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How Does a Cloud Based Phone System Work?

By Ken Narita|Tuesday April 2, 2019

Cloud-based phone systems have gone from being an alternative form of voice communication to a predominant phone technology that’s used by millions. What does it mean to have cloud phone service, and how does it work? Let’s break down the basics of this technology.

cloud based phone hosted VoIPGajus – stock.adobe.com

What Is a Cloud-based Phone System?

Rather than using traditional phone wires or a cellular voice network, a enterprise VoIP uses your internet connection to provide voice communication. Many companies use cloud phones to connect employees to their telephone network. Also called a cloud PBX, virtual PBX, or business VoIP, cloud phone systems frequently offer advanced productivity tools and unlimited calling.

While residential VoIP service (Voice over Internet Protocol) is also hosted in the cloud, the term “cloud phone” is most often used for business phone systems.

How Is a Cloud-based Phone System Different from a Traditional PBX?

An on-site PBX phone system is a traditional phone service with wired phone lines that can connect business departments and employee extensions. These private branch exchange (PBX) phone systems are aging technology that typically requires intensive maintenance and installation. Additionally, PBX systems rarely offer the high-tech features that are available through modern cloud-based systems.

Comparatively, cloud communication systems are software based. Typically, there’s lower maintenance, relying instead upon your existing internet infrastructure. It also provides the advantages of today’s latest technology, including flexible networks, diverse connectivity options, and online resources.

What’s the Best Business VoIP Phone System?

Ooma Office is a lightweight, user-friendly, and flexible phone system that’s a top choice for small businesses.  In fact, it’s been named the #1 VoIP phone system in PC Magazine’s Business Choice Awards for the past seven years.  It’s a plug-and-play system with the type of phone features that can help small businesses seem like a big deal.

For larger businesses or those wanting even more communications tools, Ooma’s enterprise phone system provides a customized UCaaS. In addition to enterprise call center platforms, video conferencing, and softphone apps, Ooma Enterprise offers application integration, so your phone system can with integrate directly with a CRM such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics. This can unify your business cloud by providing automated features such as integrated call logs or conversation recordings saved to customer profiles.

cloud based phone ooma office

What Is the Call Quality of Cloud-based Phones?

When it comes to cloud PBX phone technology, call quality can vary widely based upon the phone provider. You may be familiar with poor quality calls where audio is stuttered or garbled, with ill-timed pauses causing you to miss key parts of a conversation. Not only is low-quality audio frustrating, but it could also reflect poorly upon your business.

In the 2019 PC Magazine Business Choice Awards, Ooma had the highest score of all the providers surveyed. Ooma Office phone service uses behind-the-scenes protocols that provide the framework for high-quality audio. Ooma uses advanced voice compression to reduce bandwidth, dynamic prioritization so your calls aren’t interrupted by internet traffic, and adaptive redundancy to avoid audio gaps, all collectively known as PureVoice Technology. As you can see in the video below, even sound engineers rave about Ooma’s call quality.

Can I Use a Cloud-based Phone System with My Cell Phone?

A key advantage of cloud phones is that service can be as portable as your internet connection.

While not all business VoIP providers provide phone access via a mobile device, both Ooma Office and Ooma Enterprise offer mobile apps.

When using the app, your employees will have full access to make and receive calls on their work line directly from their mobile device. Callers won’t know which device you’re using or that you may not be at your desk, providing a seamless connectivity experience.

What’s the Device Configuration of a Cloud Phone System?

There are many ways to arrange your cloud phone infrastructure to accommodate user needs, office configuration, and desired hardware.

configuration of cloud based phoneWith the Ooma Office cloud-based phone system, these different formats can be used in any combination:

  • With IP phones, users can create a virtual phone system that offers full communication functionality without a base station.
  • Those who want to continue using their traditional analog phones can plug their existing handsets into an Ooma Office Base Station, which provides the analog to digital conversion.
  • Analog handsets can also be plugged into an Ooma Linx for wireless connectivity to the Ooma Base Station.
  • All users also have remote access to their Ooma phone system via the Ooma Office mobile app.
  • The Ooma Office mobile app can also be used to unify voice communications for remote workers. Therefore, even if your small business HQ is in San Antonio, you can still transfer calls to a coworker in Chicago who’s using the mobile app.
  • Conference lines are just as easy to connect as handsets with the IP Conference phone that offers built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

How Much Does a Cloud-based Phone System Cost?

According to Cost Owl, hosted VoIP system can cost from $8,000 to $30,000 for a 16-person phone system. For a 64-person VoIP system with a dedicated server, businesses could spend about $35,000 to $50,000.

Even though Ooma offers robust communications tools, it’s priced very affordably, as compared to the competition. Ooma Office’s contract-free phone service costs only $19.95 per month for each user to have a full package of 35+ calling features. It’s a straightforward pricing model that gives each employee the freedom to use the features he or she wants.

