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Unified Communications Streamlines Inboxes
The wide range of communications options for small business owners has led to a related need to check a variety of incoming messages from landline and mobile voice mail, email, and fax machines — often from more than one account. To help business owners manage the deluge of messages easily and efficiently, unified communications systems bring inbound calls, emails, and instant messages onto a single screen.
By blending voice calls, instant messaging, presence and collaboration capabilities, unified communications helps your team spend less time trying to connect with customers, and more time serving them.
Unified communications systems can be integrated with popular email software such as Outlook, as well as popular CRM applications. As a customer calls, their previous interactions with your company are displayed to give whoever is speaking with them an at-a-glance view of their account, order history and any issues they may have reported.
Another popular feature of unified communications is the ability to receive voice mail messages in your email inbox. You can receive an email message with the transcribed text of the voice mail message, along with a sound recording, delivered as an attachment that you can play on your computer.
Receiving the message in both formats gives you the chance to listen to a sound file in case the voice mail message isn't understood clearly by the voice recognition software that created the transcription (the process is generally automated).
Messages delivered to your inbox can easily be passed along to colleagues. If a customer leaves a message asking a specific question, you can add any notes and forward the message to the most appropriate staff member.
Viewing voice mail messages in the same inbox as email messages gives business owners the ability to read or play the most important messages first. Because you see all of your messages on a single screen, it's easy to scan your inbox to identify priority customers or topics at a glance.
Unified communications systems also offer a number of customizable notification rules. For instance, when you're traveling, the system can notify you when a high-priority customer leaves a voice mail message.
Unified communications systems can also incorporate incoming fax inboxes. Faxes will appear in your inbox as email messages, with the fax available for viewing as an attachment. By dialing in, you can also hear the header and delivery information for incoming faxes (because the fax itself is delivered as an image file, the unified communications system is unable to read it out loud).
Unified communications is offered via a monthly subscription fee by telecom providers, with the option to purchase additional storage.