Let’s face it – disasters happen. And when disasters happen, businesses can suffer financial loss so significant that some never reopen. The average business loses an astonishing $5,000 per hour when they are down! According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an estimated 25 percent of businesses never reopen following a major disaster.
While the big storms, freak fires and flooding events are top concerns for most, business leaders know that, in reality, smaller “disasters” have a greater chance of impacting our daily lives and operations. Small, man-made disasters like spilled coffee and stolen phones are the types we all need to prepare for as they are almost certain to occur. Cloud-based phone systems minimize the impact a disaster has on an organization the same way remote data backup does. With most cloud-based phone systems, the phones are in your office, but the intelligence of the service is secure in the cloud, so no matter where employees are, they can use the system.
When selecting a cloud-based phone system, consider these three must-have communication features and how they can help keep client service strong during man-made or natural disasters and disruptions:
To be able to always meet the needs of clients, it’s important to seek out the tools and technology that will improve how they are served, even during a disaster. Cloud-based phone systems that offer auto attendants provide complete control over how client calls are handled, no matter the circumstances. Auto attendants serve as virtual receptionists and ensure every call is answered and directed to the appropriate employee. Employees have the ability to pre-record a customized greeting, upload a new greeting on the fly from anywhere to guarantee that a professional image is projected with every single call or a company-wide greeting can be recorded by an administrator to make sure that clients are aware of systems down or offices closed as they happen. Some systems even offer a speech to text function to “re-record” on the fly. By correctly directing calls and offering the flexibility to customize greetings and menu options on the fly, keeping callers up to date is easy.
Most providers have basic features like hold and transfer, but other providers have unique applications and features like softphones, which allow employees to make and receive calls from a PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet connected to the internet that can make a business available during any disaster. Deploying softphones is a cost-effective way to enable mobility and disaster avoidance across the business. Look for softphones that are stand-alone applications that offer employees mobile access to clients with full office phone functionality through any PC, anywhere they travel. Therefore, employees have access to their office phone and can make calls using their business phone number from any location. Softphones function just like a desk phone—using the same extension and accessing the same features, such as call forwarding, extension-to-extension dialing and voicemail. This allows employees to call their clients and each other from anywhere, using company minutes, and the company phone number for their outbound Caller ID, ensuring communications remain professional offsite.
Voicemail transcription is the perfect feature to have in place to pull off “business as usual” from elsewhere when employees don’t have access to the office. It allows for employees to check their office voicemail instantly, without ever touching a phone or stepping foot in the office. When a voicemail is received on an extension, the automated system transcribes the message and sends an email that employees can view on any device where they check emails. The transcribed message appears in the body of the email and includes the caller’s phone number, plus the recorded message. This way, employees won’t miss a beat, can quickly be kept informed and can answer clients in a timely manner.
While these advanced communication features will help to keep client service strong during disasters and disruptions, it is important for businesses to select a cloud-based phone system that houses all of the processing and functions in the cloud, instead of relying on the physical phone. Keeping in mind that many disasters involve downed phone lines or office closings, look for a system that has features and applications securely stored on the cloud. Therefore, no matter what issues affect the business, the system is safe and employees can continue to serve clients as usual from any location, at any time.
Photo credit: Jon Evans
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