How connected are you? To your clients, prospective clients, co-workers, and other callers that matter? Your responsiveness or “connectedness” can have a huge impact on the impression your company makes and the perception your clients have about doing business with you.
- It can help you solve a problem before it gets too far out of control.
- It enables you to build goodwill by responding to client requests quickly.
- It creates separation between you and a competitor, and can determine who makes the sale; or not.
- When the need for a critical decision arises, it can help to get all parties that need to be involved, involved.
Years ago (circa 1980’s and 90’s) we would evaluate inbound call handling based on something that we referred to as “The 4 Calling Scenarios”. The goal was to identify the best ways to improve call processing for the organization, but primarily for receptionist since that was usually the position that dealt with the highest call volume. This was before everyone had a cell phone and well before voice over IP (VoIP) hit the scene. Heck, voice mail was just coming of age and a very expensive add-on.
Here’s what the 4 calling scenarios included back then:
- You’re available (at your desk).
- You’re busy (on the phone).
- You’re away from your desk.
- You’re out of the office.
Looking back, this list seems kind of simplistic and funny. Thanks to greater feature-functionality and significant advances in technology, every employee can now customize their “availability” to handle their own voice communications. And it doesn’t matter if they’re in or out of the office.
I know what you’re thinking. “Does this mean they can hide?” Well, yes and no. As with social media, more of what you do is visible to others. But that’s more of an HR issue. And to paraphrase Jim Collins in Good To Great, maybe that person doesn’t belong on the bus!
Thinking back over the past 20 years, I think it deserves mentioning that gadgets and the distractions they create have had an impact on us all. In some ways they have made things more complex. But the technology is getting better and faster. And just having someone’s cell number to call or text may work in some limited manual situations, but it isn’t enough when your developing automated processes that can stand on their own.
So what do you do? If you want or need to stay connected, you need to activate “Find-me / Follow-me” in your phone system. Once you do, you can customize specific conditions. For example, include the times of day, days of week, and your availability (aka presence status and hook state). And if that’s not enough, you can include your boss’ caller ID or extension number so they’re identified and you never miss their call (if that’s important). Once you establish your desired settings, the rule takes effect. And you’re free to modify or disable the rule at any time.
Here’s an example: When you’re logged out of your system or have made yourself “not available”, your cell phone will simultaneously ring and you’ll be given the option to answer calls that have been directed to your office extension. If you’re unable to answer, you will receive an email notification that includes the voice mail message attachment along with caller ID. So you can listen to the message and return the call in seconds. How cool is that?
Here’s my advice: Minimize “missed” calls and be more responsive to those that matter most!
If you need help setting this up, contact your IDeACOM representative. And if you’re still using 1990’s technology, ask about our super-successful “test drive” program where you can try before you buy.