If you’re even thinking about setting up remote teams, a remote phone system is a tool you can’t live without. Asking employees to work from home is becoming the norm for many companies. Many of today’s workers are not only willing to become remote workers, they actually prefer it.
To be successful in a work from home environment, your employees need the proper business phone system at home. Old-fashioned landlines don’t make it possible to set up effective phone systems for remote offices. What’s more, you get far greater functionality with a virtual phone system, when compared with traditional, wired telephone systems.
If it’s the right time for your small business to make the switch from a private branch phone system or landline to a virtual phone system, we’ve got the low-down on what a remote phone system is, how it supports remote employees, and how it can help business owners improve the customer experience overall.
What Is a Remote Phone System?
A virtual phone system is powered by a voice over internet protocol service, commonly known as VoIP. Essentially, a VoIP phone service is a cloud phone system where your team members can make outbound calls and receive inbound calls from any location using a desktop app, laptop, or smartphone running Android or iOS. A VoIP office phone system therefore gives your small business the most options in terms of both mobility and flexibility.
Voice calling is an important part of your business, as a virtual phone system enhances communications between internal and external teams using the latest technology. A VoIP, or cloud-based phone system, is delivered via the internet, rather than through traditional telephone wires. For this reason, some people also refer to cloud phone systems as IP phones or softphones.
There’s no equipment or hardware to worry about, unlike with an office private branch exchange (PBX) system. There are also no phone lines required! You won’t have to sacrifice call quality by using a virtual phone system, either. Your customers won’t even have any idea that your employees are working at home and communicating over the internet.
Even better, cloud-based phone systems offer subscription-based plans and pricing. This makes it much easier to plan your budget, whether you’re a large or small business owner.
How Virtual Phone Systems Support Remote Work
About a fourth of workers work remotely, and companies that offer a remote work environment need to set up systems and processes so employees know how to work from home efficiently, starting from their very first day on the job.
What constitutes the right set up to promote a WFH environment? It starts with a remote phone system.
Business owners won’t have to worry over setting up landlines or issuing desk phones in anyone’s home office. Your VoIP service provider handles the entire infrastructure and security for your phone service, which means you can rely less on IT staff. What’s more, VoIP service providers set up a redundant network of data centers, so your phone system will almost never go down.
Are you wondering about how phone numbers work with a remote phone system? All phone numbers are created as virtual numbers. That means you can set up any type of phone number, with any area code. These are some of the types of phone numbers business owners can set up and receive calls to using a VoIP service:
- Local phone numbers
- Toll-free numbers
- International phone numbers
- Phone numbers tied to extensions
- Vanity phone numbers
Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of a virtual phone system is that it works with your CRM and other software solutions to create a total unified communications system.
Furthermore, you also get a more robust set of voice calling features than you would if all your employees worked on-site using a PBX system. And, unlike traditional, wired telephone systems, you can monitor your virtual call center using your remote phone system’s dashboard analytics. This means that you can optimize internal processes and performance better, while agents benefit from being able to view customer data when receiving calls at home.
How to Work From Home With a Cloud Phone System
Employees that work from home using a cloud phone system work much the same way they would at an on-site call center. As long as they have a reliable internet connection and a desktop computer or laptop, they have access to all the same business communication tools they’d ordinarily be using in an office or call center. However, most small business owners find that it’s helpful to provide their employees with a headset, so they can hear well and use their hands to type at the same time.
Setting up a cloud-phone system is just a matter of a simple online installation. Once your cloud phone system and other software integrations have been installed, your remote workers can start making and receiving business calls from home. They can also communicate and collaborate with other team members. If you have software for omni-channel communications, they can also email, chat, and message one another.
Once you’ve set up the necessary software, you have to train your employees how to use the voice calling features, CRM, and sales or support software, and show them how those business tools work within your workflows.
Understanding Your Phone Features
Sales and support representatives will also need to learn how to use specific cloud phone system features, like:
- Call transfers
- Call forwarding
- Conference calling
- Text messaging (if you have this functionality)
They’ll also need to know how to leverage caller ID, caller history, and other customer details to personalize calls and solve problems.
What do you want your customers to hear if a representative can’t speak with them right away? There are a few options here.
One is to use an auto-attendant, or interactive voice response (IVR) system, that will automatically route calls for you. You can set it up so customers can choose to go to a particular department or extension, if you choose.
Alternatively, with the call queue feature, customers will hear a recording that tells them calls will be answered in the order received, inform them of their place in the queue, and then calls will automatically be sent to the first available representative.
You can also set the system up to automatically open up the lines during business hours, and customers can be given the option to leave a voicemail after hours.
Your remote workers can also forward calls to their cell phones or other mobile devices easily. If they need to be out for a few days or a vacation, they can even forward calls to another team member.
A unified communications system like this is the key to offering excellent sales and customer support, no matter where your distributed team is located.
