sipVine's Hosted VoIP platform has made it possible for key associates to be reached internally or by customers wherever they may be. Such is the world we live in today, and to keep your edge over your competitors it is important to be available to communicate with your customers whenever they require.
Options for activating find me / follow me features have evolved over the years. Customers can now choose from a variety of ways to make your employees reachable.
The foundation of all options is setting up direct dial numbers for your associates. Clients and suppliers can reach employees by calling them direct or through a transfer to their extension.
This was the earliest of find me / follow me features. Employees can forward their phones to a cell phone directly from their phone or from a web portal. The only downside of this is that in the event they do not answer the call, the call will be answered by the cell phone's voicemail, not the personal company voicemail for that employee's extension.
We can program an employee's desk phone to simultaneously ring to a cell phone. It usually takes the cell network two rings to catch up, so if the employee is at their desk, they will be able to answer their desk phone before the cell network engages. If they are away, we typically program the simultaneous ring to last for 19 seconds, pulling it back to the employee's sipVine voicemail before it is automatically "answered" by the cell phone's voicemail.
This theoretically solved the issue with the call forwarding landing on a cell phone's voicemail if the call is not answered. However, if the cell phone is shut off or out of the service area, the cell phone's voicemail will "answer" the call. So, this option definitely provided an always reachable solution, but has a couple of gotchas to be aware of!
Another alternative for associates who operate from the office and a home office is to deploy multiple desk phones or devices. We create duplicate set ups of the employee's direct dial number and extension so that multiple devices can ring when calls are made to their direct dial number or transferred to their extension. This solves the solution for reaching associates who routinely work in multiple locations.
A second desk phone will work in any environment where there is an internet connection. If the home office is not close to a router or switch or hard wired with ethernet, we can deploy a WiFi adapter on several of our VoIP phone models to connect the desk phone over the home WiFi signal.
Additionally, the associate can deploy a soft phone on their laptop computer and use that device when they are off-site. They can choose to use the soft phone or a desk phone while they're at the office as well! sipVine's sipSoft device works on the Windows platform. Ideally, one would use a blue tooth or USB headset with a microphone when conducting phone calls over this device.
The ultimate in find me / follow me solutions is a soft phone appliance that resides on the associate's cell phone. This puts availability directly in control of the associate. If they choose to be reachable, they simply turn on the soft phone app. Calls made to their direct dial or extension will be answered by the softphone app. When they dial out from the app, they are delivering the caller ID of the business, not the cell phone! Literally, all features and operability of the desk phone are on the soft phone app!
These devices have been used for outside sales or support associates, company principles, and other high-touch, customer-facing associates. They are also used in after-hours on-call practices. If there is an after-hours on-call option on your company auto attendant, all possible employees that are on-call would have their soft phone or remote desk phone devices included in the on-call ring group. Then, the employee or employees on-call for that evening simply turn on their app so they can field the calls from the customers looking for on-call support.
sipVine associates have helped thousands of businesses optimize their communication practices. Establishing the right method for engaging your remote or highly mobile work force is just one example. These find-me / follow-me alternatives are just a few of the ways we help create a workable solution for virtual office staffing. If you'd like a quote or consultation, please reach out to us.