Home and hybrid working challenges – Is Hosted Voice the answer?

Easy access and instant management are key considerations in a remote working environment, says Adrian Robinson, plan.com’s Head of New Product Development.

2020 was the year when working from home (WFH) went from a nice-to-have to a necessity for many organisations. In 2021, that trend looks set to stay for businesses who have experienced its benefits or chosen to reduce their office space in order to save costs. There’s also the potential for hybrid working, where WFH is combined with a few days on site. Thankfully, this shift has coincided with the emergence into the mainstream of cloud based, hosted voice (or VoIP) phone solutions, which are increasingly replacing traditional analogue systems, making it easier for workers to work remotely some or all the time, with minimal disruption to the business, while staying fully connected.

With Hosted Voice you no longer need to be at your desk in your office to receive or make phone calls to and from your office number – once known as your ‘landline’. Organisations can get rid of their old Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems, which direct calls from the public phone network through to the correct extension. Now, connectivity can be handled in a virtual environment, and all workers need is a “soft phone” (an app on their mobile or laptop) or a compatible desk phone-style device. Problem solved.

Remote management matters

However, this is more than simply a hardware issue. Businesses want assurance that the functionality provided by traditional phone systems still works in Hosted Voice systems, such as managing call flows and routing calls to a dispersed workforce. For instance, ensuring that once callers have selected the sales team option (say) from a pre-recorded menu, calls are cascaded through to members of that team in a sensible order, so they can be responded to quickly by the correct person/people, wherever they are.

However, it’s not enough that an IVR or Ring Group can be set up via an online portal by someone who is technical. Agility is key. Relying on third-party support can be a frustrating barrier. Issues arise quickly and need to be solved at the push of a button.

Customers now need immediate access and full control over every aspect of their business. This is even more important when staff are scattered across lots of different locations, especially when those locations could change from day to day. It’s not enough to have good people managers in place – managers now need to have access to online tools that they can easily understand and use in order to effectively do their job.

Visibility is vital

This is where the my.plan portal comes into its own, in a number of ways. For one thing, it makes it easy for organisations to configure call routing using “visual call flows” that are clearly mapped out and provide “drag and drop” functionality. You don’t need to be a nerd to understand or use it. This means you can assign call recipients and set parameters around how and when calls should be answered (such as what happens if a call is not picked up within a certain timeframe) with few clicks of a button.

Importantly too, the platform also delivers live insight around how calls are being handled, so that you can see who is answering (and who isn’t) and how quickly. Armed with that information, you can take appropriate action – whether that’s addressing a technical issue, speaking to those concerned or adjusting the call flow to make it fairer across a team.

What’s more, it gives you visibility and control over costs by, for example, showing the usage and charges associated with any chargeable premium rate or international numbers, and enabling you to restrict certain types of calls or setting spending limits. This is critical for all businesses since, as we pointed out in a recent blog, there’s no such thing as a truly unlimited bundle.

When it comes to coping with the challenges of maintaining enterprise-grade phone connectivity while staff are working from home, it all comes down to easy access and management. Hosted Voice solutions deliver both, ensuring that staff are contactable in the same ways as before, while those tasked with managing the company’s people and connectivity have the control and oversight they need to keep their business connected, productive and cost-efficient. Customers, contacts, and colleagues should notice no difference – but behind the scenes, this is a major evolutionary step in how organisations stay connected and in control.

2020 was the year when working from home (WFH) went from a nice-to-have to a necessity for many organisations. In 2021, that trend looks set to stay for businesses who have experienced its benefits or chosen to reduce their office space in order to save costs. There’s also the potential for hybrid working, where WFH is combined with a few days on site. Thankfully, this shift has coincided with the emergence into the mainstream of cloud based, hosted voice (or VoIP) phone solutions, which are increasingly replacing traditional analogue systems, making it easier for workers to work remotely some or all the time, with minimal disruption to the business, while staying fully connected.

With Hosted Voice you no longer need to be at your desk in your office to receive or make phone calls to and from your office number – once known as your ‘landline’. Organisations can get rid of their old Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems, which direct calls from the public phone network through to the correct extension. Now, connectivity can be handled in a virtual environment, and all workers need is a “soft phone” (an app on their mobile or laptop) or a compatible desk phone-style device. Problem solved.

Remote management matters

However, this is more than simply a hardware issue. Businesses want assurance that the functionality provided by traditional phone systems still works in Hosted Voice systems, such as managing call flows and routing calls to a dispersed workforce. For instance, ensuring that once callers have selected the sales team option (say) from a pre-recorded menu, calls are cascaded through to members of that team in a sensible order, so they can be responded to quickly by the correct person/people, wherever they are.

However, it’s not enough that an IVR or Ring Group can be set up via an online portal by someone who is technical. Agility is key. Relying on third-party support can be a frustrating barrier. Issues arise quickly and need to be solved at the push of a button.