When deploying Ooma Office for a 16-person business, costs would be $319.20 per month, which comes to just $3,830.40 per year. That’s less than half the rate of Cost Owl’s lowest estimate for business VoIP and 87 percent lower than its higher bracket.

These rates don’t include hardware costs, which could vary based upon your configuration, such as if you plan to upgrade to IP phones or use an Ooma Office Base Station with analog handsets.

Learn how Ooma can help you modernize business communications with a cloud based phone system.Read more Enterprise business content and Ooma vs. Mitel.

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Ooma Business Starter Pack

Ooma Phone Business Starter Pack

Comes with:
– 1 Ooma Office Base Station
– 2 Wireless extensions
*Compatible with existing analog phones

Loyal customers are critical to business success because they tend to be a source of repeat business. According to The Loyalty Report 2018, “Loyalty programs that establish positive emotional connections with Members see 27% more of their Membership increasing their spend with the Brand.” This research tells us that building customer loyalty can lead to more spending.

Loyalty programs vs. improving customer experience: Designing your approach

There are different approaches to building customer loyalty. Some companies use loyalty program cards, bonus offers and other incentives. You might offer access to special deals like CVS or take 5% off the purchase price like Target. You might even give some or part of your product away for free, like airlines that provide free flights through their loyalty programs. What if your small business isn’t interested or able to offer these kinds of loyalty programs?

There is another way to encourage loyal customers to keep giving you repeat business. Gather customer feedback through a phone survey and then use that data to improve the customer experience. When customers see that the business owner has acted on their feedback, they may feel inspired to return to that business. That means more revenue for the bottom line. You just need a fast and straightforward way to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. That’s where a focused business phone survey comes in.

Why increasing customer loyalty with a phone survey is a good choice.

Organizing a customer satisfaction survey by phone offers notable advantages compared to other methods. While a net promoter survey can give you interesting data, there is no conversational element involved. Further, using the net promoter survey approach effectively requires a certain degree of specialized training in the net promoter methodology.

You might also consider online customer surveys. Surveying your email list or website is worth attempting. Depending on the size of your email list or website traffic, you might be able to get a large number of survey responses. The challenge with online customer surveys is that you will have to spend a lot of time reviewing the data to find insights. There is no way to ask a customer to clarify their survey responses or provide an example.

Conducting a customer satisfaction survey by phone gives you the best of both worlds. You can ask questions and get survey responses. However, you also have the opportunity to provide the human touch. For instance, you may hear a customer complain about a lost or delayed order. When you hear about a problem during a phone survey, you can gather all the necessary details to make the situation right with the customer.

How to increase customer loyalty with a phone survey step by step.

The following steps give you a starting point to create a simple customer satisfaction survey. Over the course of a month, you could gather a significant amount of insights to improve your customer service by calling five to 10 customers per day.

  1. Define your customer satisfaction survey goals.

Before calling a single customer, reflect on your business goals. Are you seeking to improve your profit margins? In that case, you may want to focus your survey on the customers that spend the most on your business. Finding ways to make high-spending customers content may give you an excellent return. Alternatively, you may decide to focus your survey project on whether your local SEO has attracted customers. 

  1. Write your customer satisfaction survey questions.

Now that you have clarity on your goals, it is time to write your questions. According to Survey Monkey, a survey software company, it is best to focus your survey on closed-ended questions. An example of a closed-ended question would be: “How many times have you bought from our business in the past 12 months?” However, this kind of question may not give you the ideas you need to improve the customer experience.

At the end of the survey, consider asking one or two open-ended questions to understand better what your customers like. Encourage customers to think creatively with a question like this: “If you could change anything in our business, what would you improve?”

Tip: Reduce your need for note-taking by using call recording, but make sure that you ask for permission first.

  1. Test the survey with a small group of customers.

With your list of customer satisfaction questions, make a few test phone calls to customers. The purpose of the test is to discover if any of the questions are unclear. If you receive confusing answers, revise the question to make them clearer.

  1. Train employees on how to gather survey responses.

Consider running a few training phone calls for your employees. Ask them to call you or other employees in a role-playing scenario. Making a few practice calls will help your employees become more familiar with the questions. Besides, practice phone surveys will help employees learn how to record survey responses accurately. Once the training is complete, give your staff a list of customers to call and let them get started.

  1. Review the survey responses for insights and follow up with customers.

After all of the survey responses are in, schedule time to review the results. In particular, look for patterns in the results. If a large number of people gave low scores to your website, you may need to make improvements. Also, review the survey responses received in the open-ended questions. You might be pleasantly surprised at what customers tell you.

  1. Follow up with customers after the survey when needed.

A phone survey lets you gather rich insights because you can quickly ask follow-up questions. However, merely gathering survey responses may not impress your customers very much. Instead, offer to refer problems to the business owner for improvement or offer to enter the respondent in a drawing for a gift card. That is a much more compelling improvement! By addressing problems and issues when they arise, you stand a much better chance of winning additional loyal customers.