What Are Unified Communications

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Definition of Unified Communications

According to Gartner, unified communications (UC) products — equipment, software, and services — provide and combine multiple enterprise communications channels, such as voice, video, personal and team messaging, voicemail, and content sharing.

This can include control, management, and integration of these channels. Unified communications products and services can also be integrated with networks and systems, IT business applications, and, in some cases, consumer applications and devices.

So, in a nutshell, an all-in-one system for customer communications.

To respond faster to customer inquiries, businesses of all sizes should consider investing in unified communication software.

For instance, centralizing all customer communications from Facebook, WhatsApp, SMS, email, live chat, voice, etc. will not only give you a broad view of past customer conversations, but also a helicopter view of how customer support handled different customer interactions.

If you want to learn more about what unified communications are and how they can transform your digital communications, then read on.

unified communications

Examples of Unified Communications

The purpose of unified communications is to integrate software for synchronous and asynchronous communication that enables users to access tools from one place. This supports collaboration, efficiency, and seamless integrations.

Each unified communication platform can have the following technologies:

  • Voice communications – mobile, landline, inbound/outbound communications systems
  • Meeting solutions – voice/video/web conferencing systems, including screen sharing and recording
  • Messaging – SMS, Rich Media Messaging, chatbots, voicemail, messaging apps
  • Enterprise social networking
  • Calendars and other scheduling tools
  • Business communication gateways

Traditional, IP, cloud-based private branch exchange

A unified communication platform should be able to integrate easily into third-party systems such as CRMs, marketing software, contact centers, and other apps. They are usually used by CPaaS (Communication Platform As A Service) companies to improve efficiency in their business-to-customer communications.

With the CPaaS industry in hyper-growth, businesses are turning to unified communication platforms more than ever. And what’s not to love when talking about simplifying customer communications into a single view?

Experts forecast that the CPaaS industry will generate more than $34 billion in sales by 2026. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 95% of global enterprises will utilize API-enabled CPaaS offerings to up level their digital competitiveness.

Benefits of Unified Communications

Depending on the type of business that you are running, you might or might not need a unified communication platform.

For example, let’s say you are an eCommerce business owner, and you provide assistance through live chat communication and work with a call center to provide customer support via telephone.

You also send out one-way text messages every time an order gets shipped, and one SMS for collecting customer feedback post-purchase.

On top of that, you make sure your customers are aware of the promotions you are seasonally running, and you send them rich messages where they can view the latest discounts and offers.

To increase your brand awareness and make sure your messages are seen, you keep regular communication via email through a bi-weekly nurturing campaign.

Of course, you’d love to connect all these systems into a single view and track customer data to make better decisions. But you might encounter IT resistance, limited budgets, and a lot of engineering work.

But there’s no need for all of this. A unified communication platform allows you to consolidate and simplify all customer channels, without spending a lot of money and development work.

Some of the main benefits of a unified communication software provider are:

  • Improving customer messaging
  • Streamlining communication tools
  • Enhances communication and collaboration
  • Facilitates remote working
  • Cost-effective
  • Manages in-house communications
  • Highly scalable and can grow with your business

unified communication strategy

Adopting a Unified Communication Strategy

Unifying communication systems might be scary at first. But it’s easier than you think. Adopting a unified communication strategy begins with the intention to streamline all customer messaging.

Then, the fun begins. Let’s look at a few stages that are important in developing a successful strategy:

Build Your Team

Involve key people from different teams and departments in the planning. A successful strategy requires teamwork, cooperation, and productivity. More so, everyone needs to share their ideas and specific needs.

Brainstorm All Needs

Why do you need a unified communication system in the first place? Remember that each department might struggle differently to communicate with customers. A high volume of inbound calls hits differently than an automated text message. So, make sure you make a list of requirements, challenges, and criteria to prioritize goals.

Consider Price

Cost can be a major setback when investing in new technology or platform. But most unified communication platforms offer competitive pricing with small businesses in mind. However, you need to consider that value might change in the future. For instance, your business might grow, and with that comes scalability. Choose a platform that can support that.

Try Before You Buy

You shouldn’t settle for one provider without trying a few options first. Multiple platforms can deliver more or less the same service. Book a demo and see what each platform has to offer. Different systems might focus on different features, so it’s important to see what would work for you. You might prioritize some features more than others, so go on a trial. Be careful with customer service, and how they answer all your product questions.

Why Are Unified Communication Software Important?

Technology has pushed us out of our comfort zone. The endless requests for faster customer service, better messaging, targeted campaigns, and instant problem solving, can be very expensive and hard to manage.

Reducing the independent systems, platforms, and solutions improves the communication you are promising your customers. Because unified communications integrate the essence of each system into one ecosystem designed for higher efficiency and productivity.

Future proof all your customer and employee communications with a unified solution. Monitor team collaboration and offer employees more flexibility.

Keeping up with the latest technological advancements is essential in this time and age. Moreover, the global unified communications and collaboration market grew by more than 29 percent in 2020 compared to 2019 and reached a size of 47.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. The unified communications and collaboration market is set to further grow over the next few years to almost 50 billion U.S. dollars, according to Statista.

Conclusion

To wrap up our unified communication article, we want to remind you that different providers offer a range of services and specializations.

What works for one company might be different than what works for you. With that being said, the level of complexity for a unified communication solution might look different, depending on your requirements and needs.

Organizations can choose between implementing on-premises unified communication platforms, cloud-based platforms, or a hybrid solution that mixes both models.

Some companies might consider an on-premises solution if they have a highly capable IT department, whereas smaller businesses may opt for a hybrid or hosted option in which aspects of the platform are managed by a third-party provider. Many vendors are making the transition to cloud-based services.

In other cases, UX plays a big role when working within a platform. No matter how good a platform’s infrastructure or integration is if they have poor UX and it’s hard to figure out the platform, the competition wins.

Taking all these factors into account, we trust that you will make the right decision if you’re ready to try out a unified communication platform.

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Published on: 18th July 2022


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