Cloud-based IP tools are “the new normal” for the new normal

Learn how companies are keeping employees connected in the remote, “work your way” landscape

by Aaron Miller

When workforces in 2020 suddenly shifted from office buildings to personal homes, businesses quickly realized that their new army of remote workers didn’t have the necessary communication tools in place. The migration to the cloud had already started in the early 2000s as people began phasing out landlines while embracing mobile devices and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). But the events of 2020 created a new surge of businesses switching to cloud-based communications. In fact, the VoIP services market is expected to reach $194.5 billion by 2024 ¹. And small businesses are projected to exhibit an accelerated growth of more than 15% in the VoIP market from 2019 to 2025. ²

Whether you’re running a retail business, an engineering firm, or a plumbing company, one thing is certain: remote work is here to stay. With managers, employees, customers, and suppliers reporting in from far-flung locales, businesses are under more pressure than ever to improve communication and collaboration, while doing what they can to keep customer and corporate data protected.

Moving business communications to the cloud is a logical choice, according to industry trends. Eighty-two percent of businesses surveyed reduced costs when they did so,³ and 94% of small businesses have reported security benefits since moving to the cloud. ⁴

Small businesses want to remain competitive in the technology space, but they don’t always know how to understand or digest the latest technology. They turn to established providers for help.

Thankfully, cloud-based products and services are available to help these businesses continue to serve customers and support workforce collaboration, so business can continue running seamlessly.

For example, AT&T Office@Hand is a highly secure, cost-effective, cloud-based IP business communication service that provides unlimited voice calling in the U.S. along with fax, messaging, collaboration tools, and meetings in the cloud. It works over an existing internet connection and enables employees to work virtually anywhere and connect on almost any device, whether they are using smartphones, desk phones, tablets, or computers. With AT&T Office@Hand enabled for all employees, communicating with others in the workforce and with customers is not hindered when workers are not in the central office. When a customer calls, employees have the necessary tools they need to conduct business. And as conference calls and virtual meetings have become more common than face-to-face meetings, solutions like AT&T Office@Hand can make all the difference in empowering mobile and remote employees.

How does AT&T Office@Hand work?

Businesses receive two company numbers: a local main number or a toll-free number, plus a local number for faxes. Each employee receives a unique extension and direct-dial number for voice, fax, and text messaging, so customers and other employees can reach them directly. Everyone on the team can hold unlimited numbers of voice and video conferences.

Even the smallest of small businesses can project a more professional, “always reachable” image. When customers call the company’s main number, they can connect to the right employee the first time. Businesses can route incoming calls to different phone numbers according to department, time of day, or even day of the week. Employees can forward calls to up to four phone numbers of their choice – for example, mobile, office, or home phone numbers – and have them ring sequentially or simultaneously. This feature is extremely useful, considering workers are now mobile; they can answer customer calls whether they are in the field, in home offices, or at headquarters. For outgoing calls, even when various employees make a call, customers always see the same consistent company number on their caller IDs.

How can your business benefit?

  • Improved customer satisfaction. Just one number connects customers with the right person every time.
  • Increased efficiency. The easy-to-use phone, fax, messaging, and conferencing system lets you spend more time serving customers, not managing communications.
  • Increased mobile productivity and collaboration. Employees can work nearly anywhere on the devices they prefer, including smartphones, tablets, softphones, or desktop IP phones.
  • Real-time savings. Count on a single, low monthly fee, simplified administration, and limited hardware expense.
  • It’s affordable and predictable. You’ll have no user setup fees to pay, no software to maintain, and no complex hardware to install.
  • Simple setup and instant activation. All you need to get started is a high-speed internet connection or private network connection and a PC, tablet, or mobile device. An optional desk phone can be ordered and arrives pre-configured so all you have to do is plug it in.

Use case: Financial services business

You may be a financial company such as a bank or insurance agency that has several headquarter locations and multiple satellite offices. You need a solution that empowers your remote workforce but also helps to protect customer privacy and data while your workforce communicates across locations and offices. AT&T Office@Hand provides a highly secure and highly reliable cloud communications system that is already designed to comply with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a private American corporation that regulates member brokerage firms and exchange markets, which makes it a great solution for financial companies and banks. There are other features that fit well for financial services; your company can mitigate liability exposure by recording calls and providing information in the event of litigation, for example.

Use case: Retail establishment

Perhaps you have two or hundreds of store locations. AT&T Office@Hand can connect all locations and provide enhanced collaboration capabilities to keep your staff connected. You can improve customer service through increased in-store training using recorded calls, as well as increased access to product experts delivered via video calling. These features are super helpful, considering businesses report “lack of knowledge” around technology and appreciate having a “trusted advisor” to help them understand and implement emerging technologies.

Use case: Engineering firm

You may have a single-location, mid-sized engineering firm with 45 employees and a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone system that the manufacturer has discontinued. Imagine that incoming customer calls are not being attended to or are being transferred directly to voicemail. Mobile devices for engineers out on field projects are unreachable from the company phone system – not good, given how businesses need to stay responsive or risk losing customers. A solution such as AT&T Office@Hand can replace the aging phone system, reduce on-site call handling, improve workforce mobility, and simplify financial planning with consistent monthly charges for voice services, while helping you keep your customers serviced when they need to reach your workforce, wherever they are working.

Use case: Plumbing business

You may be a single proprietorship plumbing firm with 15 employees and an aging phone system in your telephone closet. Incoming calls may be going unanswered, creating missed opportunities and frustrating your current customer base. Your plumbers’ mobile devices are unreachable from the company phone system, and plumbers are using their own phones to call clients. AT&T Office@Hand can replace the phone system, improve call handling with auto-attendant routing calls to the correct destination, and improve operational efficiencies by using a single hosted platform. Your plumbing business can control costs and simplify financial planning when there’s one consistent monthly charge. It’s a perfect solution to keep your business up and running smoothly.

We’re here for you

Are you a small-to-medium business wanting to better support your workforce, customers, and locations? Contact us today. We have professionals who can demystify the technology for you and get you up and running with emerging technology and other solutions for your business.

AT&T Business is here to help small businesses in a big way. Our Tech Demystified series can help you decide what products and services will work best for your business. To learn more, visit AT&T Office@Hand or contact your local sales representative

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Intrado report.
Nextiva report.
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