If you ask your operations team what they do, they might say “streamline processes.” Operations workflows move in different rhythms, requiring constant monitoring. As one workflow is streamlined, another falls out of alignment. The goalposts keep moving. But this doesn’t mean easy-win workflows can’t be streamlined more permanently.
Complex telephony architecture could mean different billing cycles, support SLAs, training requirements, and maintenance processes. The bottom line is high operational costs.
To understand how to further optimize your operations workflows (and limit the amount of time you spend on low-value tasks), we’ll take a look at a commissioned Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact™ study to see how a composite organization saved 20% in operational admin time by switching to Aircall’s cloud-based phone system. We’ll also cover how those time-savings impact sales and support operations.
First, let’s touch on the limitations of continuing to leverage traditional hardphone telephony.
Why Is Traditional Hardphone Telephony Bad for Streamlining Workflows?
Hardphones have served businesses for decades, and even despite the shift to the digital-first era in which new technologies are reshaping business culture and operations, they’re still prevalent. While landline-based business phones do technically get the job done, they create as much work for operations efficiency as they solve.
Traditional phone systems rely on more IT interventions than cloud-based phones
Daily maintenance of traditional telephony is accepted implicitly as just another part of what IT and operations teams do. But all that time and energy spent—including installing hardware and configuring lines and numbers—is an opportunity cost that’s hard to calculate.
The simple fact is that switching to cloud-based VoIP telephony almost instantly prevents that loss of opportunity.
Hardphones drain ops time that could go into more strategic and tactical workflows
Utilization analysis, capacity planning, and forecasting are exactly the kind of strategic and tactical workflows Operations Managers want to contribute to more meaningfully. Unfortunately, setting up, configuring, and maintaining traditional telephony hardware gets in the way.
Worse still, underinvesting time in more tactical and strategic work means new business inefficiencies start appearing elsewhere.
For example, what if ops teams are forced to make rough estimates of how to allocate resources to new projects all because they didn’t have time for accurate forecasting? Over time, this leads to extra reactive work to compensate for missed opportunities to make proactive decisions ahead of time.
Traditional landline telephony speaks to prospects and customers but not to your CRM and tech stack. This is perhaps what should be your biggest motivator for switching to a cloud-based phone system.
Those fixed-line phones and handsets that sit on your sales and support teams’ desks might be useful for connecting with prospects and customers, but when it comes to connecting IT and operations insights to streamline workflows, they fall short.
That’s because hardware-based phone systems weren’t designed to integrate with your wider tech stack.
Enabling productive conversations is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cloud-based phone systems. Because some cloud-based phones integrate seamlessly with your broader IT architecture, they double up as a powerful analytics resource in ways hardware-based telephony simply can’t. The net gain? With cloud-phone analytics, operations teams can harness on-demand insights to better understand business trends to streamline operational processes.
How to Streamline Business Operations Using a Cloud-Based Phone System
Ok, now you should be more familiar with how traditional phone systems limit the opportunity to streamline business processes.
Let’s cover where to start if you do decide to switch to a cloud-based phone system.
1. First, audit current operational processes: Are they core processes or workarounds?
This first step involves process auditing.
You’ll need to account for which workflows are useful processes you’d like to refine and which are actually temporary workarounds for problems you haven’t solved yet.
It’s possible that new workflows that naturally come from switching to a cloud-based phone system make other processes or temporary workarounds redundant. For example, are there patterns of repeat customer complaints? This could be a sign that there’s a deeper issue that needs to be addressed.
Your goal should be to start with streamlining the shared workflows you can impact the fastest with the least amount of energy. This might require team shadowing and performance evaluation. It’s possible that certain processes that could benefit from being made more efficient haven’t yet been identified.
2. Meet with process stakeholders on what to streamline first
Meet with operations stakeholders in sales, support, and IT to identify shared operational inefficiencies. This is important because, remember, operations management is cross-departmental.
Effective operations managers are often knowledgeable about other department workflows. But it’s worth consciously meeting on the topic of how to streamline processes at work to ensure common agreement.
Here are some of the operations streamlining needs you might hear from other team leaders:
“I want to help our customer care teams reduce open support-ticket volumes and improve customer satisfaction.”
Any worthwhile cloud-based phone solution or advanced call management software should be specifically designed to reduce support ticket numbers.
When it comes to cloud-based phone capabilities like call routing, tracking, analysis, and processing, they should combine to not only reduce support-ticket volumes but also deliver overall improvements in customer satisfaction.
Don’t just look for the right combination of support team–oriented capabilities. Make sure to test them and measure their impact on problematic support team metrics and processes.
How much time will your support team save with Aircall’s VoIP phone solution? When we commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate Aircall’s potential business impact, they found that agents saved eight minutes per person per hour.
“I want to help our sales reps streamline sales pipeline management and lead conversion.”
When it comes to how to streamline work process and improve workflows, the toughest department to impact is often sales. It’s not hard to encounter stats on sales process inefficiency.
Maybe you’ve come across this one from Forbes: “Sales reps spend less than 36% of time selling and less than 18% In CRM.”
You know what comes next: The roadblock to sales efficiency is, you guessed it, manual admin. It’s possible that your sales leaders have already implemented sales-streamlining incentives.
When considering how a VoIP phone might further optimize sales workflows, account for what’s already been achieved. Maybe your new VoIP phone solution can further improve efficiencies and add new ones.
Spend time gathering sales workflow insight to establish hard metrics for before-and-after comparisons once you’ve implemented your new cloud-based phone system.
“I want to streamline systems security and spend less time and money on IT operations.”
When it comes to security, technology, and maintenance, it’s the IT team that feels the strain of looking after different phone systems in different places. They’ll be the first to thank operations for helping migrate to a cloud-based phone solution.
To make it easier, shortlist VoIP phone vendors that promise same-day setup and one-click integrations. Also, make sure to get detailed information about the proven cost savings from streamlining phone-system setup, configuration, and maintenance.
For the composite organization from the study, the cost-saving figure Forrester Consulting study found when testing Aircall’s impact on phone system operational expenses was $31.7K over three years.
3. Make sure your VoIP phone system streamlines operations for the future
While it might be tempting—and justified—to target operations streamlining quick wins in the short term, it’s also crucial to think ahead.
For example, is your leadership team making plans to increase operational resilience by growing remote and hybrid customer-centric teams? It’s worth finding out.
Just by switching from fixed-line headphones to virtual softphones, you’ll instantly enable remote and hybrid customer teams. Though this doesn’t mean your remote and hybrid workflows will automatically be optimized.
In a study by Cognizant, The Work Ahead, they reported that businesses will increasingly apply “sophisticated automation tool sets across business functions and focus on supporting employees in the new way of work.”
Some virtual telephony vendors specifically design tools and features for remote-team productivity. Even if you’re not operating remote teams now, it’s worth reading up on cloud-based phone remote work capabilities.
31.7K Reasons VoIP Phones Beat Hardphones for Optimizing Sales and Support Workflows
If this has helped further your thinking on streamlining processes, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of how to select the right opportunities.
Making your tech stack work with your teams means changing their relationship with the tools that enable them. And there’s no better way to test how that can work than by comparing the numbers.
When Forrester Consulting evaluated the total economic impact of Aircall, they discovered operational savings of $31.7K in ongoing phone system management tasks.
Test for yourself how switching to Aircall could help take the pressure off teams and operations finances.