Startups in the realms of big data, artificial intelligence, edge computing and voice recognition showed great promise last year, as did remote healthcare providers and education services. While these domains might be up and coming, the often fragmented nature of ambitious startups – creative, but time-starved—has stayed consistent over the years. However, founders and entrepreneurs can help bring a world of change to such companies – and be in tandem with the speed of changing customer preferences – by moving towards cloud telephony solutions. A suite of Internet-based services that focus on agility, maximum uptime and efficiency, they’re the proverbial grease in the machine that helps a new company avoid slowdowns and carve a niche for themselves among thousands.
If your startup has faced troubleshooting of late, here’s five ways cloud telephony solutions can make things right:
Supplement the lean nature of a startup
Fast-paced, time-crunched and a small margin for error—startups may offer high gains if all goes well, but there’s no denying the skeletal structure of the initial team and operations. More often than not, employees juggle multiple roles to get the final product or service out on time, and that requires undivided attention. To make sure that there is no deviation in focus from core business tasks (management, processing, marketing, accounting, customer interaction, etc), a minimal team requires a maximised support system—and we don’t just mean multiple rounds of coffee. Opting for a cloud telephony service can offer automation, flexibility, easy monitoring and technical finesse to take the stress off of employees.
Since all operations are handled from centra, user-friendly dashboard on the cloud, startups also save on expenditure that would have gone into buying and maintaining hardware systems. If you’ve got good Internet, the cloud telephony service provider will do the rest, and you can better use the capital elsewhere.
Startups can also have a volatile nature, but cloud telephony solutions iron out these wrinkles with their inherent scalability. A suitable package can help adjust to shifts in location, take over certain tasks during layoffs, and provide software upgrades to grow alongside the brand’s ambitions.
Impress potential investors
A popular maxim in the tech world is that the future has arrived—it’s just not evenly distributed. If that is the case, who wouldn’t love to be the early adopter to make heads turn?
Aside from a stellar product, investors look for innovation, ambition and strong decision making from startups. A recent IBM report found that 90 per cent of Indian startups fail within their first five years due to a lack of innovation, and we’re sure you don’t want to add to this statistic.
Cloud telephony has already seen adoption in several countries as an effortless solution to improve workflows. For any forward-thinking brand worth its salt, buying a cloud telephony bundle that guarantees automation and diversity in services—via voice, video, or data mediums—is a sureshot approach to let angel investors know that you, as a driven CEO, know when to bring in novelty, where to funnel human resource and where to reserve it, and that their seed capital will bear fruit.
Power ahead of your competition
This is where a cloud telephony suite gets the most creative. For starters, to boost firebrand campaigns, you can buy into a voice broadcasting feature that conveys key brand messaging to segmented markets and receptive audiences. This could then be amplified with missed call campaigns as periodic reminders to sample your startup’s product or services. Another option is to opt for a bulk sms service to reach out to the market. Once your audience is interested, you can add a click to call widget on your startup’s website to quickly capture this lead. Finally, find out what’s working best using real-time analytics from a central dashboard. Customised reports and trends help upper management proactively map out success stories—while you might choose to trust subjective employee reports, but data has unflinching validity, and is a safer foundation on which to pivot brand strategies.
But not everyone plays nice. In case there’s chances of foul play from competitors, cloud telephony solutions also include robust security features. This normally entails firewalls, standard encryption, and intrusion protection to protect confidential client data, company databases, and any trade secrets stored on the network.
Keep a close eye on performance, without logistical burdens
There’s a few different ways to do this. The most commonly-known is call recording, where one can have a voice call database of customer conversations to figure out what’s succeeding, what needs refining and what are the major pitfalls. Administrators or supervisors can also monitor live calls so that they may later train employees on manners of conversation and problem solving. Critical reviews are important here, for genuine growth. Customers could either be calling from a toll-free number generated by your cloud telephony provider, or be discussing grievances via chat.
If there isn’t enough manpower for phone calls—or enough time—an SMS service is a smart idea to gain feedback about your startup’s highs and lows. The same service could also be used to contact customers for when a product is ready for shipping and use, or to alert operators about any dropped calls.
Maintain an enviable brand image
If you’ve finished and just rolled out your product, then a considerable chunk of your energies must be devoted to lead generation and creating brand awareness. During this period, the less downtime you have while interacting with potential customers, the better. Hiring multiple operators on shifts, with multiple lines, isn’t a reality when your seed capital is stretched out thinly, nor is having a larger contact centre. This is when an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system comes into play.
Instead of a single phone line that puts callers into a queue, or even lead to missed calls, IVR will direct customers to a customised and pre-recorded list of queries they can choose from before they get connected to a representative or a specific department. This saves time, allows requests to be efficiently forwarded in a silo format, and has room for a callback option in case the representative is busy. No grumbling on a customer’s end, no fumbling by employees to cover all bases.
Modern-day customers are also particular about their privacy, and signing up for a number masking service from a cloud telephony operator strengthens the circles of comfort and confidentiality. When connecting with the startup, both the customer and the representative are automatically assigned unique virtual private numbers. This ensures neither side gets access to private information, and is especially useful for last-mile delivery tracking or short-term interactions. In a nutshell, cloud telephony can take care of the gamut of departments that a startup’s employees shuffle through daily. Encompassing branding, logistics, monitoring, performance reviews, and lead generation, it lays a credible framework for investors in the digital age to scope out and trust entrepreneurs with their money. This sense of conviction is the cornerstone of growth – be it in the hands of a single proprietor, or as a partnership. A cloud telephony suite, thus, can be the breezy stepping stone that’ll help an enterprise to become enterprising.
Vanita Arora is a marketing enthusiast. She is currently working with a leading cloud telephony provider that specializes in providing IVR Services. Reading novels, travelling, researching new online marketing trends are some of her interest areas that keep her rejuvenated.