Unified Communications (UC) might seem like technical jargon to your customers, but it means their employees can take their phones home and continue to work just as if they are in the office. But what about the 15 million still on fixed line networks supported by the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)? Is there a solution for these customers, or have they left it too late to move? The answer is YES, no matter who, no matter where, no matter what product – you can provide the solution to keep them running during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Let’s look at the top 3 tips you can consider whilst thinking about COVID-19 contingency:
1. Use your UC applications:
All good UC providers can offer desktop, tablet and smartphone applications that allow staff to log into their phones through an application on their device. It is incredibly easy to download onto desktops and laptops and, teamed with access over the internet to a company’s Virtual Private Network (VPN), employees can work from home seamlessly – just as if they were in the office. This keeps their health as the number one priority while keeping businesses running during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Before we move onto the next tip, the question on your mind will be – is the app expensive? Most providers have different types of Hosted UC licences and the licence you currently consume is likely to already have some flexible working functionality. Our HV.Select Hosted Licences come with the Cisco Webex application free of charge.
2. Avoid unnecessary travel and meetings with Audio and Video Conferencing
Now your customer is up and running at home, safe from COVID-19 and keeping their business ticking remotely. The next question might be, how can they conduct their required meetings? There is a lot of additional software than can be purchased, but it is much easier to uplift a UC application for conferencing and keep everything in one place. HV.Select Hosted Licences have the option to uplift the UC Business to UC Teams, giving users the ability to hold conference calls for up to 8 people, which is ideal to keep a small business running.
Additionally, most UC applications (including Cisco Webex) can offer collaboration, this includes screen sharing and instant chat. You don’t need to worry if you haven’t consumed Microsoft Teams or some of the other collaboration tools, but it will help your customers keep their productivity high and their businesses talking.
3. Get UC ready
The previous points are great if your customers have already moved to hosted technology, but there are still over 15 million PSTN lines that use the fixed line network, so these features simply won’t be available for them to use currently. You now have the difficulty of customers calling and asking to move to VoIP urgently, but there are porting timescales which are simply unacceptable to a customer who needs to work from home tomorrow. However, there is an interim solution – you just need to be clever and make your customer aware that there will be some additional costs in the interim period.
Firstly, you can set your customer up in real-time with Hosted Voice, you can then order temporary numbers for them to use until their lines are ported. UC allows you to spoof their actual telephone number for calls out of the business, and calls into the business can be sent on a call forward from the fixed line to the temporary number. Hey presto, your customer is VoIP enabled on the UC application in as much time as it takes to get the call forward live!
To summarise, there really is no need to panic. For every customer, there is a solution. You can provide your customers with UC no matter what the timescales are, and no matter what service your customer currently has. If you are not already talking to your customers about remote working, you should be as it might ease some of their worry and concern during the COVID-19 lockdown.
For more information about our UC products, please get in touch with our teams today.