Telephones date back to the 1870s, though they are certainly more advanced today than anything in the 19th century. Businesses need phones to contact clients and customers, place orders, and more, and any business network is likely to contain not just an Internet connection, but hosted phone systems or hybrid phone systems as well. Getting all this set up is essential for any new business, big or small, and business networks can make use of traditional landlines, the Cloud, and off-site data centers to keep information flowing freely. Now, how does all this work, and how can an office worker maintain a suitable environment for phone service?
Business Networks and Phones
In decades past, landlines were sufficient for an office’s phone and business network needs, but today, the internet has stepped in. Most often, phones are hybrid systems connected to a Cloud, and these IP (internet provider) phones can use both the internet and regular landlines as needed. High-speed internet is not used 100% of the time for these business networks, but it can be, if need be, and these phone systems are always capable of using the internet.
What about hosted phone systems? When a business uses a phone system like that, off-site data centers are being used to keep everything together; in short, the client business is getting a lease for its phone service, and there may be fees involved. This idea is not brand-new; such hosted phone systems were used in the past, too, but today, they are internet phones. The client business is a subscriber to this phone service, and the phone service sits in the Cloud, ready for use at any time. At the business’s physical site, the phones are set up and connected with cables, ready for use, and they are automatically connected to the servers and switches found at the data center. Another benefit of using these hosted phone systems is that the system’s maintenance (virus protection, software updates, etc) are the responsibility of the provider, not the company that is using the phones. This is analogous to how a renter does not pay for repair and upkeep costs of their apartment; instead, the landlord does. What is more, the data center’s employees can add new lines and troubleshoot the system, among other duties.
Better Phone Communication
Now that the phone is set up, how can a business employee make the most of it? This is where “soft skills” come in, and people skills are important here. After all, a business professional is speaking to not just a client or a customer, but a person, and people want to be treated well both face-to-face and over the phone. Many studies and surveys confirm that customers are highly sensitive where this is concerned, and just one incident of bad customer service can have major consequences. The customer or consumer may hang up and move on to a different company, or file a complaint. Therefore, customer service reps and sales employees are trained to be polite, patient, communicate clearly, and establish connections with the other party. Doing this consistently can create repeat customers who enjoy being treated well, and repeat customers are highly profitable. In fact, it is many times more expensive to create a new customer than to simply contract a current one and get another sale from them.
There may be obstacles besides an employee’s potential lack of phone skills, though. An office is a crowded and noisy place, and this can be distracting and raise stress levels. Other people are talking in person or over the phone, on top of other noises such as printers or traffic outside or the air conditioning. This can lead to poor customer service, so employees sometimes get soundproof phone booths installed right there in the office. Such booths feature not only soundproof walls, but a desk and chair for placing the phone and a laptop or papers for work. This cuts down on distractions and relaxes the employee, and they can better hear the other person on the phone.
Some employees relocate to home, and in their dedicated home office, they can easily conduct phone calls without any interruptions. In fact, phone-based jobs are highly appealing to job seekers who can’t easily leave home, such as single parents.