Recent technological advances are rapid and wide-ranging: the telecoms industry today is unrecognizable to that of 15 years ago. Traditional telecoms and digital infrastructure was once the center of connectivity and, though it is still essential in modern life, legacy models are struggling to survive in a digital world.
Communication is also at the core of humanity. Increased geographical mobility means time difference and distance are no longer barriers for multinational businesses, but globalization also means that it has never been more important for businesses to be, or appear to be, universal, always on-demand, and accessible.
You would think increased cross-border business would yield positive things in the voice industry, but even revenue from international voice services is now in terminal decline and wholesale is not immune either. Large voice-focused companies have failed to transition from legacy systems to internet protocol (IP), meaning telephony providers are particularly threatened due to the shift towards Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
Some legacy key-players have adapted to IP by utilizing new infrastructure technologies, due to their compatibility with traditional methods, but many have also had to undergo awkward mergers to survive.
Maintaining traditional processes are costly in monetary terms and in time and manpower. Qualified professionals are required to tend to the network and around-the-clock experts are expected to be available to maintain good customer relations. But as costs spiral and revenues deflate, voice network operators cannot afford to use valuable resources on efforts that no longer pay off. The aforementioned VoIP and cloud-based telephony have changed the landscape so significantly that telcos who are not offering such international and wide-spanning services must urgently reconsider their offering.
But hope is not lost; by analyzing their business model, telcos could still catch up and even get ahead of the game. Like all enterprise faced with threats, streamlining operations is the obvious step. How to achieve this is often unknown, if not intimidating, as customer service budgets that were once the first to be cut are no longer dispensable. Owing to today’s increasingly tech-savvy and independent customers, top-quality customer service is expected every step of the process.
The solution - automated cloud communication
As such in every aspect of life, automation is inevitable and must be embraced. It’s also key in bringing telecoms into the 21st century. Through the automation of communication services, its ability to increase operational efficiencies, cut costs and create new revenue streams makes automation the best course of action for any company looking to step up their game in an ultra-competitive market. Legacy voice providers mainly waste resources in two key areas: number provision and internal processes. Both areas are challenging and present several problems, but can also be solved by automation.
Telcos offering phone numbers, call routing and termination through traditional methods undergo an extensive and laboring process which includes cold calling, negotiation, and multiple applications before they are able to deliver the service. If the client needs international coverage on top of that, then the contract must be negotiated again in each relevant country. This tedious and unnecessary process is often made worse due to unorganized management and report systems which duplicate work, efforts, and information. Even though digital transformation is little more than a buzzword to some, the act of shifting your business model in line with industry trends, which are hugely dependent on movement in the digital economy, is essential.
The benefits - reduced overheads, self-service and quicker delivery
While carriers using legacy systems are reluctant to introduce up-to-date structures due to initial costs, C-levels must realize that every day outdated means are used, there are greater risks to deliverables. Businesses who have made the switch to VoIP are already reaping long-term results, seeing an average saving of 50 to 75 percent.
Phone number ordering will speed up exponentially through the automation of this process. Ridding inefficiencies and creating an on-demand online service for both international and local numbers, plus competitive call routing packages, offers an opportunity for telcos to cut overhead costs substantially and enables bootstrapped businesses to completely collapse their back office. This technology is beneficial in more than just monetary means. Software Advice found that people are four times more likely to answer calls from local numbers while being able to call a local customer support number offers an additional sense of business legitimacy. Through using an array of numbers, depending on the receiver, businesses are able to tailor their efforts for better results.
Having more control over the numbers a company uses is also a huge advantage. There has been a great increase in competition for both memorable phone numbers and international freephone numbers, thus creating a whole new market of its own. Catchy phone numbers are a huge asset and are sought-after thanks to their ability to boost business, increase trust and further establish a company in the industry - the same way short website domains reaffirms a company’s reputation. This means there are big payouts available to telco providers offering memorable combinations of prefixes like 1234, 1122, or 9900.
Universal International Freephone Numbers (UIFNs) have also risen in popularity since internet-based numbers emerged. These unique, toll-free numbers can be called from anywhere in the world where the numbers are active. All sized enterprise enjoy increased accessibility through a single point of contact, while particularly beneficial to smaller companies who are now able to advertise globally without added cost and complexity of several location-specific numbers.
Despite the rise of chatbots and instant messaging, telephony is still essential in conducting business on an international level, resulting in the implementation of automation being crucial to telco and other legacy digital infrastructure providers. Though making the move may be costly, the rewards far exceed costs when looking at the bigger picture. At a time of continuous innovation within an already fast-paced environment, telecoms companies must not only survive but thrive. You cannot put a price on one-to-one, meaningful conversations with prospects and clients, and the tools that enable such communication.