A confluence of technological innovations has transformed the workplace and the way we connect with customers and co-workers.
Thanks to the benefits of a cloud phone system and the mobile access it provides, 'the office' is now wherever employees are located — at home, at a customer's business site, in the car, or at the local coffee shop.
Small and medium-sized businesses that leverage communications and collaboration technology can find themselves successfully competing with companies many times their size thanks to a VoIP phone service.
Leveling the Playing Field
Consider the case of Consuela Shorter, a learning systems consultant who opened Blue Skies Performance Solutions in downtown Kansas City in 2013. She helps employers of all sizes nationwide to select and implement learning management systems that provide their employees with training ranging from industry-specific skills to management and compliance topics.
Shorter is one of those tech-savvy businesspeople who have harnessed technology in a way that enables her small company to compete with major players in her industry.
"Although our headquarters is in Kansas City, I can virtually attend a meeting in Nashville or Chicago or Orange County as if I am right there in the boardroom with my client," says Shorter. "The technology I use in my small business is no different than that used in much larger or global companies."
"The way we connect depends on the need," she continues. "If it's a conversation, we'll have a conference call. If we need to share a PowerPoint, we'll use a webinar. If the issue is related to administrator navigation or use of a functionality or feature and I need to see things from the user point of view we'll use screen sharing. If there's a reason for us to come together in the office, then we'll meet."
Shorter's use of communications technologies in her small business helps her level the playing field with larger companies, optimizing her connection with employees and clients along the way.
Head in the Cloud
As you might imagine, when Shorter went shopping for a business phone system there was no question in her mind that she wanted a VoIP phone service. Ever been in Kansas City in the winter?
'With old-school phones, if a storm comes, you could be wiped out for days. With internet phones you're backed up,' Shorter says, referring to the data centers with redundant power that cloud-hosted phone systems operate. These phone systems can remain in operation even when the customer's location is out of commission. This way, Shorter and her colleagues have a reliable solution for staying connected, regardless of the weather conditions.
What sealed the deal, however, was a host of powerful virtual office features that work particularly well because Shorter and her employees rarely work from the office. Mobile phones are their key method of connecting with each other and with clients.
Today's business professionals are working more productively than ever before — at the office and on the go — thanks to the powerful flexibility and innovative features that a VoIP phone service provides.
Mobile Productivity Anytime, Anywhere
In the business VoIP environment, employees can access their company's phone system on their mobile devices while on the go. They can keep their business and personal accounts separate on the same device, boosting their productivity while reducing costs for the company. Any calls they make using the free mobile app appear as calls from their office extension, presenting a professional business presence from anywhere they happen to be working.
The same goes for SMS now, too, which means today's businesspeople don't have to use their personal phone number to stay connected. Business leaders like Shorter can now send texts to clients and colleagues from their office extension, whether they're using a mobile device or sitting at the computer, so they can avoid using their personal number to keep in touch throughout the day.
Many professionals worry that an important call could be dropped if they try to transfer it from one device to another. But they can rest assured that they won't lose that critical connection with a valued client thanks to features that allow the seamless transfer of calls taken on a mobile phone to a desk phone, or vice versa, without the client ever knowing.
A Sampling of Favorite Cloud Phone System Features
When asked what her favorite phone service features were, Shorter had a hard time paring down her list to a few favorites. Here are three that made the cut:
- Call Continuity: Blue Skies selects backup numbers for automatic call rerouting in the event it loses power or internet at the business.
- Virtual Receptionist: This customizable feature allows the company to create call pathways and even set specific routing for holidays, lunchtime, and after-hour calls.
- Visual Voicemail: This feature helps employees stay in touch with incoming calls, even if they're in meetings or away from the office. Visual voicemail transcribes the voicemail and delivers the text, as well as an audio file, to the employee's email inbox.
The greatest business benefit of all, in Shorter's view, is the ability to add innovative new features as her business expands. As she says, 'Best of all, it's scalable so that as my company grows the technology will grow with me.'
Enabling Future Success
As companies like Shorter's grow, they can take advantage of the latest innovations that power greater business success, maximizing the value of their VoIP service without incurring any unexpected fees.
Seamless cloud integration with popular office applications like G Suite, Office 365, and Salesforce allow busy professionals to seamlessly keep contacts up to date, efficiently schedule meetings and streamline their workflows for maximum productivity, both in the office and on the go, using mobile devices. This allows them to deliver an even higher standard of customer service and gain an edge in today's competitive business environment.
Today's business professionals are working more productively than ever before — at the office and on the go — thanks to the powerful flexibility and innovative features that a cloud phone system provides. And as they grow their companies, they can be confident that their cloud phone system will enable future business success.