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Why Customers Need Unified Messaging: The Money To Be Saved

July 17, 2017

Unified messaging (UM) solutions allow users to manage voice, fax, and regular text messages in a single mailbox that can be accessed with either with a regular email client or by a mobile or desktop telephone. The PC user can open and play back voice messages, fax images can be saved or printed from the desktop, and emails can be converted into audio files and played back to the user over the phone or PC speakers. Telephone user interfaces can also be used to retrieve messages. Visual mail allows users to view and sort messages. Resellers must be able to describe how UM will benefit customers and save money over basic messaging options.

  • Call answering – UM allows a caller to leave a message in a mailbox or play an audio menu to callers. Callers can then choose a destination by voice or DTMF input. This capability can save companies money by reducing or eliminating the need for live call attendants to direct calls and take messages. Cost-justify by valuating the salaries of the number of attendants the company has. For instance, a secretary who answers calls and takes messages for the marketing department and makes $50,000 per year can be eliminated, or some of his or her time can be redeployed to other projects. In this case, up to $50,000 per year could be saved. In addition, because message taking and call routing are automated, fewer errors are made, which can equate to significant savings.

  • Voicemail to email – With UM, messages that are deposited into a user’s mailbox can be automatically forwarded to email and appear like any other email message. This single mailbox concept makes users more productive because they only have one place to check for messages. Users can click on the voicemail message in the email box and have it played back to them via phone or speakers. UM can also call a designated number and play the message. This productivity feature can save companies in terms of time and efficiency. VARs can determine hard cost by obtaining salary information and understanding the amount of time users spend checking both voicemail and email separately, as well as the cost of delay in responding to messages.

  • Email reader – UM can allow email messages to be read to the recipient over a desk or mobile phone. The system can be set up to call a designated number and read the email messages to the user, who can then delete, forward, or reply to the message using a telephone user interface. During this session, the system can also dial out to another UM user. Users can then check email from any location. Like voicemail to email, savings come from time saved and increased productivity, and can be determined as described previously.

  • Visual voicemail – With visual voicemail, users can quickly view and access a list of their messages for playback, as well as manage their personal greetings and upload messages to a voicemail server using a graphical interface. With some visual voicemail services, email-based and text-based transcripts of audio messages can be provided as well. This provides users the ability to quickly scan voicemail messages to determine their importance. Essential messages will not fall through the cracks, and this will save the business money by reducing lost sales and increasing customer satisfaction.

  • Fax messaging – UM lets users receive faxes in their mailboxes. In UM, a fax is sent to the user's mailbox as an email message that has an image file attached. The user can then open the attached file. This improves user productivity because employees can check for fax messages in their email inboxes instead of having to go to the fax machine to see if something has arrived. This is also great for users who do not have access to fax machines. Users save considerable time and are more productive when all messages are available in one location. This can be cost-justified in the same way as voicemail to email.

These features of UM are easy for VARs to talk about with customers and even easier to cost-justify. Any size business—from the very smallest to the largest—can save money with UM.

Are there additional UM topics that should be covered in this forum? Please feel free to comment.