Tuesday 14th January 2020

Connecting communications to your finances Q&A

The world of Telecoms is an ever-changing and evolving industry. Over recent years we have seen the roll out of Fibre Optic Broadband at an extensive level, resulting in new telecoms services being delivered to a high standard of quality and reliability.

As a result of these advancements, in 2015 BT announced their decision to terminate the provision of ISDN services in 2021 and switch off the lines by 2025. This is a decision that will affect many businesses that have yet to upgrade their telecoms infrastructure. Ron Griffiths, Managing Director of RPS Technology Solutions answers your questions on how these changes are going to affect businesses across the country.

Q. What are your recommendations for businesses looking to stay ahead of these changes?

Following the announcement, businesses will need to move over to the newer Voice over IP services that have replaced the outdated ISDN ones. VoIP services are now provided by a number of companies, not just major telecommunications firms. Many smaller providers have invested in their own networks and platforms in order to deliver services quicker and provide better support, as they aren’t reliant on the major companies who have been inherently slow in areas of delivery and support. Smaller firms work very closely with their clients, providing a personalised service that is tailored to the client’s exact requirements.

Q. How are these new technologies delivered?

There are a number of methods to deliver these new technologies and services. From the option to replace or upgrade existing premise equipment to use the new technologies via SIP Trunks, however, it is generally considered that this method still limits businesses in regard to future expansion, and can sometimes lack integration for multiple offices and doesn’t bring many of the new feature sets into the business.

Where businesses have adopted these new technologies, ‘hosted services’ are leading the way. As companies have utilised hosted platforms for their business software packages such as email and office facilities, it should be natural transition to using the cloud for their telephony through an Saas (Software as a Service) model where businesses pay as they go using an OPEX model rather than large upfront investments, therefore managing cash flow more effectively.

Q. How can a new telecoms system benefit my business?

There are significant savings to be made. Due to the nature of technologies moving from proprietary to more of an open standards environment the cost of such services have reduced considerably, so not only can significant savings be made but deployed and used in correct way can actually derive new and protect revenues by being able to serve more clients more easily.

To understand the value of a missed phone call, think of a hairdresser. If the average haircut costs £50 and the average number of haircuts a person has per year is 8-10, then missing that call could result in a missed revenue opportunity of £500 per year. Now say you miss one call per week, you could be missing the opportunity for an additional £25,000 in revenue per year.

Where a small business has 1 or 2 analogue lines that are able to receive calls across the broadband, being distributed to a number of phones or softphones on mobiles, then less calls are missed, resulting in retention of existing clients plus gaining additional new customers.

Making use of other methods such as queuing calls and announcing a caller’s ‘Position in Queue’ helps stop callers hanging up. You can do this by using softphone applications that run via an employee’s phone also prevents calls going unanswered. When combined with voicemail and email, even further calls can be captured and returned within a matter of minutes, enhancing the ‘Customer Experience’.

Are there any points to consider before investing in a new system?

The biggest thing to hit the SME world in the last two decades has been the rise of digital technology. Businesses should consider their long-term goals and predictions before deploying new technologies.

Companies can often have ‘mini’ call centres within their organisation, and with new services it is becoming cost effectively deliverable to maximise this functionality to drive business performance improvements. You often see companies with booking desks/systems, help desks or support numbers and sales lines. The deployment of ‘call centre’ services can vastly improve their business costs and sales/customer service capabilities.

When choosing a telecoms provider, it’s not just cost-saving that should be considered. Businesses should choose a company that not only delivers your phone systems, but really delves into the customers operational methodology helping to deliver performance improvements.

For more information please call 01633 481424