Biz Bits: Tips to help small businesses stay competitive with larger companies

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014 5:08 pm PDT

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Tip of the Week

Just a few years ago, unified communications systems were commonly found in large enterprises, and now with the growth and widespread availability of the Internet, this technology is becoming a competitive edge for small- and medium-size businesses. When employees can interconnect anywhere at any time, it helps to increase productivity, collaboration and customer service.

Plantronics identified the following five features as necessary parts of a unified communications system:

* Unified messaging - All messages from email, voicemail, video, text and all other forms of communication will be gathered in one inbox, making it easy for employees to check and review all messaging in one glance. The phone messages can be accessed with a mobile Bluetooth headset, transcribed for reading or even forwarded to a colleague.

* Presence - With many workers now on the road or working remotely, it will be easy for employees and management to see if someone is available.

* Integrated conferencing - A blend of Web and audio conferencing, integrated conferencing allows all employees to participate in meetings, training activities and lectures without having to come into the office.

* Instant messaging or chat - All employees can quickly connect and hold a discussion about the latest company news with IM or chat capability.

* One-number reach - This system gives clients direct access to employees, improving customer relations.

One number is provided to clients. When called, this number is routed to all the telecommunications devices selected by the employee, such as their office number, mobile number and home phone, for example. The employee can set it to call all numbers at the same time or sequentially, and if the call is not answered, the system will deliver the caller to the employee’s voicemail.

— Brandpoint

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