A cloud-based business phone system using VoIP (Voice over IP) is a crucial piece in your connectivity and business resilience at any time, and if you are shifting to remote working right now, then it’s time to start enjoying the many benefits VoIP comms can bring to your organisation.
This article highlights what are 6 Important Ways a VoIP Business Phone System Supports Remote Work and how they would revolutionize the way companies view their business phone systems.
1. VoIP phone systems are scalable and fast
VoIP phone systems are ‘Software as a service’. No visits to the phone store, or waiting for deliveries of physical handsets, for employees to cart around and set up in their home offices. The entire system operates digitally, as either an app on a mobile device or within the browser. No engineer is needed to install new physical lines, and no IT department has to provision and allocate the numbers.
This means that administrators can deploy the network extremely rapidly and responsively, via a user-friendly dashboard. Need to close a branch and send everyone home overnight? It’s easy to set everyone up with new numbers and extensions at the touch of a button, or for them to take their existing connectivity home with them.
It’s easy to set up your VoIP system in record time, with the help of RingOver’s intuitive tools, for configuring everything from your multilingual custom greeting to completely flexible call routing path. And if you’re completely new to VoIP, our expert consultants will walk you through the fastest route to getting started with ease.
2. Bring your own device — but not your data or personal number
Employees used to an on-prem PBX might be able to get their work number diverted to their own mobile in an emergency, but this is far from an ideal solution.
Business continuity and resilience depends on a professional appearance being maintained at all times, and keeping business and personal calls separate is an important part of this. While RingOver’s end users enjoy the flexibility of being able to install the phone app on their own mobile, tablet or laptop (or all three), it functions entirely separately from their own mobile number and personal messaging apps, and interoperates with the business network of virtual lines and extensions and messages when calls cannot be attended directly.
It’s separate from employees calling plans too, so that they can make and receive calls over their unmetered internet plans, rather than relying on retroactively expensing calls made on their personal phones.
This relieves stress for all parties, including the administrator who needs centralised control of costs and resource planning.
And there’s no stress for your information security team either, worrying about data leaks and breaches when employees are left to muddle through their own shadow IT solutions and apps or use their own phones to get their calls made and keep up with their work. Providing a centralised system is a crucial part of your risk management strategy, especially if your suddenly-remote team is working with personally identifiable information (like your CRM).
3. Independent of location: Your team and your phone numbers
A legacy of the 20th Century landline system, a phone number still implies quite a bit about the physical location of its user. Back in the days when London was initially divided from 01 codes into central 071 and outer 081 businesses fought to be allocated the central code, which was considered more prestigious aligned with the capital.
Nowadays you can buy a VoIP number for anywhere in the world, and unlike the copper wires which carried those 01-for-London calls back in the day those numbers can be used from anywhere — including on the move.
It still matters though when people receive an inbound call from an unfamiliar number. A local number has a far greater chance of being answered, and it conveys reassurance and a degree of closeness. (It’s also by far the most cost-effective way to make calls to mobile numbers, with any of RingOver’s calling plans). A local phone presence wherever you do business is easy to establish.
Your business phone book
This concept of ‘virtual distance’ — the way people are more inclined to welcome an unknown caller in their area — also reflects in the way organisations use banks of adjacent numbers for their colleagues, which perform as virtual extensions within a network. For an inbound caller, they can see a directory which suggests people are in the same space physically, even if they’re not — right now, or ever.
RingOver enables you to provision consecutive numbers for all of your local landlines, in over 65 countries, and plan for future growth by reserving additional batches in the sequence ahead of need. There is no longer any need for a remote-first organisation to appear any less ‘real’ than one based all together in one building.
And of course by providing an inbound number for your customers which is ‘in’ their local area, you save them costs as well — a local call for them is probably bundled in their plan, or costs no more than a few cents. If they’re comparing organisations to do business with in a competitive marketplace, the one which has been considerate enough to provide a local or toll-free contact number has a built-in advantage.
4. Continuity of communication — with minimised stress for all
Communication is the lifeblood of business, and keeping it flowing at all times is essential — never more so than at times of heightened anxiety and reduced confidence worldwide.
If someone contacts your business and the call goes unattended, it’s easier than ever for them to jump to negative conclusions these days, when businesses of every size are facing unprecedented levels of threat. Perhaps they’ll erroneously conclude you’re a victim of circumstances, or temporarily closed down. And if they need to get hold of a product or service you provide, then chances are they won’t leave a message, they’ll just call your competitors instead.
But if your organisation is using a VoIP phone system from RingOver, they not only have a greater chance of reaching the right remote-working team member directly, that’s not their only option. Rather than having to cast a voicemail message into the abyss and wonder if anyone will return it, they can be rapidly and reassuringly re-routed to a colleague — who might be in another town or even country, but can pick up that call in seconds. Group routing, involving cascading or round-robin calling, are part of your user-configurable application. So you can make sure that every call gets answered in a timely and appropriate way.
