To compete in the 21st century marketplace, businesses need to align their workforce with their customer's behavior and preferences. There are many tools available to support this practice, with a Hosted VoIP platform being a key for internal and external communication strategies.
Smart businesses place their associates where they can be most effective. This isn't necessarily within the same location. They can locate functions where the right resources are plentiful, so they can choose and retain the best talents. Work locations can be remote, at home, or very mobile. To accomplish this, these businesses set up their infrastructure to facilitate seamless work and communication. The best environment for this type of workforce includes cloud computing and collaboration tools and a Hosted VoIP phone service.
Internal Communications - With employees operating where they are most effective, communication becomes paramount. With a cloud-based phone system, employees can connect to the office phone system wherever they are located and with a variety of devices. Desk phones can be assigned for remote or home offices if that is the preference. Alternatively, soft phones can be installed on a laptop or smart phone and operate just like a desk phone. Employees can extension dial and transfer calls to each other without regard as to the type of device or location.
Successfully connecting remote and central work forces with a hosted VoIP systems doesn’t require huge infrastructure or investment. A single phone system can connect your team whether they are in Portland or in Philadelphia, or working at home.
External Communications - Creating effective strategies for a 21st century workforce does not stop at simply making it work operationally. If remote office locations and work at home strategies do not include a marked improvement in communications with the customer, then it needs to be re-examined. Customer expectations have increased with the degree to which our society is connected. They expect expeditious meeting of their needs, so it is important to increase the degree to which employees are reachable.
Remote locations and work at home strategies can increase the work day for your business to be available for customer contact. Customer or technical support teams can be deployed in multiple time zones. Additionally, work at home strategies can promote flexible work times.
Ensure your mobile and virtual workforce is more available by connecting a variety of devices to the phone network. This can include providing a direct dial number (as opposed to a personal cell phone number) that connects to an office desk phone, a soft phone on their laptop, and a soft phone on their cell phone. When the soft phones are activated, employees can take calls from anywhere and become more accessible. If they are not able to answer, the company voicemail is engaged, not a personal cell phone. Also, when calling out from the soft phone, they are delivering the caller ID of the business and not their personal cell phone.
Other Communication Opportunities - Businesses can look to create ring groups for certain elements of their business, like customer support, inside sales, etc. Employees can be a part of their assigned groups no matter where they are located. Calls can be directed to these groups from an assigned extension (for transferred calls to the group) and an auto attendant. Auto attendants should be set up with the customer in mind. What are the primary reasons a customer calls? If you can cover 80% of the reasons with a few options on the auto attendant, then your customer will appreciate the ease to which they are connected to the right associate to meet their needs. Avoid multiple tiers and many selection options if at all possible.
Hosted VoIP solutions are essential to today's business climate. They are as flexible as businesses need to be to complete and can be customized to the specific situations they face. Research and find a Hosted VoIP provider that understands this and can help you through the design and programming.
About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.