Delivering a Resilient Workflow to Offsite Employees with Unified Communications
We’re entering the dawn of a new age of telework. What was once a choice has now become a necessity for many employees, and an unexpected challenge for many employers.
If all or most of your workers have suddenly started working from home, how do you adapt your existing communications infrastructure to help keep them connected, efficient, and effective?
Keep in Touch with Unified Messaging
Unified Messaging is a Unified Communications function that delivers voicemails to the same inboxes your employees are used to reading their emails from. This frees them from having to check messages in two places, helping them maintain focus (and notice when new messages come in more quickly).
This isn’t the right choice for every organization, however. Those with regulatory compliance concerns about putting voicemails in email have another option. Some solutions offer alternate UM setups to deliver text or email notifications of a new voicemail, while keeping the sound file itself behind a secure web portal.
The more mobile and/or distributed your employees are, the more powerful of an addition Unified Messaging can be (though it’ll continue to pay serious dividends when folks are back in the office too).
Take It Further with Transcription
As convenient as giving staff members access to voicemails in their email inbox is, there’s a way to take things even further: automated voicemail transcription. We read much faster than we listen, and we skim even faster than we read. Transcriptions allow you to tell at a glance whether a message is important, and then discern its full meaning in just seconds. Added up across days and weeks, those time savings can be significant.
Additionally, written transcriptions become searchable in inboxes where voice recordings are not, making it possible for email solutions to deliver even more efficiency for staff.
There are several major purveyors of cloud-based transcription services on the market with different pricing models and areas of expertise. Ideally the UC solution you use should allow you to pick from multiple options to find the one that suits your organization’s needs.
Mobility Functions to Deliver the Office Anywhere
Whether staying at home or on the road, staff have never been more independent from physical office space. With new surroundings come new challenges to efficiency and new opportunities. Here’s how UC can help.
Intelligent Call Routing
When our day to day life is heavily disrupted, it makes it easier to break bad habits, but also good ones. Employees may forget to call in to the central system to adjust their presence, leading to misdirected (and missed) calls.
If your UC system can support Intelligent Call Routing, now’s a good time to make use of it. Training your end users in the basics of building a profile that tells the system how to direct calls, when will provide a “set it and forget it” solution to their shifting movements outside of the office. Advanced solutions can include geofencing and wi-fi tracking to automatically shift forwarding base on presence.
Read & Write Without Your Eyes or Hands – Personal Assistant
While many remote employees will spend their time at home behind a desk or the kitchen table, there are still going to be times when they need to access key communications on the run. A speech-enabled Personal Assistant can make this a great deal more efficient while respecting laws about hands-free, eyes-free driving.
Imagine a personal assistant like the one included on many smart phones, but designed from the ground up for business use – such products can read emails via text-to-speech, play voicemails and forward calls via voice commands, etc. Staff can save time by keeping up to date on messages while they move through the field.
Bring Your Work with You, But Keep It Separate at the Same Time
While the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is not a new movement in the office, the current situation is driving bigger shifts to it than ever before. People are being asked to work with what they have, even if that isn’t a company-provided device.
When what they have is a personal cell phone, several issues emerge:
Employees are frequently leery of using personal phones to make business calls because it exposes their private number on caller ID. They don’t like the idea of suppliers, customers, even coworkers being able to invade their private life at a later date. On the other hand, people have learned to associate unlisted numbers with scams and telemarketers.
Losing Critical Calls and Contacts in the Noise
Is that the number for Cindy from Accounting, or Cindy your cousin’s wife? Where did that voicemail go? These are the sorts of issues that come up when you’ve got both business and personal communications coming into the same device.
Attaining Work-Life Balance within the Same Smart Phone
Unified Communications solutions with mobile UC applications can solve these issues for your staff. They’ll be able to use one device, but separate phone books, mailboxes, and phone numbers.
Bring the Support Team Together with an Informal Call Center
Having so many employees working from home can present unique challenges from small support teams. Folks used to glancing at others’ desks to see if they’re on lunch or already on a call no longer have that option. While presence solutions like Skype, Teams, etc. can help, they can leave you wishing you had more visibility…especially if you’re also limping along with a Hunt Group.
There’s a new class of product on the market, the “informal call center” solution that bridges the gap between simple Hunt Groups and expensive full Call Centers. You can use it to improve connectivity, collaboration, and visibility within knowledge worker teams distributed remotely. It’ll also continue to be useful when they come back to the office.
More Than Voicemail – Add or Expand XM Connect to Keep Business Working
Bringing the office to your staff, on terms that suit their communications needs, can have tremendous efficiency benefits.
None of us expected things to evolve exactly the way they have, nor can we predict exactly how they will continue to shift. Unified Communications, through facilitating telework anywhere at any time, can significantly improve your organization’s ability to adapt to events as they unfold.
XM Connect is an independent UC solution offering industry-leading interoperability with a huge range of email, PBX, and other solutions. This means that it’s not only able to work with infrastructure you have now, but solutions you purchase in future.
A modular product, XM Connect can deliver Unified Messaging, a Speech-Enabled Personal Assistant, advanced Mobility functions, and a remote Informal Call Center solution for small teams.
If you would like to expand your existing XM Connect system or investigate bringing a new system into your organization, reach out to us (or your authorized reseller) for more information.