Amplify employee communication

Using email to conduct important business always starts with the best intentions – saving everyone time. Just think back to the last time you used email to solve a significant business issue or answer detailed questions from an important customer.

But sometimes email creates a disaster of miscommunication. Tone, intonation, and emotion get lost in translation. Messages and ideas are misunderstood. Nothing really gets accomplished.

So, what’s your obvious next step when email isn’t working? A meeting in person, or a quick conference call.

Unfortunately, those communication methods can create a whole new problem. In an increasingly mobile business world where teams, employees, and customers are spread out over multiple remote offices, work-from-home setups, or field operations, it can be nearly impossible to get everyone into the same place at the same time.

Tethering to the mothership: The lasting value of a virtual phone system

Web conferencing has helped mitigate the problem above. But the fact that many businesses lack the communication and collaborative tools their team’s need — regardless of where they work — is the bigger issue. For example, even with web conferencing, many remote or work-from-home employees still rely on personal cell phones that aren’t connected to the company’s main phone system.

That’s problematic for couple of key reasons:

  • With personal landlines and cell phones, it’s significantly more difficult for remote employees to access antiquated company systems for voicemail, call forwarding, and conferencing.
  • Without a true company-owned connection between the corporate office and the employee, the relationship between the two feels more like a contract gig than a full-time job — hurting employee engagement and stickiness.

Thankfully, there’s a relatively simple way to solve that problem: Implementing a new company-owned communication system that’s flexible, mobile, and collaborative.

The reality is that voice communication is still a far superior — and much more immediate — way for team members to connect with each other. It typically leads to richer, more sincere, and more empathetic communication, which in turn amplifies productivity.

Think of these tools like a tether to the corporate mothership. They’re a lifeline that allows everyone to feel connected to their colleagues and customers, but in a way that aligns with the mobility and functionality that today’s remote workers need.

Why many businesses are moving to the cloud

Of course, the image of a desktop phone doesn’t exactly convey a sense of mobility. And it certainly doesn’t solve the problem of being able to connect from any location.

That’s where cloud-based phone systems can help.

Cloud-based phone systems allow team members to receive company calls, access corporate voicemail, and setup virtual conferences from a basic Internet connection. When employees step out of the office, calls can be forwarded and certain features can be accessed from their cell phone.

Traditional phone systems, on the other hand, often hinder remote workers’ communication effectiveness because of their limited mobile capabilities.

This often results in lost money, lost productivity, and big headaches. Even worse, businesses often pay more for traditional phone systems in the form of equipment maintenance and outages.

Virtual communication systems create an overall communication experience that makes people feel like an effective part of the team, wherever they are. No more emotionless email exchanges. And no more awkward, disjointed conference calls. At the end of the day, that’s good for your team, your company, and, most importantly, your customers.

When Disaster Strikes: Looking to the Cloud for Business Continuity

It’s a Monday afternoon. Calls are rolling in, there are countless voicemails to respond to, and business is humming along. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Courtney the sales manager knocks on your door with a perplexed look on her face.

“Do you know what’s wrong with the phone system?” Courtney asks. “There’s no dialtone, no access to voicemail, and no calls coming in.”

Ah, yes — the feared phone system failure. Whether caused by a clumsy utility worker, a big storm, or some other unpredictable problem, phone system issues can create enormous headaches. In fact, if your company hasn’t implemented any kind of disaster or redundancy plan, those failures significantly disrupt business continuity and productivity.

You can’t afford that kind of stagnation. So, you close your laptop, pull out your cell phone, and call your telecommunications provider. An hour later, you finally get someone on the line. Two hours later, you’ve diagnosed the problem. And, right around closing time, the phone system is finally working again. Problem is, you and your team have lost a day of productivity. And your customers aren’t happy.

A Simpler (and More Effective) Way to Manage Disaster Recovery

Until recently, the only way to ensure this scenario didn’t happen to you was to duplicate all of your systems and implement a complex disaster recovery plan. Both of those require significant investments in equipment and infrastructure, which is why many businesses have instead chosen to roll the dice and hope for the best.

Today, there’s another solution that is cheaper and much more efficient. Cloud-based phone systems have greatly advanced system recovery and business continuity in the face of an outage.

Because cloud systems are hosted virtually, there’s no need to worry about the types of disastrous scenarios that used to disrupt on-premise or landline phone services. If a phone line is cut, cloud-based systems are totally unaffected. If Internet service goes down, phone calls can be re-routed to backup cell phone numbers or other business offices.

Simply put, recovery and continuity is a non-issue.

3 Key Business Benefits of Switching to the Cloud

While that kind of peace of mind is pretty compelling on its own, there are a handful of ancillary benefits of the cloud to consider, as well. Here are three particularly important ones:

  1. Cloud-based phone systems are less expensive up-front than on-premise solutions — and that’s with built-in disaster recovery and redundancy planning.
  2. Unlike on-premise solutions, cloud-based phone systems are totally scalable. If you need to re-direct call flow from one site to another, it’s very easy to do without any disruption in call quality or service.
  3. If a total outage strikes, wiping out your office’s power and Internet service, cloud-based phone systems allow employees to connect from anywhere — their home, a coffee shop, or wherever they can tap into power and a data connection.

With these benefits in mind, the question, then, is why you wouldn’t switch to the cloud.

Truthfully, there are still compelling arguments for on-premise phone systems, and it’s important to consider your goals before making any major change. But if connectivity, business continuity, system redundancy and reliability are important to your company, employees and customers, you’d be wise to take a closer look at the benefits of the cloud. If nothing else, it will help you better plan for network disruptions you can’t possibly anticipate.