Back in the old days, staying in touch with a business was limited to personal visits, communication through mail, or giving the company a phone call. These options exist to this day but, thankfully, there are many other ways that customers can contact businesses. But what appears to clients as a helpfully wide variety of contact options is actually a major headache for many businesses, as communication channels maintained for customer interactions require their own platforms.
Cloud service providers have realized how hard it is to pay attention to multiple things at once and this gave birth to third-party integrations. However, it’s quite likely that integrations will be a thing of the past soon thanks to multichannel business communication platforms, the leaders of which happen to be the market’s best business VoIP providers.
Why Is Third-Party Integration a Dead End for VoIP?
As much as integrating third-party apps is a convenient way of unifying different solutions, it’s actually something VoIP users rarely enjoy. The reason behind this is that VoIP services typically cannot be integrated into other solutions at all, and when they can they are usually reduced to nothing more than a softphone add-on. However, being limited to just placing and receiving calls from an add-on within another solution is still better than having a VoIP service that’s incompatible with other cloud apps, as it can further streamline the workflow by eliminating the need to switch between apps.
Still, using multiple services each with their own database just to maintain a high-quality customer service is anything but convenient. Thankfully, VoIP companies are known for pushing their own limits to turn their solutions into something bigger than plain voice solutions.
In fact, by providing various extras not strictly related to telephony in general – such as internet faxing, business texting, and instant messaging – VoIP companies have already proven that they can in fact provide customer engagement features on the very platform that they run their phone services on. This means that the future of VoIP isn’t integration with third-party apps but instead becoming a customer engagement feature in a multichannel communication platform that uses a unified database and a single user interface for all included services.
However, this isn’t just the future… it’s already a reality.
Variations for Multichannel Communication Platforms
Option 1: Integrating Social Media Into VoIP
Ideally, a multichannel business communication platform encompasses everything with which businesses can interact with customers in the fastest and most convenient way possible, but even small additions like MightyCall’s social media integration can turn a simple VoIP solution into something much more. In fact, this solution by MightyCall is a fine example of how integration should be used to merge existing solutions into a multichannel communication platform.
In this case when a post, comment, or instant message is left on the business’s Facebook and/or Twitter profile, it is automatically imported into the phone system manager as a task that can be assigned to the most relevant employee and ultimately responded to from within MightyCall’s platform.
Option 2: Expanding Services
RingCentral and Nextiva have taken the approach of multichannel communication platforms to the next level by providing in-house customer engagement services. Granted, their VoIP and CRM solutions still need separate subscriptions but since they are operated by the same service provider – and share the same database – using cloud telephony and CRM features at the same time from a single platform won’t be a hassle anymore.
This is already impressive enough and exactly what Nextiva users will enjoy should they opt into the cloud phone system and CRM services of the company. But RingCentral, which is already known as a pioneer in the VoIP market, has put a little twist in its multichannel communication platform, too. For starters, it allows users to choose between full-fledged CRMs Engage (formerly Dimelo) and Contact Center, both of which can complement existing RingCentral voice plans.
RingCentral Engage (Dimelo)
RingCentral Contact Center
But where Engage has basic customer engagement features due to the fact that it has – at the time of writing – only recently been acquired, Contact Center provides even more. In fact, in addition to the usual features it also comes with extras like intelligent communication channel routing, integration with third-party CRM apps such as Zendesk and Salesforce, and the option to provide customers Glip – RingCentral’s team and collaboration app – as a communication channel.
Best VoIP Systems of 2019