Customers now need immediate access and full control over every aspect of their business. This is even more important when staff are scattered across lots of different locations, especially when those locations could change from day to day. It’s not enough to have good people managers in place – managers now need to have access to online tools that they can easily understand and use in order to effectively do their job.

Visibility is vital

This is where the my.plan portal comes into its own, in a number of ways. For one thing, it makes it easy for organisations to configure call routing using “visual call flows” that are clearly mapped out and provide “drag and drop” functionality. You don’t need to be a nerd to understand or use it. This means you can assign call recipients and set parameters around how and when calls should be answered (such as what happens if a call is not picked up within a certain timeframe) with few clicks of a button.

Importantly too, the platform also delivers live insight around how calls are being handled, so that you can see who is answering (and who isn’t) and how quickly. Armed with that information, you can take appropriate action – whether that’s addressing a technical issue, speaking to those concerned or adjusting the call flow to make it fairer across a team.

What’s more, it gives you visibility and control over costs by, for example, showing the usage and charges associated with any chargeable premium rate or international numbers, and enabling you to restrict certain types of calls or setting spending limits. This is critical for all businesses since, as we pointed out in a recent blog, there’s no such thing as a truly unlimited bundle.

When it comes to coping with the challenges of maintaining enterprise-grade phone connectivity while staff are working from home, it all comes down to easy access and management. Hosted Voice solutions deliver both, ensuring that staff are contactable in the same ways as before, while those tasked with managing the company’s people and connectivity have the control and oversight they need to keep their business connected, productive and cost-efficient. Customers, contacts, and colleagues should notice no difference – but behind the scenes, this is a major evolutionary step in how organisations stay connected and in control.

2020 was the year when working from home (WFH) went from a nice-to-have to a necessity for many organisations. In 2021, that trend looks set to stay for businesses who have experienced its benefits or chosen to reduce their office space in order to save costs. There’s also the potential for hybrid working, where WFH is combined with a few days on site. Thankfully, this shift has coincided with the emergence into the mainstream of cloud based, hosted voice (or VoIP) phone solutions, which are increasingly replacing traditional analogue systems, making it easier for workers to work remotely some or all the time, with minimal disruption to the business, while staying fully connected.

With Hosted Voice you no longer need to be at your desk in your office to receive or make phone calls to and from your office number – once known as your ‘landline’. Organisations can get rid of their old Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems, which direct calls from the public phone network through to the correct extension. Now, connectivity can be handled in a virtual environment, and all workers need is a “soft phone” (an app on their mobile or laptop) or a compatible desk phone-style device. Problem solved.

Remote management matters

However, this is more than simply a hardware issue. Businesses want assurance that the functionality provided by traditional phone systems still works in Hosted Voice systems, such as managing call flows and routing calls to a dispersed workforce. For instance, ensuring that once callers have selected the sales team option (say) from a pre-recorded menu, calls are cascaded through to members of that team in a sensible order, so they can be responded to quickly by the correct person/people, wherever they are.

However, it’s not enough that an IVR or Ring Group can be set up via an online portal by someone who is technical. Agility is key. Relying on third-party support can be a frustrating barrier. Issues arise quickly and need to be solved at the push of a button.

Customers now need immediate access and full control over every aspect of their business. This is even more important when staff are scattered across lots of different locations, especially when those locations could change from day to day. It’s not enough to have good people managers in place – managers now need to have access to online tools that they can easily understand and use in order to effectively do their job.

Visibility is vital

This is where the my.plan portal comes into its own, in a number of ways. For one thing, it makes it easy for organisations to configure call routing using “visual call flows” that are clearly mapped out and provide “drag and drop” functionality. You don’t need to be a nerd to understand or use it. This means you can assign call recipients and set parameters around how and when calls should be answered (such as what happens if a call is not picked up within a certain timeframe) with few clicks of a button.

Importantly too, the platform also delivers live insight around how calls are being handled, so that you can see who is answering (and who isn’t) and how quickly. Armed with that information, you can take appropriate action – whether that’s addressing a technical issue, speaking to those concerned or adjusting the call flow to make it fairer across a team.

What’s more, it gives you visibility and control over costs by, for example, showing the usage and charges associated with any chargeable premium rate or international numbers, and enabling you to restrict certain types of calls or setting spending limits. This is critical for all businesses since, as we pointed out in a recent blog, there’s no such thing as a truly unlimited bundle.

When it comes to coping with the challenges of maintaining enterprise-grade phone connectivity while staff are working from home, it all comes down to easy access and management. Hosted Voice solutions deliver both, ensuring that staff are contactable in the same ways as before, while those tasked with managing the company’s people and connectivity have the control and oversight they need to keep their business connected, productive and cost-efficient. Customers, contacts, and colleagues should notice no difference – but behind the scenes, this is a major evolutionary step in how organisations stay connected and in control.

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