We’ve suddenly found ourselves in a world with very different communication needs. Work from home programs used to mean just one or two employees at a time were off-site while it was business as usual back at the office.
Traditional phones were usually good enough when remote workers were the exception. But those systems don’t support business communication when everyone—workers, managers, and customers—are all working from home.
Good communication platforms for this new environment will support both businesses and healthy staff interaction. Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that remote workers were most effective when their businesses kept them in regular contact with managers and coworkers.
We’re all figuring this out together. To find the right solution that you can still deploy quickly requires first understanding what your customer’s challenges are right now.
Find everything you need to keep your customers’ phones ringing with our remote work hub
Understand their communication needs
We believe it’s important not to think of managing remote workers as just a technical problem. It’s an office communication problem that Sherweb Partners can help solve with technology.
Start by understanding what their needs were before going remote. Are they a brick and mortar business that is now trying to maintain normal operations working from home? Or is their business effectively shut down right now, and they’re just looking to keep the lights on with a remote skeleton crew? Or did they already have a mostly remote workforce and now are trying to find ways to work with their own newly remote customers?
Understanding both their old and new needs will help you develop the right solution.
There are also some unexpected new questions you’re going to need to ask. For example, do all their remote workers have internet service right now? For business customers in some rural areas, this is suddenly a significant concern. Also, what are your current capabilities? Will you need any additional remote support services to deploy these telecom solutions?
Can existing phones and telecom resources meet those needs?
It’s not going to be about recreating the exact telecom network and resources that a customer had in their office. It’s about building a new platform that lets remote workers recreate important workflows at home and achieve similar results.
Many customers’ initial reactions have probably been to try doing that by shifting communication to existing available tools, like personal cell phones or email. You may need to help educate them on the drawbacks. Exposing personal cell phone numbers to their clients is often not ideal. Likewise, email is effective for communicating text-heavy informational content one way, but it is a poor substitute for one-on-one and group interactions.
So how are your customers going to reach who they need to, internally and externally? Are they on a cloud-based phone system already so their number or handsets can be provisioned remotely? Or will you need to deploy new platforms to accommodate how they need to work?
Find the right solutions
The communication platform you choose will need to be flexible and quickly deployable. Right now, most business customers won’t be looking for comprehensive services; they just want continuity.
We’ve talked about Teams previously. Microsoft Teams is the collaboration platform built into many editions of Office 365. If your customers are already using O365, then there’s a good chance they already have accounts and are licensed to use Teams.
Teams’ functionality very strongly gears toward collaboration and file sharing. So it’s not going to be the right solution for every business. It is designed to provide interconnected text chat channels, direct messaging, file sharing, and virtual meeting and whiteboard spaces.
Teams can also interface with existing PBX systems with the addition of a Session Border Controller (SBC). If this kind of infrastructure update is doable for your customers right now, then Teams can be a useful replacement for their on-premise voice system. It also makes a good stepping stone to a complete UcaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) solution when one is needed. More on that below.
This is a great solution for customers who need more traditional telephony services deployed fast for remote workers. The private exchange is hosted right in Sherweb’s cloud; no on-premise installation needed. User and handset provisioning is simple and can work over any reliable home internet connection.
You can distribute handsets to remote workers or simply deploy softphones they can use on their laptops. Many remote workers are finding their schedules have become unpredictable as they juggle work, life, and family obligations. This can make daytime availability a challenge. Cloud PBX helps ensure every call gets answered with call forwarding and call rollover features. It also has interactive voice response (IVR) menu systems to help callers get accurately routed.
More traditional users will appreciate that they can get call conferencing and office voicemail through a Cloud PBX handset at home. This can help them maintain familiar practices and sidestep the training burden that comes with deploying a brand new system.
Your customers may be asking for more comprehensive solutions like a full UCaaS suite right now, but make sure they understand the time and resources needed to put a system like that in place properly. Sherweb offers a UCaaS package that combines Microsoft Teams with Cloud PBX, which can be deployed efficiently. Microsoft also offers its own MS Business Voice service as part of Microsoft 365.
Sherweb can help you do a special emergency onboarding if customers really do need a fully-featured UCaaS deployment fast. We can handle number porting and ship phones directly to workers while you’re the face of the operation. We can support you through the whole process of getting your customers online.
Keep everyone connected
Maintaining strong lines of communication is more critical now than ever. Sherweb has a set of powerful voice platforms available for your customers to choose from, all in the cloud for maximum flexibility and ease of deployment.
The right solution for your customers is out there. Contact Sherweb communications specialists today to get them connected and keep the phones ringing.