From our attitudes to hygiene, to personal space, the global pandemic changed everything. Social gatherings took on a slightly worrying turn, and were replaced by social media. Shaking hands was replaced by elbow bumps. Face to face by virtual meetings. We were all one sneeze away from being socially ostracised.
British culture has pulled up from this dark place, like a plucky little aircraft pulling up to crest a mountain. Face masks are rarer now, and fewer people are drinking their daily quota of hand sanitiser.
But some traits have remained. Working from home, for instance. It wasn’t that long ago that working from home was the preserve of a very few people. It is now offered as standard by over half of the world’s businesses. Certainly, a hybrid model of working is now pretty much mandatory when advertising any position.
Weekly team meetings, dealing with customer phone calls, following up enquiries. All of these forms of communication have been picked up from the standard office space, and dropped into home offices and back bedrooms across the UK.
The move from our established methods and practises of communication, to the new model, however, hasn’t been an easy transition.
Waiting for someone to call you back, because the company receptionist can’t transfer you to them. And waiting and waiting, because the person you are trying to reach has to receive a company chat message telling them you phoned. Which they then have to read. And when the person you’re waiting for a call from does finally call, they have to call you from their own mobile, because the company phone system doesn’t allow outgoing calls. So you don’t know who’s calling, and don’t answer. Because you didn’t answer, they leave a message asking for you to call them…
Remember, that not only does this introduce delays and the potential for error, but it also influences how customers perceive you. You may come across as uncaring, or unprofessional. Isn’t the point of your company having a phone number to encourage customers to get in contact? It isn’t supposed to put them off. Fortunately, there is an easy answer. VoIP, with appropriate hardware or software, gives solutions to all these issues.
All staff can use your one dedicated company number, or their own Direct Dial. Calls can be directed to whoever is best placed to answer. Customers hear your music or recorded company messages if they wait on hold. You can direct calls to the best department, using your IVR menu. You can ensure all calls are answered using Ring Groups, making sure customer calls ring appropriate staff members in a predefined pattern until answered. A lot of small features make for a much improved customer experience.
There are lots of ways to improve from the disjointed, semi-functional communications scenario. When given the choice between ‘smooth’ and ‘clunky’ phone systems, you should definitely choose ‘smooth’.The global pandemic changed everything.
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