Despite the constant barrage of emails you receive on a daily basis, businesses still need telephones. The ability to provide instant contact with a human voice in a two-way manner that telephones offer is still unbeatable by other communication forms.
As phone systems evolve, more and more features become part of the package. How does a small to medium sized business fully utilize these Unified Communications features in a way that facilitates inter office communication to increase productivity and efficiency? Let’s explore some of the UC features and what they can do for your business and your customers.
Busy Lamp Fields
Most IP-based phones will have several so-called line keys. While these seldom represent actual phone lines anymore, they can be used to observe the phone status of colleagues in given groups. Perhaps you have a team of six supervisors who sit in different areas around the office, a quick glance at the BLF can tell you if your coworker is currently on a call. This means you do not have to call while they are busy and waste time while they decline the call through the annoying call waiting alert.
While this is very typical of a legacy feature, often times designated as a “traditional PBX” feature, voicemail can be used within the office to leave reminders for coworkers, especially off of regular business hours or when they are busy. When combined with Busy Lamp Field feature, you can directly dial the coworker’s voice portal (typically with a star code, such as *55 then their extension) and leave a message for them without interrupting their current call.
Voicemail to Email
You can have your voicemail messages sent directly to your email, so you can listen to them on the run without calling into your voice portal. In this way, another supervisor can see that you are on the phone, leave a voicemail, and you can have that alert come to your email to review when you have time. Plus, your email server has a lot more storage capacity than the voice portal, allowing you to archive voicemail messages long-term. Clever use of Rules in Microsoft Outlook will let you sort and store them easily.
Instant Message and Presence
While the BLF can show you the state of the phone, presence can show you if the coworker is busy, available for chat, away from their computer, or not logged in with a simple visual clue. From this indicator you can initiate a chat, even if they are busy or on the phone, to get an answer quickly without waiting for their phone to become available. This chat can be turned into a phone call with the touch of a button, too, to better and more efficiently explain and collaborate. Group chats are also possible, so all six supervisors can tackle a hefty problem at once, if necessary.
Speaking of collaboration, that instant message that turned into a phone call can also turn into a desktop share with the appropriate feature. Show your colleagues exactly what you mean, in real time, while you have them on the phone and/or on chat. Explain your ideas fully and instantly without a formal meeting or traveling across the office.
And finally, good UCaaS packages will incorporate the ability to utilize a smartphone as a business device. Ring your iPhone when the office phone rings, with a distinctive pattern so you know it’s for business. Use the same Instant Message and Presence to chat and place calls with your office identity, even while you are away from the office.
By utilizing the sharing and collaborative features of your UCaaS system, you can expand your office on the road, quickly chat, call, or share with other team members, and operate with a level of efficiency that would not be possible on a legacy PBX phone system.