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Teamwork Requires Communication: Phone Solutions for Mobile Workforces

Posted by Mark Greim on Sep 16, 2019 10:38:00 AM

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.

Work at Home EmployeesSmart 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.

Remote EmployeesInternal 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. 

Moble WorkforceEnsure 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. 

Tags: Phone Service for Multiple Locations, virtual workforce, VoIP Mobility

Virtual World, Virtual Companies, and Virtual Phones.

Posted by Mark Greim on Jul 22, 2015 2:39:29 PM

The world has gone virtual.  Businesses have adapted by utilizing Hosted VoIP phone service to better connect their customers and employees.  The flexibility inherent in VoIP services provides businesses with many options to differentiate their service to their customers and improve the production and responsiveness of their employees.Virtual_Office_Phones

I'll define virtual for this purpose as the deployment of products and services where and when demand is present.  This is the nature of the world we live in.  Consumers of products and services buy differently today, and seek out support differently as well.  Matching the full communication suite of your business with the needs of the customers is critical for on-going success.  Utilization of the company's web site platform and phone communication platform are key components of the communication strategy necessary to meet the needs of the virtual world.

By its very nature, Hosted VoIP phone service is virtual.  The phone system resides in the cloud with your hosted provider and all phones are connected to it via the internet.  Therefore, the "system" doesn't reside under the roof of a single business location, thus providing the business with extreme flexibility in resource deployment among other advantages.

  • Deploy Resources Anywhere - Imagine setting up your business to your most extreme advantage!  This could mean many things.  Your business may have a particular skill set of employees that are plentiful and less expensive in another part of the country.  You can establish a presence there and recruit the best and most affordable talent.  You may also have a need to deploy resources at key client locations, whether on-site or in the same town.  Hosted VoIP allows you to do this but appear to all callers as if you are under the same roof.  Routing calls, extension dialing, conferencing, and call groups can all occur regardless of the location of the employee.
  • Addressing the Mobile Employee - Many companies have resources that are "out and about" providing sales and service to the customer base.  These employees can be easily reachable to customer calls through the utilization of a combination of Hosted VoIP features.  For example, calls to their extension or direct dial number can be forwarded to or simultaneously ring their cell phone.  For android or iPhone users, a softphone application can be programmed to match or replace their desk phone rather than the simultaneous ring.  This has the added benefit of being able to call customers and deliver the business caller ID rather than the cell phone caller ID.  Finally, any voicemails left for these employees are emailed to them for quick playback and responsiveness.
  • Location Agnostic Functions - With Hosted VoIP, businesses have incredible flexibility in how they deploy resources.  In a multi-location environment, you can choose to centralize certain functions for managerial oversight and other economies.  For example, say every branch had a support function that could provide the service centrally.  These businesses can deploy a centralized model to conserve resources and provide some consistency of service management.  To the caller, they would have no idea where the call was routed, only that it was answered quickly and their need was handled successfully.  Conversely, if this support function was decentralized or included a remote work force (like work at home), calls to this group would be routed as if they were all under the same roof.  Again, businesses could build the workforce to match the call volume and time of day needs rather than one at each location and be subject to the hours of operation of the branch.
  • Call Routing Options - Once again, there are a myriad of ways Hosted VoIP can conform to the needs of the customer.  No matter where resources are deployed, calls can be routed to the best resource to serve the customer needs.  Call groups or queues can be set up for the various functions of the business.  Calls are routed to these groups by a common extension or auto attendant option or both.  Specific routines can be programmed to ensure the best experience for the customer.  Benefits are not just limited to groups of employees, but also to individuals.  Direct dial numbers are provided as a means to provide customers with a direct way to reach key people supporting them.  Calls are also able to be routed to them by extension transferring, extension dialing from an auto attendant, or a directory option on the auto attendant.

These are just a few ways Hosted VoIP phone service addresses the new ways businesses need to address their customers.  Each business and their customers present a unique opportunity.  The key is to find a Hosted VoIP service provider who will listen to these needs and customize the programming of the platform to maximize the benefit.  Cookie cutter or self-service platforms will not pull out all of the benefits and lead to frustration.  Research the alternatives, but definitely plan on joining the mountain of companies who are transitioning to a VoIP service.  Do it before your competition and leave them in the dust!

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. 

Tags: Phone Service for Multiple Locations, VoIP Mobility

Mobility Options with Hosted VoIP

Posted by Mark Greim on Jul 22, 2013 10:16:00 AM

Deploying mobility options is a great way to fully utilize your Hosted VoIP phone system for your business and drive customer satisfaction and office efficiency.  Hosted VoIP services provides a new outlook for your phone system, as you no longer are confined to the walls of the office for your communication practices.  Such options include the utilization of soft phones for your cell phones, tablets, and laptops, engagement of cell phones in the call flow, and the establishment of remote office options for personnel.VoIP Mobility Options

Soft Phones – Working in conjunction with or independently from your VoIP desk phone, soft phones can provide several advantages.  They are set up as your extension in your business on your laptop, tablet, or smart cell phone.  When you turn on these phones, you can dial out and deliver the caller ID for your business instead of that of your cell phone.  You can basically take and make calls anywhere you have an internet connection.  This mobility option provides a measured improvement in customer contact and satisfaction for associates who are on the road or out of the office frequently.  When using these devices, it is recommended that you are on a WiFi network and not relying on 4G or 3G cell service. 

Engagement of Cell Phones in the Call Flow – Again, for employees who are highly mobile or out of the office, calls to their direct dial number or internal extension can be programmed to simultaneously ring or forward to their cell phones.  This increases the ability for key customer contact associates to receive that important phone call while they are away from the office.   If they are busy and do not answer their cell phone, the call is routed back to their office voicemail.  Of course, voicemails can be delivered to email so they can receive and listen to the voicemails and respond quickly.  One important note is that if the associate hits “ignore” on their cell phone, or if the phone is turned off or out of service area, the calls will be picked up by the cell phone voicemail.

Remote Personnel – Because the actual phone system is hosted by your VoIP provider, all of the desk phones are connected back to the host via the internet connection regardless of where they are located.  Therefore, companies are able to deploy a work from home option for their associates, or establish offices where a specific skill set of employees are better recruited and deployed.  Associates can have phones at the office and a duplicate phone at a home or vacation home and still take calls as if they were at the home office.  This opens up plenty of efficiencies and applications for businesses.

The key with all of these options is that they can be used to make the office more efficient, employees more engaged and available, and customers more satisfied.  We’d love to talk over your specific application and help provide a solution for you!

 

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of digital 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. 

Tags: Hosted VoIP, virtual workforce, VoIP Mobility

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