Telephones are an important part of any business with frequent client contact, whether you’re cold calling consumers or ringing existing customers it’s vital to come across professional over the phone.
Telephone manner and general call quality are fundamental aspects to good client communication, try putting yourself in the customer’s shoes; would you want to trust a company where the phone line is low quality or you can hear adjacent salesmen making calls? -the answer is no.
You help create a positive image of your company through all the interaction you engage in - both on the phone and face-to-face/video calling. Ensure that your telephony is helping to improve your business, not hinder it.
- Ditch the analogue and digital phone systems and move over to VoIP
What is VoIP and what are the benefits?
VoIP stands for “voice over internet protocol” which sounds very technical but put simply, it means a way of using your internet connection to send and receive voice data. Not using the existing hard-wired network from your local telephone exchange.
The most common form of VoIP would be using Skype, with over 35% of users utilising Skype for business. Also, if you have ever made an international call from your landline or mobile phone, you would have actually been using a VoIP system to make and end the call (unbeknown to most people).
There are many companies who now offer IP phones which look like a normal desk phones but are specially made with firmware built in to them that can compress your voice and send it across the net, only to have it decompressed the other side so the other person can hear what you said. And all this is done in a fraction of a second, usually without any loss in quality.
The main benefits to this are cost, which for SME’s can be as little as just $3 per user/month registered to a VoIP system, and the ability to add and use other multimedia devices with the system. Worker productivity is known to increase by ~ 25% when upgrading from a desk phone to a soft phone/headset. An increase in productivity means an increase in profit, as your workers can do more work without the added costs – great for SME’s!
- Wherever possible use multiple device platforms or Unified Communications
What is a multi-device platform and how can it help you in your business?
A UC or “unified communications” platform usually integrates things like IM (instant messaging), Audio, Video, Web and Conferencing.
In the last few years, there have been many multi device platforms or Unified Communication platforms springing up which were initially targeting the large corporations but are now common place in many small to medium enterprises as well. Some of these software systems are listed below.
These are some of the more well-known Unified Communications platforms:
• Cisco Jabber
• Cisco Webex
• Skype for Business
- Invest in a quality headset
Both wired and wireless headsets are a greater alternative to desk phones and are proven to increase productivity in the workplace. A pointer when choosing a headset is one that is preferably wireless and multi device enabled, which will work across all your devices. The freedom and improved productivity you gain from headsets is supreme; the ability to make notes, handle documents, research on the computer are all ways wired headsets improve work productivity. On the other hand, wireless headsets grant ultimate freedom allowing you to walk around whilst in a call and access information that may not be at your desk.
What is a multi-device headset and what are the benefits?
Multi device headsets tend to be wireless and will work on your desk phone (it can be an analogue, digital or VoIP phone) plus your mobile phone (via Bluetooth) and finally your PC or computer.
This smart technology allows you to simply swap from one device to another at the “flick of a switch”
You are talking to someone on your desk phone, your mobile phone rings in your pocket. You simply put the desk call on hold via your headset and then hit the mobile phone button on the headsets base station. The call is instantly transferred to your wireless headset. Once you are finished the call will automatically be put back to the previous device or simply just click “desk” on the base station.
It really is that simple to connect 3 devices together and have them work simultaneously.
- Maximise productivity via smart phone apps
Most, if not all UC platforms have totally embraced the mobile phone application technology that is available to ensure that no matter where you are, you will still have the ability to connect to any number of devices on the platform of your choice – all via a simple phone app!
These apps are created by the telecoms platforms like Cisco jabber, Skype for business etc. and allow you to communicate over any smartphone device, share files and hold conference calls with several participants. For example, Skype for business allows you to hold calls with users that aren’t even using Skype for business – all they need is a phone or internet connection!
5. Don’t neglect – develop your team as you develop your technology
Technology moves at a rapid rate these days and “keeping up” can be a rather frantic race. However, it is the staff that are fully up to date that will be the most productive - utilising every conceivable part of the unified communications platform you have chosen. Some people take to technology easier than others and through working in the telecommunications industry myself I have learnt to understand that some people are naturally tech-savvy, and others require you to show them a thing or two.
Whichever way your business operates, ensure all your team are up to date with the technology you are putting in their hands. Increasing productivity just slightly for an entire team can have substantial effects on ROI.