There are so many great benefits to switching to hosted Voice over IP (VoIP) if you haven’t already. From easily customized call routing to voicemail-to-email and Find Me Follow Me, the efficiency you gain becomes obvious almost immediately. And the switch is very easy.
Yet there is one benefit that does not stand out but makes things so much easier for any office.
Typically, in a traditional digital phone system with multiple extensions and simple analog lines, the business has very little control over the setup and is required to make a service call anytime one single phone (say, the backup receptionist’s) needs to be moved.
This is incredibly inefficient and annoying since it can be days or even weeks before the technician arrives on-site.
To illustrate the hassle this causes, we’ll continue with the example of the backup receptionist.
Most companies typically have 1-3 people set up to help answer phones when the receptionist is sick or at lunch, or when the phones are crazy and one person cannot answer every call. The backups’ phones may ring anytime an incoming call comes through the office number, or they may be set up to ring after the second or third ring to the receptionist.
This backup is not really a receptionist but does fill those shoes when the primary person needs backup. The backup person could be anyone else in the company who is always there, such as a contract specialist, an editor, etc.
And if they ever move offices or leave the company, handling the physical movement of their phone requires setting an appointment (and likely paying extra) for outside help. This is a big deal when handling incoming calls to the office is part of the position.
Let’s say an editor has been helping as the second backup for the last five years, and she gets a promotion to senior editor that includes a much nicer office with a door down the hall. She is ecstatic to have a better place to work, a quieter place where she can focus more, and the privacy of having a door to close. This was not an option in her corner office that only had two walls.
Her supervisor tells her to start moving her stuff and asks IT to get her computer moved to the new office by the end of the day (she can see how excited the new senior editor is and wants to help her get moved as soon as possible). That afternoon, the IT guy asks if the supervisor called the phone company to get her phone moved.
“Yeah, that’s something they need to do. We can’t do that ourselves.”
So she calls the phone company. And the soonest they can send someone is next Tuesday. Which means the editor will either have an office with no phone or a phone with no office for several days.
The new senior editor will have to use her cell to make any calls from the office until next Tuesday – hopefully the phone company doesn’t cancel or reschedule – and the entire office loses a phone backup for that time period. Hopefully the phones aren’t too crazy…
So what should have been a simple move with a few trips down the hall by IT and the editor turns into a communications headache that could have been as simple as picking up the phone, carrying it down the hall and getting back to work.
That’s how it would have been if they had VoIP. But their phone company was clearly not going to tell them that.