Interested in learning why your company’s mobility strategy is failing?
Join Smart Business and Chris Surdenik, president of Call One, at 1 p.m. CDT on September 29th for an in-depth look at mobility in this digital age. Register today!
Surdenik started at Call One in 1998 at the recommendation of Ameritech. He had previously been a provisioning supervisor at USN Communications, where he was responsible for training and administration of the provisioning department.
He knew there was a better way to tackle telecommunications needs.
Now, 13 years later, Surdenik has proven Ameritech’s recommendation – and his decision – to be prescient. Call One has seen substantial growth, most recently being named to Crain’s Fifty-Fastest Growing Companies in Chicago and Inc. Magazine’s 500 5000 list.
Earlier this year, Smart Business sat down with Surdenik to discuss how he tackles business challenges. You can read the interview here.
The bottom line is that it's becoming an ever increasingly mobile world. And for business, that means you're conducting transactions on the go, holding meetings on the road -- and from remote locales -- and accessing your data from anywhere at any time.
So what does mobility mean, and how can you best take advantage of what's out there?
At this Webinar, we’ll tackle such topics as:
* Hardware: Smart phones, wireless devices and creating transparency in business communications.
* Client Experience: Mobility puts you in the "now" at anytime for clients, creating a dynamic customer service experience.
* Integrated Communications: How mobility plays an important role in a fully conceptualized integrated communications plan.
Register today as this is one Webinar you don't want to miss.
Take a look at our latest leap into the world of mobility, online publications and interactivity - the NEW Smart Business digital eMag!
Sponsored by Rea & Associates, this premiere edition allows you to interact directly with Smart Business, the people we write about and our advertisers.
Click here to experience the October edition of Smart Business Cleveland - in a digital format!
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As always, thank you for your readership.
The word “telephone” has become outdated. Mobile, cell, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) —these are buzzwords in the communications industry today as consumers embrace the ability to be anywhere and everywhere while staying connected.
Today’s business class phone systems make this possible with options designed to ring you at home, the office or while away. And there’s also the evolution of the computer as a tool for not only administrative functions such as billing, but also expediting phone calls by way of cutting-edge click-to-dial applications, says Debra Wakeley, director of product management, Time Warner Cable Business Class.
“The lines between using a cell phone and landline are starting to blur,” says Wakeley. “We see increasing demand for wireless, and a demand for mobility and the ability to work wherever you are to answer the important call and close that deal.”
Mobility is just the beginning. Businesses today can function more efficiently and effectively with phone systems that provide more features and more control, and can be accessed from any computer.
Smart Business spoke with Wakeley about the evolution of phone service and the newest features that are available to help businesses take their communications to the next level.
What phone features are available to provide flexibility and mobility for businesses?
As the lines between mobile and landline phones blur, systems such as ‘remote office’ are in development to allow a person to tell the system where calls should be directed, to wherever they may be — be it a cell phone, home office, corporate office or vacation home. Not only are calls directed to the assigned phone, all outgoing calls appear as if they are being dialed out from the office line, regardless of the originating call location.
This feature is similar to another convenience, the find-me-follow-me feature, which is a call-forwarding function in which the phone system rings all of your lines in sequential order or at the same time.
This can be combined with a remote office service for optimum mobility.
What other phone system features are making life easier for business users?
The line between computer and phone service is blurring as the computer has evolved into a platform for phone systems. For example, an application called Voice Manager allows you to make changes to your phone service from any Internet-connected computer.
If you have auto attendant, you can modify how calls are answered and where they are directed through your computer. Essentially, the computer can be used to control phone features at your convenience. You can view your bill, your call history, etc. This is especially convenient for businesses that need 24/7 access to phone system information.
In the future, you’ll see greater availability of click-to-dial applications that allow you to generate and receive calls from your computer, tablet or smart phone.
What should a business consider when developing a phone system strategy?
First, think long term. What are your needs now and going forward? Consider how many employees you have today, and what your growth looks like in the next few years.
You want to get a handle on the size and scope of the system you’ll need. How many calls do employees make? How many calls do they receive? Are there features to help you better distribute calls? Is Internet Protocol (IP) technology a smart strategy for today, or can this type of system wait? How old is your phone equipment? What is it about your current system that frustrates you? What features do you desire in a phone system?
Ultimately, ask yourself how your ideal phone system would work. Then partner with a professional who can provide knowledgeable insight on what technology is available to meet your needs. This person will help you design a phone system that meets your demands today and is flexible to accommodate growth or changing business needs in the future. He or she will also help you understand how to best use phone systems to maximize the technology you have.
How can a company stay up to date with technology without constantly reinventing its phone system?
As a business grows, so will its need for technology to accommodate communications needs. Business growth should drive the adoption of technology. Avoid the temptation to buy brand-new equipment just so you have the latest bells and whistles, unless technology is your niche and your business is an early adopter by nature.
Ask business peers about the phone systems they use, and what works and what doesn’t. Talk to local chambers of commerce to find reputable business class phone providers that can provide the customer service and consultation you really need. Get plenty of opinions before you make a leap to a different system. But also keep in mind that leaping can be a good thing.
The technology that is available today allows you to connect anytime, anywhere at your convenience. And the flexibility that phone systems continue to offer as they become more sophisticated will only serve to benefit businesses.
Debra Wakeley is director of product management for Time Warner Cable Business Class. Contact a Time Warner Cable Business Class account consultant at (877) 612-7474 to discuss your communications needs.