Business owners and managers are often tasked with increasing the productivity (and thusly the value) of their employees. It’s no mean feat, and certainly requires a lot more than a stern voice telling the team to “work harder”. Lowering capital expenses, operational and maintenance costs can be tricky, especially if you’re still dealing with legacy PBX systems.
Indeed, running and maintaining an in-house PBX telephone system can put huge strains on your IT resources, which, frankly, in this day and age, could and should really be deployed elsewhere in the business.
The problem, of course, comes to the business which doesn’t keep itself up to date with the latest and most efficient technology. Communications is one of the inescapable and fundamental requirements of a modern business. As much as we rely on emails, instant messaging and even social media these days to make contact with colleagues and even clients, voice communications via the telephone is still very much live and kicking, as you will well know if you’re running a business.
Losing Money with Legacy Systems
With legacy systems, functionality will be limited — especially for the SME. For sure, the large enterprise may well be running an old PBX system with all the bells and whistles that modern telephony can provide. But these will be very expensive to implement on such systems, and will almost certainly be out of the price range of the average SME.
However, the smart modern small business will not be restricted by legacy, and instead be looking towards the likes of hosted PBX solutions, which can indeed provide all the impressive, big-business functionality of up to date communications at an affordable price with a scalable model.
The productivity problem with legacy, in-house PBX infrastructure is not a brand new concern. However, there are many businesses out there that have yet to upgrade their systems, and the fact is that they are losing money in productivity every single day. This, of course, is not best business practice, which is why we have put together this blog post, detailing the top three ways that businesses can improve productivity with hosted PBX.
How Productivity Can Be Improved With Hosted PBX
Long gone are the days of landlines — this is the age of the smartphone, and no doubt each and every one of your employees will have one within arm’s reach right this second. Whether you have a BYOD (bring your own device) policy or you issue company phones to employees, their usage will often be paramount to business continuity.
With hosted PBX, employees can have instant, unlimited access to their VoIP calls no matter where they happen to be. In other words, field workers — or any other employees who need to be away from their desks — are able to connect to the office line 24/7. Calls are simply directed to the mobile device in question, meaning that there’s no need for the handing out of personal mobile phone numbers. Productivity is always improved when customers can always reach the right person as and when they’re needed, no matter where they happen to be. Even if the call cannot be taken immediately, the ability to follow-up on enquiries and access office voicemail via personal devices means that all tasks can be handled efficiently and remotely.
2. Disaster Recovery And Business Continuity
Traditional PBX systems do not, generally speaking, have failover capabilities — these are simply too costly and complicated to implement. This means that whenever there is a technological disaster, such as a power outage, for instance, then communications are brought to a screeching halt — and so too is business continuity and productivity.
All of the infrastructure of hosted PBX, on the other hand, resides off-site, meaning that even in the event of a technological disaster in-house, communications can and will resume as normal. This will be as a result of failover capabilities, which mean that even if there is a disaster on the host’s end, then either a manual or automatic switch over to a secondary connection will be activated to ensure that your business communications remain live.
3. Unified Communications
The hosted PBX experience can be further enhanced when users opt into a unified communications (UC) package. Users of UC will have their favored methods of communication. Some will prefer emails, others texts, and still more video calls. The mechanism that unified communication uses, however, means that all communications are streamlined, so if a user’s preferred method of picking up important messages is via voicemail, then they can, irrespective of whether that message was originally typed up and sent as an email.
In addition, the concept of ‘presence’ is at the heart of unified communications. Put simply, presence represents the availability of a person to communicate, and via which medium he or she is at disposal to do so. Rather like the indicators you have on your instant messenger which show whether your contacts are on or offline, available or not, the idea behind presence is that it shows this sort of information on a much more enhanced scale. A user’s availability is not just simply displayed, but also the precise extent of their communication capability (or indeed willingness to communicate). Indicators show whether the user is available for a phone call, a video call, for messaging, instant messaging, text or email — all in one single-serving piece of technology. Indeed, location technology can pinpoint a user as to exactly where they are in the world, so even real-time face-to-face meetings can be organized.
What this means for business productivity is that time is never wasted trying to get hold of a particular colleague, as his/her availability is constantly displayed to all users on the network. And this really comes into its own if Single Number Reach is implemented. With this, all means of contacting a team member are contracted into a single piece of information — usually a phone number. If an employee has an email address, a Skype account, an instant messenger username, a phone and a fax number, there’s essentially five pieces of information which other users have to troll through in order to try and contact the person. But, with with just a single number, employees can receive the communication via whichever means they make themselves available.