Among some of the newest technologies of the last few years, unified communications (UC) is getting more than a just a nod from small business managers. UC consolidates different types of communication devices – desk phones, PCs, smartphones and tablets – into one integrated data and voice network so they can talk to each other. The latest Plantronics survey of 200 small business IT professionals conducted by Spiceworks finds that UC is becoming more and more important to small businesses to accommodate increasingly flexible employee work styles and improve customer service.

Specifically the Plantronics survey found that the percentage of small businesses using UC technology has increased from 2013 to 2014 in the following key areas:

  • IP telephony: 65% to 70%
  • Web conferencing: 51% to 54%
  • Video conferencing: 42% to 52%
  • Internet messaging with presence:  30% to 40%
  • Softphones: 28% to 34%

Top UC benefit for small business

The top five UC benefits cited by survey respondents include:

Remote access: Remote teams can be as connected and available to customers and prospects as those in the office with UC. Whether traveling or working at home or on-site at a customer, workers can have remote access to email and other office systems, boosting their responsiveness and productivity. When combined with presence awareness, UC enables team mates and customers to reach mobile workers and connects them seamlessly.

Improved collaboration: UC makes it easy for your team to get together to work on a project if some participants are working remotely and others are in the office. The conferencing capabilities of UC enable everyone to meet over a video conference or share information on the screen through web conferencing while they communicate via audio. Advanced tools such as digital white boards also enable everyone to work on a document in real time.

Improved customer service With UC, you can route calls to any device you choose – or more than one, including the softphone on your laptop – so you never miss a call no matter where you are. You also can coordinate different inbound phone numbers for complaints, inquiries, etc., and have those numbers ring to a specific desk so callers don’t get frustrated being routed until they get the right help.

Contact management: UC enables you to connect with your customers the way they prefer, whether voice, email, SMS or chat. It also provides customer service agents with context for the call in terms of historical references to previous interactions. This way, you can consistently deliver a highly personalized experience to each customer interacting with your small business.

Improved employee satisfaction: UC provides your small business team with the convenience to keep in touch and collaborate the way they prefer across a range of mobile or desk top devices.

Headsets are a perfect fit for UC

Almost 60% of the surveyed IT professionals purchased Plantronics headsets for their companies. Plantronics recently expanded its UC headset offerings to include:

Blackwire 725: Plantronics first UC product with Active Noise Canceling technology (ANC), provides a corded option at a very affordable price for office workers who need to hear and be heard. The Blackwire 725 is ideal for managing PC calls and enjoying music and multimedia with dynamic hi-fi sound. Also, with the combination of wideband audio, Digital Signal Processing and a noise canceling microphone, incoming calls and your voice are both crystal clear.

Voyager Edge UC: New wearing style for mobile UC users who need to be heard and want to use their Bluetooth® enabled communications devices (laptop, smartphone or tablet) together. The solution includes a small Bluetooth USB dongle that provides seamless wideband audio to your laptop.  The latest addition to the Voyager line features a slim, sophisticated design that fits quickly and comfortably in your ear and comes with its own portable charging case. It boasts signature Plantronics audio technology that eliminates disruptive background noise and includes intuitive, responsive features that keep you moving by automatically answering calls as you place it on your ear.

Find about more about UC by downloading: How to unify your communications.