Remote work is now the norm, but that shouldn’t affect your ability to meet your customer needs.
We all remember the early days of the pandemic when everyone was blindsided. Many small businesses had no capability for staff to work outside of the office except to let them loose on a mobile phone and a prayer. If you’re still operating like that, it’s definitely time for an upgrade to your business phone systems.
No matter where your staff are working from, you want to make the experience as easy, consistent and, yes, as affordable as possible.
Adapting to a changing environment
“One of the ways is to review and structure your business communication system to allow for any changes in your business operations,” says Mark Liebach, managing director of business telco solutions company BusinessCom. “And that means ensuring that your office phones and the way you and your staff communicate internally, and with your customers, can adapt to the changing environment.”
That changing environment includes hybrid workers who might be in the office a couple of days, at a supplier one day and working from home the rest of the week. It’s a tricky situation for a small business to handle, but if you haven’t embraced IP telephony (IP is short for Internet Protocol), it’s equally challenging for staff to keep on top of things.
“A cloud-based office phone system is an ideal way to ensure that your business has the flexibility to easily adapt to any operational changes,” says Mark. “Including the deployment of remote workers and temporary office closures.”
The office phone without the office
A significant limitation of traditional phone systems is that they are physically installed at your business premises. That immediately ties your staff to your office – something we know is no longer a viable way for businesses to operate. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution.
A cloud PBX is a business phone system that’s delivered over the internet via Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP. So you can access it from anywhere with a reasonable broadband connection (most small businesses can comfortably operate a Cloud PBX using an NBN 100 connection). This means your staff can communicate exactly the same whether they are in the office or working remotely from home, or anywhere.
Watch Mark Liebach talk to Kochie about improving your office phone systems
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Futureproofing your business phone systems
Here’s a quick, snappy guide to keeping your business phone systems up to date in the new hybrid age:
1. Make it seamless
With staff working everywhere, you want to make jumping between the office and home as seamless as possible.
“Cloud office phones enable staff to comfortably work remote from anywhere in the world, using either desk phones or softphone apps,” says Monica Fry, BusinessCom’s sales director. “They can still access all the same functions, as though they were working from the office.”
2. Make it professional
This is true for your customer user experience as well. There is nothing worse than a crackling line with poor voice quality when you’ve phoned a business for a chat. Not only is it unprofessional, it’s generally untenable for the customer shouting down the phone trying to explain why they’ve called.
No matter where your team are operating from, contacting your team should be the same experience for your customers. A business VoIP and hosted PBX system will also give you access to features that mean you can provide a complete customer experience. “Some key essentials to look for include Music On Hold, Voice2Email, and welcome greeting with an IVR menu to direct callers to an appropriate team,” Monica says.
3. Make it flexible
“One of the biggest benefits of a cloud PBX is its ability to be deployed and used by multiple devices,” says Mark. And that means, you can use it via a desk phone, a laptop, or a mobile phone.
You can also easily change the way incoming calls are handled. “If one of your staff members is away sick or on leave, you can easily and within seconds, re-route incoming calls to another extension or a group,” explains Mark.
4. Make it functional
If you’ve ever tried to make a multi-party call using a smartphone, you’ll definitely know how unclever they can be. Guaranteed you spent most of the call trying to ‘find’ people and chatting away while the call was on mute. If you’re still trying to run a team on a smartphone, it’s definitely time for an upgrade to a system that easily supports conferencing, ring groups, call holding and call queuing.
5. Make it cost-effective
Keeping your telecommunications system in the cloud means you only pay for what you use. “Adding and removing staff is as easy as a click of a button, giving your office phones the ability to quickly change as your business grows and ensures you’re only paying for what you need,” explains Monica.
6. Make it scalable
You might not have a large staff now, but you’ve got big plans and you’ll need help with that. Using a hosted PBX makes it super-simple to add new phone lines when you you add new staff. So the same phone system is suitable no matter how often or even how large you grow.
Find out more about BusinessCom’s small businesses solutions.
This article is brought to you by Kochie’s Business Builders in partnership with BusinessCom.
Feature image: AdobeStock