This means your newly home-working team can relax and deal with life and work challenges flexibly, if they are also attending to needs of family or other caring commitments, while striving to continue business as usual.
By providing them with a VoIP phone system designed for remote working, you can reduce their anxiety and friction, if they have to work from different parts of their home throughout the day, or deal with health challenges within their home. If they need to flip their call from their laptop to their mobile device, that’s no problem either, with frictionless transfers at the touch of a button, without the other party noticing a thing. And they won’t miss anything, with alerts on desktop and mobile devices, of exactly who is trying to reach them and when.
Supporting your team
As millions of people struggle with working from home for the first time ever, it’s important to respect that many homes are physically ill-suited to one or more people suddenly needing to set up an office within it. Cumbersome equipment is the last thing anyone needs, and being able to keep business calls going on their own phone or computer creates liberation and flexibility.
Let’s not forget the feelings of connection which voice calls create, at any time — but especially when people feel more anxious and isolated than usual.
Internal calls within the RingOver VoIP system are free of cost, so colleagues who would normally hear each other’s voices and enjoy a chat in the colocated office can guiltlessly hop on a quick and reassuring chat with their friends from the office — share local news, their mood, their coping strategies, and anything else the watercooler would usually overhear.
These little points of spontaneous human interaction make all the difference, for both everyday remote working, and also at times of heightened strangeness and uncertainty.
5. Business intelligence supports managers
Even in 2020, there are great many senior business leaders who have zero experience of managing remote teams, and leading at a distance. It’s a skill set which might never have been addressed when they were in business school decades ago, and until very recently was still from the norm for the majority of the world.
It’s easy in such circumstances for managers to project their own anxieties onto their team, about whether the work is getting done. When they can no longer physically see people doing their regular business activities — whether that means pounding on a keyboard, talking animatedly on the phone, or simply being present in the office at an expected time — many will start to worry about productivity and efficiency, at a time when businesses themselves are fighting for survival.
If employees were using their own phones and plans to maintain business continuity, then the organisation would have zero visibility into this. However a cloud-based VoIP system from RingOver helps you to keep a beady eye on your team’s activity and calls.
Discover the 5 essential tools for supervising your team calls
Powerful data visualisation in your RingOver dashboard
Fully integrated with your CRM, detailed data analytics in the form of call logs, complete client records, and real-time statistics will support your operations management, whether you’re a small team or a huge virtual contact centre. RingOver’s dashboard summarizes essential metrics, including service level, number of calls in progress and in queue, agents available and on snooze, calls on hold etc.
There are a great many stereotypes about working from home being put to the test right now, and the reality is that most people are diligent, responsible, professional, and motivated -regardless of whether anyone is watching them do their work. But if you’re worried about anyone slacking off with daytime TV, or simply getting too distracted by rolling news or childcare responsibilities, you’ll have the numbers to see what’s really going on.
Training and development at distance
You’ll have full supervision capabilities too, enabling you to intervene discreetly if the system alerts you using a user-configured red flag at any time, or assist on a live call. “Call-whisper mode” enables real-time guidance and coaching, as well as the power to intervene, if an inexperienced team member gets flustered or confused during a challenging call — because at times of heightened stress, your customers too may not be communicating with their greatest patience and clarity.
This combination of voice + data is a game changer for all aspects of remote team management, facilitating every aspect of the work from onboarding to performance review, and means that even those unfamiliar with the unique challenges of managing distributed teams can rapidly upskill and embrace the new situation, with minimal disruption and stress.
Moreover, the real power of remote working is enabling you to be everywhere at once — supervising and supporting exactly when and where it is most urgently needed. This is far more powerful than ‘management by walking around’ in a traditional colocated call centre.
6. Keeping the world working
Above all, a VoIP business phone system provides what every business needs most in the world right now — resilience and continuity.
We may be dealing with unprecedented economic circumstances, but at these times human values and innate qualities come to the fore: Transparency, connection, reliability, and integrity, combined with information and data.
Effective communication is absolutely vital in underpinning all of these, as you seek to reassure your colleagues and customers that it’s ‘business as usual’ in YOUR organisation, whatever is going on in the world outside.
And once you have a robust communications solution deployed to support your remote working, you’ll have choices in the future too, when ‘normality’ returns to the world. Some of your team will probably love remote working, others will struggle for practical or personal reasons, still more may thrive on a flexible approach and the ability to mix things up — enjoying deep work sessions uninterrupted at home, combined with face-to-face meetings and activity-driven collaboration.
Whatever the future looks like, your VoIP-empowered organisation will have the greatest range of options available for how to work together in the post-crisis world.