Category Archives: hosted voice

Ask the Expert – Unified Communications


Stay in the know by asking the expert.

Over the years we’ve heard so many new technology buzzwords – data science, cloud computing, internet of things, and the list goes on. Some have come and gone, while others become even more relevant as time goes on. The cloud and unified communications (UC) are two of them.  

Staying in the know, understanding these concepts, and knowing how they can positively impact your business are more important than ever. That’s why we’re excited to introduce our new webinar series, Ask the Expert. Each month we’ll sit down with an industry expert who can answer your top-of mind questions and provide valuable insights into the world of the cloud and UC.

 

Join us on Wednesday 3/14!

Because there’s so much to know when it comes to unified communications, and so many questions on the topic to be answered, we’ll be sitting down for a Q&A session with our very own UC expert, Kevin Bartnicki, this Wednesday, March 14th. Join us at 11am MT/1pm ET to learn about UC, find out how it can help your business, and get your questions answered.

Reserve your spot today – we hope to see you there!

 

UCaaS Trial by Fire

Gabrielle Weaver wears a lot of hats, and a no-nonsense headset. Starting as a member of the customer care team, she now manages ReadyTalk Hosted Voice with excitement only her dog ‘Avery’ can match. Her four-year history at ReadyTalk has been shaped by an objectively first-hand view of our services. Partly from her time working in a customer facing role, but mostly because of a last-minute relocation to Washington D.C. We like to use the expression “we eat our own dog food” at ReadyTalk. Meaning, we actively use the software that we sell on a daily basis. Here’s how Gabi puts her money where her mouth is — remotely working over 1,500 miles away.  

Q: What do you miss about working in the Denver office?

A: I do miss the physical presence of my colleagues and camaraderie you develop with people over time. That mostly applies to the moments at work where you’re catching up or doing anything but working. However, given the face-to-face interactions I experience in meetings (from a television screen) there’s still enough of a personal touch I get with my team.   

Q: What limitations have you found with working remotely?

A: Seriously, there is nothing that I haven’t been able to successfully accomplish. I can do everything I used to be able to do as if I were in the office. I’m in a different time zone, so that means I need mobile access to communications. If it’s 6 p.m. in D.C but only 4 p.m. in Denver I’m still readily available even if I’ve left my home office. And that’s another advantage to using Hosted Voice — there was no extensive setup with our IT department. It was lightweight enough for me to install, but sophisticated enough for 24/7 usage. There were no barriers to entry and the learning curve was very short, thankfully.   

Q: How do you think working in customer care has helped your decisions as a product manager?

A: Coming from that side of the business I think I have a unique understanding about customer pain points. That means balancing the needs and asks of thousands of ReadyTalk users. Their preferences and requirements are all different and specific to each individual. Working in customer care taught me to distill their hopes and dreams into one product that solves as many problems as possible. How we build products, structure them, change them, price them — all of these decisions were made looking through the lens of the customer. But I also think that my current experience working remotely has put me at an advantage as a product manager. I’m literally our target customer. So as a product team we don’t operate under the assumption that we know what’s best all the time. Instead, I’ve depended on our Hosted Voice application as a means to work everyday. That has definitely kept us honest in customer conversations.

Q: What are your passions outside of work?

A: I love to travel. I’m a certified scuba diver and did some great cave dives in Mexico a couple years ago. Also, I’m very good at brunch on Denver patios.

Potential sticking points to unified communications

Unified communications has turned the workplace on its head, making home sweet home the new office place. Workers are kissing traffic jams good-bye, and the "daily grind," if you can even call it that, is measured in feet, not miles. To what extent? Well, In 2015, roughly 25 percent of employees worked from home on any given day, based on the latest estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And over the past decade, telecommuting has risen a whopping 115 percent, according to Global Workplace Analytics.

Unified communications has brought convenience back to the modern workplace. It streamlines the interaction process so individuals near and far can talk work through a single server, whether via the cloud, IP telephony or the numerous other channels that fall under the UC umbrella.

Afraid of the cloud? Don't be

Here's the sticking point, though: Businesses aren't exactly flocking to the cloud in droves. In fact, while 70 percent of business owners have at least considered using one communication provider rather than several, according to statistics compiled by Inc., only 19 percent have actually pulled the trigger, this according to computer security services firm Bird Rock Systems.

Why the slow transition? For one, change is always hard, especially for those who prefer face-to-face interaction. Cybersecurity is never far from business owners' minds, either, and unfamiliarity with the cloud can bring those thoughts to the fore. 

Just remember that being unacquainted with cloud computing security shouldn't suggest that it lacks in protection. In fact, According to Clutch, 90 percent of companies who use the cloud for data storage find it to be as good or better than an on-site servers at protecting their information!

