By choosing a Cloud based, or hosted phone service, you can significantly reduce the upfront investment and ongoing cost of maintenance for your phone system. It’s also an opportunity to affordably add key functionality to better serve your customers. However, Cloud based phone systems are not one size fits all… for example, if you are a credit union or other financial institution, you have unique needs to consider. Here are 7 key considerations when selecting a hosted phone service for your communication needs:
- Experience- Does the company providing the hosted phone system understand your business? For credit unions, members depend on you for key services and the protection of their assets. Does the company understand what it takes to gain and keep a member?
- Security- This should go without saying, but with some hosted services, the majority of the employees aren’t even based in the U.S. Choose a service that develops products here and supports you with U.S. based employees. In addition, verify that all communications between employees and with members is encrypted to ensure top security.
- Design- Ideally your CU receives its own dedicated hosted system in the Cloud, not a shared system with the potential for shared problems. You shouldn’t be on the hook for mistakes made by other customers.
- Robust Functionality- Does the Cloud service provide robust contact center capabilities? Would you like to chat or text with newer members in addition to a phone conversation? Would you like to record all of the calls so that agent/member interaction can be evaluated later? A complete service should provide those capabilities as well as real time metrics and historical reporting. With a hosted service, it should be possible to add contact center affordably one agent at a time.
- Affordability- In many cases a CU should see a reduction in telecom expenses by migrating to the Cloud. If you are maintaining a phone system or phone lines at every branch, hosting will greatly simplify management while consolidating and optimizing your carrier connection with SIP services.
- Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity- Is your phone system included in your Business Continuity plan? With a hosted service, that can be an easy “yes”. The hosted service should be completely redundant, so that if a problem occurs it can automatically fail over to a backup. The service should also include capabilities such as mobile applications and soft phones to allow employees to securely connect to the hosted system even when they are unable to be at the office.
- Integration – Microsoft Office 365 is being rapidly adopted by credit unions across the country. Does the service allow you to leverage Microsoft’s Instant Messaging and presence? It can be a great way to improve communications throughout the CU and allow employees to know whether other employees are in and available. Advanced features such as video and desktop sharing can significantly enhance personalized service for your members. Make sure these capabilities are offered and integrated with the service.
As outlined above, choosing the right hosted phone service and contact center capability is a critical decision. By selecting a Cloud based solution that understands your needs, your Credit Union can be on its way to top rated member service.