The UCC (Unified Communications & Collaboration) market size is set to exceed USD 57 billion by 2024, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights.
In particular within the UK, after more than a decade since the technology was first launched, the majority of businesses are now familiar or aware of the terms unified comms and/or VoIP. Once the domain of the telecoms reseller, UC software is now an additional application also sold by IT solution providers as part of a comprehensive range of must-have technology from connectivity through to back-up and security.
One of the most obvious reasons why companies change their phone systems is due to them going out of date, withdrawal of support by the vendor or their lack of scalability. However there are many other compelling business reasons why upgrading can result in bottom-line benefits.
Here is a run-down of the key sales arguments that will resonate strongly with potential customers.
1. Save money with fast ROI
With increasing pressure on budgets (especially for those firms reliant on importing goods from abroad that have become more expensive since Brexit), rather than pushing the operational benefits of a new communications solution, focus on what they can save in both the short and longer-term.
The beauty of UC is that it offers multiple ways in which a typical organisation can slash costs immediately. For example you can help customers scrap expensive conferencing charges costing them hundreds of pounds every month or for organisations with multiple sites, by converging their communications they can scrap individual BT line rental charges, translating into substantial savings over a year.
Now that Government policy allows workers the right to request flexible working hours following 26 weeks of service, there are also opportunities to reduce a company’s physical footprint and reduce office overheads by offering partial or full remote working.
By introducing ‘hot-desking’ where colleagues share space between home and office firms can drastically reduce their real-estate costs. When you take into account that the average cost of flexible office space in the UK per person per month falls between £200 and £1400, the numbers soon add up.
Companies often view real estate as a necessary evil, but by introducing a more flexible working practice they could move to smaller premises or even become a virtual operation with no offices. In some industries, a squeeze on the labour supply means that they need to cast the net even further to attract high calibre staff, but with better collaboration tools, distances can be bridged and it is more realistic that you can offer a position to someone who lives in Edinburgh, even when their head office is in Reading.
2.Guard against downtime – from the ‘beast from the east’ to tube strikes
In spite of the accurate weather warnings predicting the recent cold snap and heavy snow fall, the majority of British businesses experienced some form of down-time during the visit of the ‘Beast from the East’. Whether it stopped staff getting into the office or resulted in lost bookings and sales, the overall picture according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research was that downtime cost the UK economy an estimated £1bn per day!
Whilst it might not be practical to prepare for every eventuality, with unified communications you have the tools to retain communications for both customers and also your staff who can work from home. So even for businesses that run a contact centre environment, calls could be re-directed to agents operating remotely, ensuring that any sales or service enquiries are captured.
Similarly in situations when travel is complicated by unforeseen circumstances such as tube strikes or ill health which stops an employee being able to drive, UC provides the perfect safety net, maintaining that essential communications link that keeps the wheels of commerce moving.
3.Fuel business growth
According to Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda Report, ‘growth’ tops the list of business priorities reported by CIOs and mirrors the analyst’s prior 2017 CEO Survey, in which 58 percent of respondents identified it as their top priority.
Driving growth can be dependent on selling more goods or services, increasing an overall customer base and also adding value so organisations can charge more for what they are offering. Easier said than done, but how you communicate with customers can have a big impact on all three areas.
Selling more to existing customers is the simplest starting point and of course relationships are key to making this happen. If you are selling services, then providing a personal point of contact that is always available will instil loyalty amongst clients and a higher propensity for them to buy more. Likewise when selling products, customer satisfaction and after-sales service will have a direct correlation with repeat business.
Happy customers are also more likely to recommend a business to others and turning existing customers into advocates is an incredibly cost-effective way to extend market reach. The quality of communications can also boost value in the eyes of customers, especially for those products or services that are similar to competitors, thereby providing a unique point of differentiation.
4. Expand overseas
Although Brexit has caused some business uncertainty, every cloud has a silver lining. With the fall in the value of sterling, UK good and services have become a lot more affordable and attractive to foreign buyers. This has provided a massive opportunity to explore new overseas markets from the US through to Australia. According to pundits the strength of the world economy and the benefits for British exporters from the weak pound will help to increase GDP growth to almost 2% this year.
So where does communication come in? Well with UC, you have the ability to build a centralised customer service hub in the UK, whilst maintaining the ability to operate in multiple countries and time-zones. With the built-in sophisticated call routing capabilities of UC, enquiries can be automatically directed to the relevant product or service expert and with a ‘follow-the-sun’ approach you can take advantage of human resources spread across different continents, either taking advantage of in-house staff or re-directing enquiries to be handled by a third party provider who has multi-lingual capabilities.
If your customers want to open new doors and fresh revenue streams, then UC can be provide the building blocks to unlock a world of untapped global sales, without the expense of setting up physical in-country operations.
5. Future proofing the phone system
Albert Einstein once said, “I never think of the future, it comes soon enough”. Change is an evitable part of business survival, but one timeline that is certain is that BT has confirmed it will turn off the ISDN network by 2025. Even though this still seems a way off, when you think that a conventional phone system might last 10 years, it’s a perfect reason to recommend a communications platform that is future-proofed based on IP rather than on something that becomes redundant a few years down the line.
The good news for resellers is that whatever way you cut it, you can present a compelling proposition to companies that want to protect their technology investment or simply want to take advantage of the latest innovations that UC can deliver.
Although the Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) market is growing, on-premises unified communications still accounts for 70 percent of the offerings sold to midsize and large enterprises. Whether the IT Manager or CFO favours opex rather than capex, the beauty of many UC systems such as Swyx is that you can let them have their cake and eat it.
You can offer cloud on a monthly pay as you go basis or let them own it as an on-premises solution with software updates as part of a yearly contract. However over a 3 year plus term you will also win the respect of existing and potential customers by offering a third alternative of ‘leasing’, where they own the system at the end, making both financial sense and giving them the flexibility of a cloud-like proposition but with the greater integration benefits of an owned, on-premises solution.
As you can see there are some hugely powerful incentives for UC adoption that will be attractive to existing customers as well as provide a door opener for new prospects. If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a Swyx reseller please visit https://www.swyx.com/partners/for-partners/partner-programme.html or email firstname.lastname@example.org