If anyone thought remote and hybrid working was a fad, they’re wrong.
In fact this year the number of hybrid workers has increased from 13% in early February to 24% in May.
This potentially creates a problem for businesses when it comes to handling phone calls.
With no central phone number, or a big split between employees working in the office and others from home, how can you manage incoming calls and ensure customers are getting through to the people they need to?
You could have employees give out their personal phone numbers so they’re contactable when at home, but how many of your team will be comfortable with that?
You could invest in business mobile phones so every employee has a dedicated work phone, but that’s a big investment.
Or you could employ a full-time receptionist to take calls in the office and transfer them or take messages.
But then you’ll be paying a full-time wage, and still lose the call handling resource as soon as this employee is on the phone.
So what’s the answer?
In this article, Face For Business’ managing director Andy MacGregor outlines the key reasons you should consider an outsourced switchboard for your remote or hybrid business.
1 – Outsourced switchboards fit perfectly into remote businesses
Outsourced switchboards operate remotely as standard so they fit seamlessly into a remote business or one employing hybrid workers.
As a business, you can keep your existing office number, but callers will go through to your switchboard, who will then either pass the caller through to the right person in your team (regardless of where they’re working) or take a message.
The whole process works just like you had a switchboard in an office, but everything is done remotely.
2 – They’re cost-effective
Of the options you have for call management in a remote business, an outsourced switchboard is by far the most cost-effective.
That’s because you only pay for the call management you use, rather than paying a fixed, full-time wage (plus add-ons like tax) regardless of how busy you are.
3 – An outsourced switchboard is scalable
How much call management you need can easily change from month to month, and while you might have busy periods where you’re dealing with lots of calls, you can have long stretches where calls aren’t as frequent.
The problem with traditional switchboards, or hiring full-time staff, is that they’re not easily scalable to match demand.
It takes a long time to recruit and train staff, you won’t always need the same staffing levels, and you don’t want to get into a situation where you have a high staff turnover throughout the year (that’s a morale killer for any office)
An outsourced switchboard on the other hand allows you to simply scale up the resources you need during busy periods, and then scale back resources when you’re less busy.
4 – You can access specialist skills and technology
Dealing with phone calls is a specialist skill in business, and not one that all staff have, or want to learn.
In fact, for many staff, the idea of dealing with calls leaves them feeling anxious and many actually avoid calls (according to a recent study we conducted)
This can be a problem for your customer service when staff are reluctant to pick up the phone and many don’t receive any training on phone systems either.
With an outsourced switchboard, you get instant access to a team of professional operators who can handle all your business’s incoming calls and provide the high level of customer service you want.
Plus, your business will get access to all the latest remote switchboard systems and technology, ensuring your remote communications are keeping pace.
5 – Retain privacy with employee numbers
One of the biggest drawbacks of remote working is trying to make sure customers can contact your employees when they need to, but also keeping some element of privacy for staff when it comes to their personal phones.
Consider this, is it right to publish employee phone numbers so they can be contacted?
Employees might not want their personal phone numbers published (especially if there’s a risk they’ll be taking their work home with them) and they’re more likely to value their privacy.
An outsourced switchboard allows you to transfer calls through to a remote employee’s phone during business hours, without your team worrying that their personal numbers are being used for business.
Make remote working more efficient with an outsourced switchboard
Maintaining connectivity and communication is the most challenging part of operating a remote business when you have employees working from multiple locations and many without business phones.
It’s not just about communicating with customers, but also communicating and staying connected with other team members.
The last thing you need as a business is a customer looking for help and not knowing who to contact (or not being able to contact someone) or getting lost in a constant loop of failed call transfers.
With an outsourced switchboard, you can be more confident that customer calls are being answered quickly and professionally, and that calls are getting through to the right people first time, every time.
The alternative is fractured call management that does nothing to improve customer service while leaving you with an expensive headache and poor reputation for customer service.