As noted by GovTech.com, county governments across the country are increasingly leading the way when it comes to deploying advanced technologies that matter and make a difference to everyday citizens. And one of the most important ways they are demonstrating technological, governance and civic leadership is by switching to a hosted VoIP phone system (a.k.a. cloud phone system).
At Carolina Digital Phone, we have extensive experience working closely with both large and small county governments to help them reap the advantages of a hosted VoIP phone system. Here are some of the most compelling benefits:
1. Significant Year-Over-Year Cost Savings
According to a report by the National League of Cities (NLC), counties are still recovering from the Great Recession and shouldering much of the country’s residual economic burden. This translates into smaller budgets and an urgent need to cut costs, find efficiencies, and do more with less. Our hosted VoIP phone system checks all of these boxes.
For starters, our hosted VoIP phone system runs on an existing data network infrastructure. As such, county governments eliminate the high costs of purchasing, supporting, maintaining, and periodically replacing a separate voice network infrastructure, which is comprised of PRIs, bonded T1s, or other trunk lines that are required to connect their on-premises private branch exchange to the local telephone company.
In addition, adding new employees to the system and giving them a unique, designated number/extension is affordable and fast, and can be done in a matter of minutes — instead of making an appointment and waiting days or weeks for a conventional phone company technician to come on-site and reconfigure the PBX. Scaling down is just as cost-effective, and phone numbers can move with employees who are transferred to other offices.
On top of this, there are no domestic long-distance fees, built-in video calling significantly reduces travel expenses, and there is no need to hire VoIP specialists as all technical support is handled by our experts. Predictable, fixed billing also makes it much easier to plan and control budgets and spending.
2. Empowering Remote Workers
According to the Center for State and Local Government Excellence, 22% of state and local governments offer telecommuting for eligible positions, such as Durham County, NC which provides staff with multiple methods for working outside of the office. And according to research from IDC, the number of remote workers in the U.S. is expected to reach 105.4 million by 2020.
Our hosted VoIP phone system keeps remote workers “in the loop” through a lightweight app on their smartphone (BYOD, COPE, or CYOD). They can make and receive calls, chat with colleagues, transmit files, and participate in video conferences. And just as importantly for security and privacy, outgoing calls display the county government’s caller ID information — not the individual employee’s caller ID information.
In addition, remote workers can forward calls to any number — including home office landlines — and seamlessly transfer live calls from one device to the next. For example, they can answer a call in the office, transfer it to their mobile phone as they walk to the parking lot, and transfer it again to their car’s Bluetooth system as they drive away.
3. Supporting Compliance, Security and Privacy
While cutting costs and empowering remote workers are important, it goes without saying that these benefits cannot compromise or undermine compliance, security and privacy. The good news is that our hosted VoIP strengthens and supports these critical objectives.
For example, authorized administrators can record and monitor all calling activity for both auditing and quality assurance purposes. In addition, all calls are encrypted from IP handsets into a secure network, and all information is protected in carrier-grade data centers.
We also go further to protect county governments through several integrated strategies and technologies, including next-generation security gateways, and comprehensive fraud management strategies that proactively detects and prevents misuse — whether accidental or intentional. Plus, our in-house team of telecommunications and security experts are on the job and ready to respond 24/7/365. While our knowledge is global, and our service is LOCAL.
4. Establish Business Continuity During Emergencies
As noted by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA):
Governments face many types of unscheduled disruptions to business operations. Disruptions to business operations may come from a variety of causes such as natural or manmade disasters, terrorism, and technology failures. Threat situations, domestic attacks, and natural disasters all present challenges to maintaining business operations.
Governments have a responsibility to minimize disruptions in the services they provide. Many government services are essential to public health and safety and to the protection of property. Disruptions in those essential services may range from temporary inconvenience to significant harm to individuals and the community. Governments also have the responsibility for mitigating the effects of disasters on the communities they serve.
Our hosted VoIP phone system establishes business continuity — either briefly or for extended periods of time, such as when Hurricane Florence battered North Carolina in September, 2018. For example, we utilize a geographically-dispersed cloud infrastructure with multiple data centers, leverage automatic failover, and provide around-the-clock performance monitoring.
5. Improve Citizen Engagement
According to research by McKinsey & Company, many citizens get frustrated when calling government offices because they must speak with multiple parties before their questions are answered, or their requests are completed. This leads to chronic disengagement and mistrust, which cuts at the core of county government missions and mandates.
Our hosted VoIP phone system is designed to improve citizen engagement and close the information gap. For example, citizens can use interactive voice response (IVR) menus to quickly reach their desired agency, team or individual. At the same time, county governments can quickly and easily create custom auto attendant greetings to inform citizens about evergreen news (e.g. business hours and locations) and breaking news (e.g. updates on weather advisories and emergencies).
Furthermore, voicemails can be sent to employees as audio text files, which improves response times and also creates a record for reference and compliance purposes. Employees can also check the status of their colleagues at-a-glance (e.g. available, away from desk, etc.) before transferring a call.
The Bottom Line
County governments are under relentless pressure to:
- Find new, better and bigger cost saving opportunities
- Empower remote workers
- Meet compliance, security and privacy standards
- Establish business continuity during emergencies
- Improve citizen engagement
Our state-of-the-art, flexible and affordable hosted VoIP phone system does ALL of the above — which is why county governments trust and recommend us. We don’t just make promises. We keep them!