Small Businesses Unify Inboxes
While the growing array of messaging tools available to small business owners increases productivity, the need to check a variety of inboxes can reduce overall convenience and make it easy to miss important messages.
To help users address this challenge, a variety of unified communications tools allow people to corral messages from different sources onto a single screen that can be checked at a glance.
Unified communications tools allow you to, for instance, monitor voice mail, email, and faxed messages as well as instant chat sessions.
Probably the most popular feature of unified communications platforms is the ability to receive voice mail messages in your email inbox. As a voicemail message is left, users receive an email notification that includes the transcribed text of the voicemail message, as well as the original voice recording (which is delivered as an attachment that can be played on a computer or mobile device).
Receiving the message both as a transcription and as a sound file allows users to verify the accuracy of the transcription, which is usually provided by voice recognition software.
Because voicemail messages appear in the same inbox as email messages and other forms of communication, business owners get the ability to scan their inbox at a glance to see or hear their most important messages first. This can help increase productivity by allowing you to respond to important customers before dealing with (or ignoring) less important communications.
Another potential advantage of unified communications systems is integration with popular customer relationship management (CRM) systems as well as email platforms. As a customer calls your company, you can see an on-screen history of their account as well as recent or past orders.
Another popular feature of unified communications systems is the ability to establish a variety of customizable notification rules. If you're traveling, for example, your unified communications platform can send you a text message to notify you if a high-priority customer leaves you a voice mail message.
Unified communication tools are generally offered via monthly subscription by telecom providers.