Many organisations opted for Microsoft Teams to help workers connect for the past two years. That’s mainly because of its compatibility with the Microsoft suite. But while there are pros to the app, some found it fell short when it came to phone.
Businesses are now looking ahead to a world post-pandemic. What can organisations that adopted Teams do to ensure their people have the best tools to keep connected without losing out on call quality?
There’s a lot of advice out there about how you can improve your Teams experience with better phone capabilities. Here are some recent examples of how RingCentral customers did it. Plus some of the other benefits they didn’t expect.
Howard Kennedy brought all apps together
A leading UK law firm, Howard Kennedy, was looking for a reliable communications system to support its 400-strong workforce. One of its key objectives was to ensure staff could work from anywhere as it grew. But this wouldn’t have been feasible with its existing on-premises telephony system.
Introducing a softphone to its initial solution wasn’t as simple as they thought it would be. While the softphone connected calls to company-issued laptops, employees couldn’t access this on their mobiles. Staff had to manually forward calls and regularly call to check their voicemail mailbox. Those that didn’t have a company-issued mobile had to expose their mobile numbers (which could have become a privacy nightmare.)
Soon after the global pandemic, the firm’s IT professionals rolled-out Microsoft Teams to support newly remote workers. While Teams met their immediate needs in terms of online collaboration, the telephony capabilities left many pre-existing needs unaddressed.
Applications were everywhere. Employees had one for voicemail, another for conferencing and even one for fax-to-email services. This meant that workers were switching between up to seven different applications.
Using RingCentral’s Cloud PBX for Teams, Howard Kennedy could get the phone capabilities they needed in the Microsoft Teams environment. RingCentral and Microsoft Teams gave employees a more comprehensive range of voice, video and messaging capabilities all in one app.
Learn more about how RingCentral supports Howard Kennedy here.
Haysmacintyre improved efficiency…
Accountancy firm Haysmacintyre needed a solution that could help them serve business customers around the world. The Top 50 accountancy firm had always taken a forward-looking approach to technology and moved its old systems to Teams long before the pandemic.
While Microsoft Teams was great for most things (meetings, messaging and internal dialling) it wasn’t hitting the spot for external phone calls.
“Everyone had to deal with two communications platforms, Teams and the legacy telephony system,” explains Simon Bulleyment, CIO at Haysmacintrye, “I knew this was frustrating for our staff because I kept hearing, ‘Simon, when are we going to be able to do external calling in Teams?’”
The business asked long-term IT partner CDW for advice to meet the telephony needs of the business. That’s where RingCentral came into the picture. Embedding the cloud phone functionality directly into the Microsoft Teams interface, employees had access to everything they needed all from within one platform.
“Now it’s all in our Teams apps: cloud phone service, messaging and meetings. We can even retrieve voicemail within the Teams environment, so it really is fully integrated, and it’s making everyone’s lives much easier,” Simon explains.
…and experienced unexpected benefits
The firm also created additional workflow improvements using an integration with RingCentral partner Bridge Communications. “When our clients call, we prefer they reach a real person, not an automated menu,” explains Simon. “So, we added the Bridge Operator Console, which helps a great deal with intelligent call routing.”
“The app bolts in beautifully with RingCentral and Teams. When our receptionist is speaking with a client and needs to route the call, she’s already in Teams, so she can see everyone’s availability status. Even better, if an employee is out, she can see that person’s out-of-office message, which often has details about the right colleagues to speak with if they’re away.”
You can see below what this looks like in action.
Learn more about Haysmacintyre here.
FE fundinfo connected its global workforce
Following a merger in 2019, which brought together teams from all over the world, FE fundinfo didn’t have the means to connect their offices or enable employees to communicate with clients simply.
This was a problem because thousands of its customers rely on its tools and information marketplace to make smart investment decisions for their clients every day. On top of this, the firm inherited legacy phone systems and service contracts with local telecom carriers everywhere. This was racking up costs because they were serving small local satellite offices.
Their goal to connect their global workforce became more urgent when the pandemic hit in 2020. FE fundinfo quickly adopted Microsoft Teams to enable messaging and simple collaboration across territories. However, the team still needed a solution for international phone services and capabilities like an intelligent IVR. With a large presence in India, the business also needed a provider to support them in this market.
FE fundinfo turned to RingCentral’s Cloud PBX for Microsoft Teams. Using the new RingCentral widget, team members could connect calls across multiple territories globally.
“We know having that local presence in each country makes calling more reliable, and we also can see the cost savings we are making on international calling. We’ve consolidated all our phone systems down to a single provider, we’re no longer paying crazy carrier fees to deliver phone service to smaller offices, and we know exactly how much it’s going to cost us to add a new user,” explains Thomas Fuhrmann, Head of Infrastructure Projects.
Learn more about FE fundinfo here.
What do all of these firms have in common?
All customers realised the same thing. For workers to collaborate and serve customers well, they need one tool covering all channels. But above all, they need phone capabilities with the highest levels of reliability. A provider that integrates with Microsoft Teams and offers 99.999% SLA (just 6 minutes of downtime each year) is the option to go for.
With RingCentral for Microsoft Teams, our customers have a plan B in case of a Teams outage. It gives firms like Howard Kennedy, FE fundinfo and Haysmacintyre access to the RingCentral app. No matter where your employees are, they’ll always be there for your customers.
Originally published 19 Sep, 2023