In the age of multichannel communications, with IM, social media and email all exciting additions to the business communications portfolio, the phone continues to be a hugely important channel, and very often the medium for getting real business done. But all too often the phone systems we are using are from the digital dark ages, without all of these additional features and integrations. So why aren’t we investing in the latest technology that enables businesses to meet modern challenges and get more from this communications staple?

The phone system has not been left behind, with IP telephony moving the phone system to the cloud alongside newer digital channels. By moving to a fully hosted cloud PBX system, businesses could be taking advantage of numerous business benefits that may otherwise be unrealised. Yet despite this, many businesses continue to use ageing on premise PBX systems, which are just not as well-equipped to deal with the communications challenges of today’s distributed office and mobile workforce.

  1.  Better Phones Equals Better Customer Service

Modern communications are forcing all types of businesses to become more customer centric, but this is not just about being able to offer online chat and reply to a tweet within 20 minutes. It’s about fully integrated efficient customer communication channels, and your phone system should be at the very heart of this.

This is completely possible with a cloud PBX system. You may not be running a contact centre, but that isn’t to say your front desk, finance department, helpdesk or sales or support team, can’t benefit from the latest technology in the contact centre space, helping them to operate more efficiently and offer a better level of customer service.

When you have multiple locations, homeworkers and staff out on the road, a cloud PBX system can connect all that up seamlessly so if a customer is trying to reach their account manager, they’ll either reach their office, home or mobile via a soft phone client, without even realising their call’s been diverted.

  1.  Your Phone System Can Tell You How To Run A Better Business

Another assumption about the phone system that’s a product of its long history in business is that it does one job; to enable you to speak to someone else in another location. It’s a functional service, not the source of a great wealth of business intelligence. Once again, using a cloud PBX system, there’s a lot that the average business can learn from the contact centre space, where service levels are measured in call times down to the second.

With an on-premise phone system you might have short codes set up for different accounts or activities, to get a bit of an idea of what call times match what. But the reality is that these are difficult to adhere to or learn much from. A cloud PBX system can give you a detailed picture of how your business is servicing its customers, with data on call waiting, queuing and productivity down to account, site, department or extension levels.

  1.  As Easy As Outsourcing Electricity

In 1910, nearly half of all businesses would have managed their own electricity generator, but not now. The same goes for telephony, unless you’re a telecoms company, why would you manage a phone system on site in 2014? With today’s super fast and reliable IP networks, there really is no reason to.

We’re all well aware that business communications are coming of age, but yet we often forget that the old mainstay, the phone system, can cut it with the best of them. Ask your marketing team what they are doing to improve customer experience and they are likely to tell you about mobile app strategy, social media response times and what they’ve achieved with A/B testing on the website. The phone system can offer the same personal touch it has always done, while being every bit as useful as the new digital channels in terms of helping you understand your business and how it can be more efficient.