The Advantages of Using a Remote Phone System
Functionality, scalability, mobility, and flexibility — these are the four main advantages of using a remote phone system. With a remote phone system, all your business tools are in one place. There’s no need to log into or out of different systems to get information. A modern phone system therefore makes for a smooth sales or support agent experience, and customers get served better and faster.
To break it down a bit further, here are some specific advantages of using a remote phone system:
- A robust set of advanced voice calling features, like call routing, IVR, warm transfer, call queue, ring groups, desktop notifications, click-to-dial, power dialing, after call work, call monitoring, call recording, call whispering, and much more.
- It’s easy to scale your call center. You can onboard and offboard sales and customer service representatives quickly and easily.
- It gives you omni-channel capability for email, chat, text, etc.
- It allows you to easily set up a virtual call center for sales or support teams. You can set up remote or distributed teams to leverage talent from any location in the country.
- You’ll save money. There’s no hardware to install or maintain, and the monthly subscription costs are easy to budget for.
- A remote phone system is reliable and leverages network redundancy to ensure service continuity at all times. Your VoIP service provider takes care of security and reliability, and many providers promise uptimes as high as 99.9%.
- You can set up toll-free and international phone numbers to have a global reach with a local presence.
- It provides an all-in-one, unified communications system, where sales and support agents have access to a 360° view of the customer journey. This is the key to providing the consistent quality of service that leads to a positive customer experience.
Features to Look for in Remote Phone Systems
Remote phone systems offer a wide variety of features, and there are many ways to use them.
There’s no need to be overwhelmed by the wealth of options available, however. The features you should be looking for in a remote phone system are pretty basic:
Advanced voice calling features
You might not use all of them right away, but one of the many benefits of a remote phone system is that it makes it easy to scale as your company grows. A robust offering of voice calling features will prepare you to meet future needs.
An open API technology
An open API technology is also referred to as public API. It’s a type of technology that allows different software programs to work together. This technology is essential for using your remote phone system with sales and software integrations.
A system that works seamlessly with your current CRM
Chances are that you already have a CRM system that you like. There’s great value in choosing a remote phone system that works seamlessly with your CRM, because it automatically syncs data from both systems and helps you achieve marketing and sales alignment.
A remote phone system allows your teams to work productively and efficiently. A system that offers dashboard analytics also gives you real-time visibility into the activities in your call center. Moreover, it allows you to pull up the exact reports you need to evaluate metrics and KPIs that inform decision-making.
An app marketplace with numerous listings
An app marketplace displays listings of other business tools that work seamlessly with your remote phone system. You’ll find specific apps for sales and support workflows. You’ll also find apps for specific functions, like:
- AI & Transcription
- Data & Reporting
- Help Desk
- HR & Recruiting
- Payments & Billing
- Quality Assurance
- Sales Automation
Strong technical support
A good remote phone system needs little technical assistance to keep it up and running. But, when you need it, you want to be sure that your VoIP service provider will be there for you, whether you need a technical fix or just have a question.
How Your VoIP Phone Service Can Improve the Customer Experience
We’ve focused on the many benefits of a remote phone system for your business.
However, it’s also important to consider the value of a VoIP phone system for improving the customer experience overall – something which is vital if you want to have a competitive edge.
7 ways a virtual phone system enhances the customer experience:
- Never miss a call from a customer. With features like voicemail, call forwarding, mobile phone capability, call queuing, and queue callback, your company can be available to customers any time they need you. Aircall is one virtual phone system which has a wide variety of voice calling features like these.
- Leverage geographical flexibility. Your employees can work at home or anywhere else they have access to the internet, evan far away from your office. You also have an opportunity to leverage national and international phone numbers without excessive costs.
- Scale your call center as your business grows. Analyze your call volume and other metrics to ensure that your customers are being served as efficiently as possible.
- Personalize customer interactions. Pop-up bubbles give your sales and support agents lots of data, so they can personalize their interactions with your customers.
- Improve internal communications. Your workers will be able to communicate easily with their co-workers, which will help streamline customer service functions as a whole.
- Capture feedback in real time. Automated surveys tell you what’s going well (or not), so you can make changes as necessary to continuously improve performance.
- Get a clearer view of the customer journey from end to end. The details you capture using a unified communications system will give you data and insights into various points in the customer journey. If there’s a problem, you’ll be able to see where it is and fix it to optimize your sales funnel and increase customer satisfaction.
That’s a pretty good overview of how to digitize your business teams by leveraging a remote phone system.
Overall, a VoIP phone system has features and advantages that enable you to deliver a good customer experience on a consistent basis, even when your teams are working from home.
Digitization is increasingly changing the way that companies do business, and by using remote phone systems, you can make sure you’re using technology to its full potential to keep your teams and customers connected, no matter where they are.