Last updated on June 25th, 2016 at 10:35 am
According to the US Department of Labor, there are more than seven million businesses nationwide that employ approximately 135 million part-time and seasonal workers. Communications with customers in any business is critically important, especially during summer, when for many businesses interaction with customers is at all time high. Training can be a challenge at peak season, especially with a large influx of new employees. Therefore, having a communications solution that is cost effective and easy-to-use and manage is a top priority. Fortunately, cloud-based unified communications (UC) systems fit the bill and offer many benefits to businesses that employ seasonal and part-time workers.
Here are just four benefits a UC solution offersto improve staff management and connectivity for seasonal businesses.
Scalability to easily ramp up for the season
When employee needs fluctuate so drastically throughout the year, flexibility for these businesses is essential. As new employees come on board to help with the busy season, they will need to get new users set up on the system as quickly as possible. Cloud UC systems provide businesses with greater control and flexibility than traditional, hard-wired systems can, offering a completely scalable technology solution. Traditional systems require the purchase of equipment, time and the help of expensive IT consultants to install new lines and move and install new phones. However, with most cloud-based UC solutions, businesses can instantly add or remove individual users, features and services without costly set up charges or purchasing new equipment, with just a few clicks from an online portal. For many businesses, selecting a UC system that provides mobile and desktop softphones may be the best choice to accelerate scalability. Softphones turn any device into the employee’s office phone and allows them to make and receive calls from their business phone number or extension, while enjoying the full functionality of a desk phone.
Hot desking to promote greater efficiency
With the best UC solutions, everything is stored in the cloud. This means that individual user profiles are not attached to a device itself, allowing phones and workspaces to be shared interchangeably. With cloud-based systems, the employees designated phone number, extension, contacts, voicemail and speed dials follows them with any device they log into. This is a huge advantage for business settings where employees share phones and offers the ability to save on equipment costs, while keeping productivity high. Some useful features businesses should look for in UC systems that are ideal for common seasonal businesses work environments are extension-to-extension dialing, personalized voicemail accessible from anywhere and hot desking. Hot desking is an advanced feature that gives employees the ability to log into any company phone that is tied to the system and make it theirs in a matter of seconds. By typing in their extension and password, the phone instantly shows their speed dial buttons and settings, and even gives access to their voicemail. No more having to move phones around for temporary or permanent employees. This is especially helpful for multiple locations, employees who share workspaces and those who are required to work from different areas within a given site.
User profiles customized for the best capabilities
The most advanced online portals provide administrators with the ability to create unlimited user profiles for their employees and departments through a secure customer portal. Seasonal businesses faced with many new employees coming on at one time, all with different roles, may not want employees to have access to certain features or capabilities. Therefore, creating custom profiles based upon individual user personas and needs is incredibly helpful. Restricted access helps to keep things secure, but also provides the right amount of access so employees can work independently and use the features that are applicable to their role. Avoid the commonly reported concern of racking up costly international calls on the company’s bill by restricting outgoing calls or define closed or after hours by employee or group regardless of how many different shifts you have through advanced functions. Not to mention, at the end of the season, these profiles can be saved for future use or deleted in just seconds.
Programmable buttons and intercom for practical communications
With seasonal workers, there is little time for on-boarding. New employees need to be able to use the system quickly and efficiently. Having a phone system with several programmable buttons, versus menu trees to access common features is tremendously important. Some phone systems will enable employees to customize programmable buttons as frequently-dialed numbers, other employee’s extensions, the help desk and other frequently called numbers. This functionality proves to be critical when crowds start forming and there’s a long line of customers out the door. More advanced systems include a feature that allows administrators to build a template of pre-programmed buttons that employees can use from day one to immediately call those they need to without taking time to look up extensions and phone numbers and take advantage of intercom. An incredibly useful programmable button, intercom, allows employees to hit one button to speak hands-free directly to the rest of the organization, a department or specific employees. Time-saving capabilities like these go a long way in the delivering productivity and good customer service.
When it comes to seasonal workers, the most important aspects are cost-savings, efficiency and flexibility. Cloud-based UC solutions provide this along with advanced communication features that work across all sites, unifying organizations that have multiple locations or remote employees. This model of paying only for what you need, when you need it, makes ramping up and winding down each season both easy and affordable for businesses with peak seasons.