With people having been forced to work from home there have been a lot of lessons learned that will help every business become more agile. One of the biggest has been to do with phone systems. Any business that has an on-premise phone system has either been unable to easily transition to working from home or had some difficulties in getting the required changes made. This revolves around being able to or finding someone to make the required changes. With phones being an important lifeblood of a lot of businesses this had made a difficult time even more stressful.
What this has highlighted is that the day of the on-premise phone system is done. If you’re not looking to move to a cloud hosted phone system for your business, you’re tying yourself to a technology that is only holding you back. Especially as these days cloud hosted phone systems can do everything an on-premise phone system can.
The real trick is finding the right one, and with so many options out there how do you choose? They all offer the same things and they’re all a similar price. So, what are some of the things you should be looking for in a phone system:
- Something that doesn’t tie you down to a handset
- Something that’s simple to use and integrates with your other apps
- Something your customers and vendors can easily access
I am already using Teams
If you’re already using Microsoft Teams for collaboration then you’re most of the way there already, and if you’re not you really need to look at it or you’ll fall behind the rest of the business world. In Microsoft Teams you would have already seen the Calls button on the side of Teams. When Teams Phone is implemented it adds a keypad to this area. Teams Phone is then ready to use, no extra software to install, easy.
How do I use it?
Whilst you can use a handset as most people are used to, with Teams Phone why would you? With a headset and your PC or laptop there is no longer a need for it. With a laptop you can even connect the Bluetooth headphones you use with your smart phone, one less thing on your desk. More importantly, it goes where you go!
Can I use my smartphone?
You can also install Teams on your smart phone, be it Apple or Android, and make and receive calls as well. So, no matter where you are calls to your direct line, or even transferred calls can reach you. Making calls through Teams Phone on your mobile also shows your direct line number, or main phone number, so customers and suppliers know the call has come from your business. That way only those who you want to know your mobile number have it.
Does this present any challenges?
One of the toughest parts of any phone system transition is the change management, staff needing to learn new handsets or how to work with a soft phone. The simple keypad and the ability to copy and paste numbers makes Teams Phone very simple to use. Having a simple interface makes it easier for staff to transition across to a new platform.
How is change management affected?
This so greatly reduces the stress of change management and simplifies the implementation of a new phone system. Your staff will have an easy transition, and this makes the adoption of a new technology very quick, everything you want from a move to a new phone system.
Will this sync with my email?
From the get-go it also syncs your contacts in Outlook, so there is no delay in being able to call all your contacts through Teams Phone. There’s no need to import your contacts into another piece of software or connect your phone system to Office 365, as you would with another phone system.
What about my software
It also reduces the amount of software your staff must use, helping simplify their day. When you stop and have a think about how many pieces of software we use in our working day, it starts to add up: ERP systems, CRM systems, document handling systems, collaboration tools. It’s easy to let this blow out by constantly adding to what staff need to use, and while at first it might seem to help, what it leads to is lost productivity and more and more training required not only for current staff, but new staff as well.
In a nutshell
With Teams Phone you are not adding to this growing list of things staff need to use but enhancing something that they are already extensively using. Less tools, less training means more productivity, but more importantly happier staff because you are making their lives easier.
Microsoft Teams is already an amazing collaboration tool with simple and easy to use video and audio conferencing, and file sharing. By adding Teams Phone, you move this capability easily to people outside of your business. As soon as you implement Teams phone you get a phone number and meeting ID that people can use to access your meetings by phone. While Microsoft Teams does allow people outside of your business to join meetings, this way they don’t need to be near a computer or install an app on their phone they don’t want.
What I think
I think the greatest feature of Teams Phone though is how easy it is to add people to a phone call. With a lot of other phone systems, it can be quite complicated, or not very intuitive on how to have a phone conference. This can get frustrating very quickly. Teams Phone allows you to just contact the extra people from the call you’re in, its simple. So, working with people inside and outside of your company quicker, collaboration increases which is only good for your business.
Everyone wants to ...
Simplifying our workdays and making teamwork and collaboration so much easier, it’s a great thing. In a world where technology only seems to isolate us from each other, it’s a breath of fresh air to have a technology that is designed to bring us together.
Want to experience Teams?
Authored by Daniel Kane
Senior Technology Manager at VISITS