E-Handbook: Time to move to UCaaS? UC's future indeed looks 'cloudy' Article 2 of 4



UCaaS market verticals require custom platform features

UCaaS market verticals have unique communications requirements. Most platforms now offer businesses more customizability to tailor features and integrations to meet specific needs.

One of the main advantages of on-premises unified communications platforms over UC as a service has been the ability to customize features to suit an organization's distinct needs. UCaaS vendors have been busy adding important customization options, however, and now nearly any business vertical can migrate to a UCaaS platform without sacrificing functionality.

Organizations that have previously passed on UCaaS due to the lack of customization should give the technology a second look. Let's examine the UCaaS market verticals of manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality and banking to evaluate how a business can deploy and customize certain UCaaS features to meet communication needs for the organization.

1. Manufacturing

Businesses that manufacture products require UC services for two distinct segments of their organization. First, UC is used within the corporate office for non-manufacturing departments to use, including accounting, engineering, marketing, sales and IT. For these roles, the required services will be the same as any other business vertical, such as voice, video conferencing, chat and team collaboration.

Within the manufacturing plant, most employees have little-to-no need for the types of UC functionality found within an office setting. Instead, the company might offer house phones around employee common areas for internal calling purposes. Plant supervisors, on the other hand, will likely need constant access to a phone. As supervisors are often walking the manufacturing floor, they are better off using a Wi-Fi-enabled phone.

One-way communication is also useful on manufacturing plant floors. This is where intercom features come in handy. An intercom message can be broadcasted throughout parts or the entire plant to get important information to employees in a rapid and efficient manner.

Manufacturing organizations are also likely to have call centers so customers can contact the manufacturer for warranty issues, ordering additional products and other questions. From a technical perspective, UCaaS platforms with inbound-contact center functionality will be useful. These include customizations such as call queues, automatic call distributor, interactive voice response, skills-based routing and integrations with CRM systems.

2. Healthcare

A healthcare provider's UC needs share some similarities to manufacturing plants. For example, an inbound call center will be needed so patients can make appointments, ask questions or contact a doctor or nurse on staff. Deploying house phones in a healthcare facility's common areas are useful for internal calling. Lastly, Wi-Fi-capable phones are a great way for nurses and doctors to stay in touch as they're making the rounds throughout the hospital.

That said, the healthcare vertical has some distinct UCaaS customization requirements -- for example, specialized and ultra-HD video calling for telemedicine. Additionally, many healthcare organizations are expanding their use of UC tools in order to better engage with customers before, during and after a visit.

A UCaaS platform within a healthcare environment can enable text and email notifications for upcoming appointments, gather real-time feedback on patient care or request post-appointment surveys. The integration of patient engagement and feedback points with a UC platform provides a single source of customer feedback for the entire organization.

3. Hospitality

UCaaS is an excellent choice for geographically distributed businesses like hotel chains. Large chains will obviously require inbound customer contact center UC features. Much like the healthcare industry, hotels are getting serious about collecting and analyzing real-time customer feedback with the intention of using the data to improve services. The goal is to create loyal customers who not only come back, but also recommend the hotel to others.

Additional UC integrations that would be useful for UCaaS administrators in the hospitality industry include app integrations for customer billing, checkouts, general information distribution and any details for events happening near the hotel, hall or convention center. The use of CRM-integrated text and email communications can also be used to send out hotel news, discounts or loyalty program details.

4. Finance

The use of UCaaS features in the banking and finance industry closely resemble use cases found in the hospitality industry. UC tools for customer contact centers as well as app, text and email integrations for customer engagement are growing in importance.

That said, one UCaaS feature the finance industry has been relying on more than the other UCaaS market verticals is the use of AI-powered chatbots. These chatbots offer a great way for customers to get rapid, 24/7 responses to frequently asked questions about banking services. Chatbots can also quickly direct more complex questions to the appropriate team within the bank or financial institution.

UCaaS platforms have evolved to meet the unique communications needs of any business vertical. Organizations upgrading or planning to upgrade their UC systems should take a closer look at UCaaS.

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