of disrupting it. Comcast’s Business VoiceEdge, for example, features unique components that let employees leverage their tools of choice.

  • Comcast Business App. Available as a free download for both iOS and Android, the Comcast Business App enables subscribers to set and change their ‘Be Anywhere’ settings from their smartphone – so they are readily available to anyone dialing their office phone number. The app – which features an intuitive user interface designed for smaller screens – also provides access to their company’s directory, as well as their voicemail. Users can take advantage of extension dialing, too. And of course, any calls made through the app display the user’s business phone number on the other end. So to customers, colleagues, and clients, it will always appear that you’re sitting at your desk – even when you are thousands of miles away from it. Additionally, you can invite participants, start a call and manage a conference call all from your smartphone. All of the Audio Conferencing features are enabled on your mobile device as well as your computer.

  • Business VoiceEdge Softphone. Laptop-toting employees also need a full suite of voice features – and the Business VoiceEdge softphone gives them just that. The software, which works with any PC or Mac, lets users make and receive calls, dial by extension, access voicemail, and forward calls – just like a traditional business phone. But there the similarities end. Softphone users get some handy additional touches, including the ability to see in-coming call alerts while working within an application (such as email or word processing). They’ll have the option to take the call, or forward it accordingly – so they can keep working, or drop everything, as circumstances warrant.

Cloud-based voice has the potential to revolutionize the way people work – and with advanced features like these, that potential can quickly be realized.

Conclusion

For today’s businesses, success comes with a long list of prerequisites: agility; mobility; the ability to innovate and provide top-notch customer support. Hosted voice fosters all of these goals – and does so while proving cutting-edge communications tools. Leveraging the power of the cloud, hosted voice can improve accessibility, ensure business continuity, support new trends like telecommuting, and make costs far more manageable and predictable. And the best news of all: This is just the baseline. The most compelling hosted voice systems provide advanced capabilities – like the Comcast Business App and ‘Be Anywhere’ feature – that turbocharge your employees’ mobility and bolster your customer relationships.

Cloud-based voice isn’t simply a new model for communications. It’s a model designed expressly for the way businesses work – or should be working – today. It lets vendors focus on running and maintaining the technology, while companies focus on the innovations and service that bring them growth – and competitive advantage.

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