Remote working has gained and retained its popularity in recent years, thanks to the range of benefits such as flexibility in work schedules, that it can offer to organisations. With developments in cloud computing combined with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies, workers are increasingly able to work effectively from any location, at any time, using internet connected devices.
Despite the many observable benefits of remote working however, many employers remain sceptical, often citing concerns that the increased flexibility and independence will result in a less effective and productive workforce. In this piece we’ll explore how you can use technology to overcome some of the challenges that come with remote working, ensuring your employees remain engaged and productive and your customers enjoy the same high standards of service they expect of your business.
VoIP – The modern replacement for traditional Telephony
VoIP stands for ‘Voice over Internet Protocol,’ which refers to a set of standards and protocols for transmitting voice signals across IP-based networks (in other words, the internet). You can make direct calls with VoIP from a computer or VoIP phone from any location. Even if you keep the same contact number that your customers are used to, calls are automatically redirected to VoIP-connected devices. This method effectively enables organisations to present a professional image and give a professional service to customers, irrespective of how and where this is being done.
The ‘office setting’, from anywhere
With VoIP, your office phone system can be extended to any physical location provided you have a reliable internet connection and a VoIP-capable device in your possession. This means that your clients enjoy the same unencumbered communication experience whether you’re in the office or on the other side of the globe on a business trip.
In this way, professionalism is achievable in even the most relaxed circumstances. By using VoIP, you may improve your professional standards to levels they have never been while keeping your customers unaware of any changes in how business is conducted, often in a more cost-effective and integrated way.
The same phone numbers that customers use or find online will still be used, and when someone answers, the standard “Hello,…, how may I help?” will be stated. For your clients, all of these elements remain essential even if the context of it has changed; consistency is critical since it builds their familiarity with and trust in your company as a whole and adds to its success.
Conventional phone lines are ordinary phone lines, with just one phone number being issued to them. If traditional connectivity is still being used, your staff will need to memorise complex codes and keys to dial to make their device appear as the office number, which can take time and leave room open for confusion and mistakes. With VoIP, it is easy to assign and manage a range of numbers for each device, and to intelligently assign incoming calls amongst the customer service team. For customer support, taking calls and managing them becomes a lot easier using VoIP, whilst the flexibility of devices they can use, including tablets and mobile phones, enables a more mobile and flexible service when it is needed.
Voicemail is a useful technology that in theory at least, ensures we never miss a message. However, in modern offices, managing voicemails can be time consuming and rather bureaucratic and risk an inability to capture and respond to all voicemails efficiently. With VoIP, it is possible to control and configure calls, such as where and for how long calls ring for, and to use capabilities like transcription to render voicemails into text that can be forwarded to email addresses in the customer service team. Alongside this, you can direct calls to different devices depending on how many times the caller has attempted to contact your business, enabling an ability to make a promise to clients that you won’t ever miss their calls, and get back to them promptly.
Regardless of the industry, ensuring a reliable service that upholds the promises that are made to customers is essential to customer satisfaction, and ultimately your bottom line. By having the opportunity to direct your calls to specified locations, you can guarantee that a certain quality of service is delivered. Whatever the circumstance, it is possible to leverage technology so that there is never a reason for business to stop or run inefficiently.
Microsoft Teams is one of the most popular business tools today and functions as a collaboration focal point within the Microsoft 365 product line. First released to a rather subdued reception in 2017, this innovative platform has since risen to become one of the globe’s most popular workplace communication tools, with over 250 million active daily users.
Teams is fully integrated into the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, making it easy for your team to exchange files and organise work in a plethora of ways, including automating processes and features. By consolidating all of your tasks into one easy-to-use platform, you can streamline communications, organise workflows, and keep your business on the vanguard of the remote work revolution.
Meetings made easier by Teams
There are both opportunities and disadvantages to remote meetings. On the opportunity side, the adaptable format creates more flexibility and space for remote teams, especially larger ones, whilst the calendaring of meetings often leads them to run approximately on time compared to oft-dreaded office meetings that risk running over. There are also easy-to-use, interactive tools that enhance the meeting experience, such as screen sharing and virtual whiteboards. This said, technical issues and many of the usual aspects that contribute to poor meetings (e.g lack of preparation or staying on topic) can still contribute to a poor experience.
Teams Meetings allow you to choose a time that works for the attendees and instantly add it to their calendars, allowing you to plan a meeting in advance. It is a ground-breaking tool since it completely eliminates the hours it used to take to organise a time that worked with everyone’s busy work schedules. Microsoft Teams eliminates the concern of losing a critical team member or one who travels regularly for work by enabling your team to participate in meetings from any location in the world with an internet connection.
While using these tools can be scary at first, a consultation may be the best option if you’re unsure if you can do it on your own.
Being aware of how the workplace’s technology landscape is constantly changing is essential if you want your own business to prosper in this fast-paced, digital era. You may rest easy knowing that your team is well-equipped with the skills, knowledge and technology that they need to not only execute their jobs well, but also progress your company. We hope that this piece gives a useful introduction to getting the best from your remote working using VoIP and Microsoft Teams, but also offers insights into how technology can be used to do work more quickly, effectively and seamlessly in your business.
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