Five ways to improve reachability in your organisation
How to use mobility solutions to enhance productivity, save money and provide better customer service—from anywhere
You’d think that in this day and age in which everyone is so connected it would be easier to get work done. You’re working more than ever—from home, when travelling, even from your car—and yet you never seem to get through your to-do list at the end of the day. The truth is that being mobile doesn’t equate to being productive. Being reachable does.
Of course, being reachable depends on an effective mobile communications solution. In some cases, that may be as simple as using a feature called ‘twinning’ that enables your chosen devices (for example, a deskphone and mobile phone) to ring simultaneously, or as sophisticated as a unified solution where communication can be driven by connectivity, location or calendar entry. In either case, organisations can benefit from better customer service, improved productivity and cost savings as a direct result from enhanced reachability. Here are five ways to improve reachability within your organisation.
1. Understand your users’ communication needs
Not every user in your company has the same communications and mobility needs. By understanding how people go about their working days and grouping similar individuals, organisations can make sense of user needs and rationalise technology requirements.
For some workers, ‘reachability’ can be achieved through the provision of a simple cordless handset or headset
on their desk phone. For example, a busy front desk receptionist may need to meet and greet visitors and show them around or step into a back office to resolve enquiries.
Most knowledge workers consider their desktop phone to be their primary device, but also need to be in contact when visiting partners or working at home. Conversely, a mobile worker is more likely to view their smartphone as a primary device, but may prefer to use a desk phone at home or when working in the corporate office.
The good news is that with the right solution, these workers can have access to the same features they would if they were in the office at a desk, which means finding each other faster and being able to exchange ideas more quickly.
2. Encourage user choice of technology
Increasingly, individuals are demanding to use their own devices in the workplace to leverage multimedia capabilities. On the one hand, this can increase productivity as employees are using devices they are comfortable and familiar with. But as a result, many organisations are suffering communication chaos. Worse still, if your employees are calling customers from their personal devices or using public instant messaging they may take your business with them when leaving to join a competitor.
By providing a single enterprise identity, organisations can retain control through a single directory number and voice mailbox for calls and a single secure instant messaging environment.
Other benefits include:
- Productivity improvements through increased availability, faster decision-making and better teamwork.
- Individuals can manage their preferred devices based on activity or location.
- When an employee leaves the business, customer or supplier interaction can be redirected to an alternative employee.
- Organisations can manage compliance and communication cost more effectively.
3. Enable staff to make better communication decisions
Thirty-nine per cent of workers reporti that members of their primary team do not work in the same building as them, and 12 per cent report that their team members work in a different time zoneii, according to Forrester Forrsights survey data. As organisations become more distributed, individuals may find it increasingly difficult to track down and work closely with colleagues. In fact, 51 per cent of workers say they think that having team members work from home would make communicating with them harder. But it doesn’t have to be so.
Corporate directory with presence information allows individuals to see exactly who is available, enabling them to make better communication decisions and assisting distributed teams to work together more effectively. Rather than leaving a message and waiting for a call back or dialling extension after extension to get a live person, an employee can simply check the colleague’s presence status and call or instant message in real time when available.
Similarly, a five-minute desktop or video collaboration session may enable an in-the-moment decision that would otherwise wait for the next face to face meeting or require an endless string of emails to be passed back and forth.
4. Automate availability statuses for mobile workers
Presence tools are only effective when people use them. But it’s easy to forget to change your status before walking away from your desk for a meeting. And busy mobile workers often forget to change their presence status as they move among a home office, customer meetings and corporate offices. Fortunately, the latest communications solutions automate status changes to ensure employee location and availability information is always correct and individuals can always be reached.
A few examples of how that would work in action:
- Integrated with the employee’s calendar, his or her presence status is automatically set to “in a meeting” for scheduled meetings, in which case calls are directed to an alternate answer point, for example, their voicemail.
- When an individual’s smartphone GPS recognises the employee has arrived at home, the system changes their status to “working at home” and directs calls to their teleworker phone at home.
- Bluetooth connectivity in the car becomes the stimulus to change an individual’s presence to “mobile” and direct calls to a smartphone.
5. Federate contract staff and partners
In today’s still-trepidatious economy, more and more businesses are relying on freelance and contract workers to access key skills without employing them on staff full-time. To be effective and productive, you want these workers, who may very well be just as integral to your processes as on-staff employees, to have access to your unified communications tools to work efficiently. But issuing them their own equipment is out of the question.
Temporary employees can be securely federated to an organisation using a single enterprise number to contact them on their own devices. Contractors are free to manage their availability and when in the office, can easily log in to any ‘hot desk’ phone and access their personal phone settings, speed dials and messages.
The enterprise personal ring group facilitates extension-to-extension dialling and mid-call features, such as transfer and conferencing, from any device including a mobile phone. Similarly, when all devices are set to absent, calls can be directed to an enterprise voicemail box. For instance, at the end of the contracted period, an individual’s devices are simply removed from the ring group and any incoming calls are directed to another location.