New technology doesn't always cause headaches 

Because UC systems makes their bones by facilitating multiple communications systems, your mind may associate UC with technical problems. That's why selecting the right partner is so critical – wink, wink. But really, great customer service and a best-in-class network can go a long way.

Plus, companies are already planning ahead for these types of adjustments, as 21 percent of CIOs say they'll add full-time tech professionals to their staff this year, according to a poll from Robert Half. Why? Twenty-four percent said it had to do with cloud migration or big data.

From efficiency to productivity, increased engagement to cost containment, the return on investment makes unified communications the business solution that simply gets the job done – both inside and outside the office.

CloudTalk: SaaS Sales in the Value Rep Business

Patrick Wiley has made his rounds at ReadyTalk for nearly a decade. Starting with the company as an account executive, he’s worked every stage of the buying cycle and continues building partnerships across the U.S. Now Director of Carrier Sales and Business Development, Patrick refers to himself as a “humble expert” in the SaaS and Unified Communications marketplace. Between training for ultramarathons and Ironman races, he loves improving his industry knowledge and building value in the ReadyTalk brand every day in order to win.

Q: Would you say there’s a high degree of problem solving with your job?

A: We work in an incredibly competitive business landscape and every situation is different. Saying that, I must keep my knowledge sharpened to provide the best solutions for our customers and partners. That means that I need to know about other companies’ products and services and figure out the best ways to position our solutions. I’m constantly researching and asking questions. Having a consultative sales approach not only provides a deeper level of trust, but also concludes with the customer buying the right solution to fit their company’s needs.

Q: Who are your primary business partners?

A: I work with over 40 account directors and account managers at the enterprise level. They’re responsible for selling our suite of solutions including a multitude of our competitors’ products. But that’s the great part about my job — I have to know when our product(s) are going to be the best fit for their needs. That’s when it’s very important for me to know every granular detail about our functionality and our competitors. We have four major lines of business, each with their own set of base features. But with every one of our products, there are unlimited combinations of à la carte options suited for each individual buyer. That’s the beauty of our products, they can accommodate so many different users and situations.

Q: Why do you refer to yourself as a “humble expert?”  

A: First off it means I am self aware enough that I don’t know everything. But, I am smart enough to tap into the many incredibly intelligent forward-thinking people I’m surrounded by at ReadyTalk. When I’m brought into a sales discussion I’m there representing more than one company. I speak for the carrier and the representative first, however I do my best to deliver the message with the ReadyTalk ethos which is the “wow” factor. That creates an interesting dynamic because I need to be thoughtful about what all parties can deliver, and even what they can’t. I’m the voice for the carrier team, so giving a measured account of our services is critical to everyone involved. The good news there — ReadyTalk has ALWAYS been customer centric. We tend to act this way naturally.

Remote employees: Your most-engaged workers

Let's look at that title for a second. Remote employees, your most-engaged workers? Aren't they just scattered across the globe doing who knows what?

Well, we beg to differ. Remote employees really can be your most engaged workers when you've got the right collection of tech in the toolbox. Sure, you may have not believed that sentiment 10 years ago, but we've come a long way since then. If we can now have pet food delivered by drone via the tiny computer in our pocket, we can take the "remote feeling" out of remote work.  

Trust + tech
Telecommuting arrangements are kind of like trust falls – have faith in your long-distance employees to get their work done, and you create a positive and synergistic relationship between you and your talent. Remote workers are more productive, according to the Association for Talent Development, while a study by research firm Future Workplace found that they're also more engaged

Now, we know trust falls and secret weapons don't really go together, but companies have one when it comes to employing remote workers: technology.

Without using smart systems to engage your remote workers, you could have a team of far-flung employees who you only hear from once a year, like some kind of corporate meteor shower that people prophesize about.

To avoid this – and to make sure your remote workers are über-engaged – there are three technologies you should take advantage of:

1. Hosted voice
Long gone are the days of every employee using the same company-issued phone and computer. When the cloud rolled in, it also brought with it hosted voice, a business phone service that enables unified communication, no matter the device people are using or the location they're calling from. 

2. Video conferencing
Don't think of remote workers as sepia-toned versions of their Gmail profile pics. Instead, engage with remote workers just as dynamically as you would with in-office employees with HD video conferencing. Hey, you could even create a little army of "Mobile Virtual Presence Devices" for each of your remote workers à la Sheldon Cooper, we won't stop you.  

3. Webcasts 
Remote workers being out-of-touch with what's going on with the company is so 2010. Webcasts keep telecommuters in the loop through live-streamed quarterly meetings, conferences and team-building events. 

These tools can help you make remote workers seem closer than ever and see engagement skyrocket for your telecommuting talent.