Did your workforce go mobile while your business phone system stood still? People’s love affair with mobile devices is transforming the workforce. For example, half of all workers now use a mobile phone even when sitting next to a desk phone, and 84 percent of those age 18–29 report using mobile devices to work two hours per day on their own time. However, while your employees may be hooked on smartphones and tablets, these devices are often not hooked in to the company phone system—and not controlled by you.
Bring your own device (BYOD) brings its own set of issues
Due to the cost and complexity, many small businesses don’t issue smartphones to their employees. But running a small business on a hodgepodge of employee-owned mobile devices can create an array of issues. In many cases, mobile users must dial in to the company voicemail system. Plus, they can’t forward calls, access the company directory, or extension-dial coworkers. Employees also communicate with important contacts using their personal phone numbers—not your business number—and store your customers’ contact information on their devices.
The cloud mobilizes small businesses
Fortunately, the cloud has revolutionized the way small businesses work, collaborate, and support their customers. Today’s mature cloud communications systems not only offer high-quality, low-cost voice communications but also give mobile users complete access to the company phone system. For example, the RingCentral mobile app for iPhone®/iPad® and Android™ essentially transforms a smartphone into a full-featured business phone with integrated HD voice, fax, text, conferencing, online meetings, and team collaboration, as well as access to voicemail and the company directory. In addition, the app allows mobile users to access the latest features like video conferencing and integrations with popular business productivity apps like Salesforce®.
By putting the company phone system at your remote workers’ fingertips, a mature cloud communications system like RingCentral Office® delivers a number of transformative business benefits.
1) Single number for phone, fax, and text messages. Customers and coworkers no longer have to dial multiple contact numbers to reach one person. In addition, eliminating the use of personal phone numbers protects employee privacy and helps preserve customer relationships.
2) Easy access to voicemail from outside the office. Employees sometimes wait to return to the office to access voicemail, which can cause problems and result in lost business. The cloud makes employees more responsive to customers and partners by directly integrating voicemail notifications into the mobile device.
3) Company directory access and extension dialing. The seamless integration provided by the cloud means managers and coworkers can reach mobile employees with a quick extension-dial from a company directory—which is accessible directly through the mobile app.
4) Reduced costs and visibility in BYOD billing. The free RingCentral mobile app makes it easy to transform employee-owned devices into secure corporate business phones, saving you the cost of issuing company phones. RingCentral Office also includes voice, fax, text, conferencing, and web meetings in a simplified bill with a low, all-inclusive monthly subscription fee. Additionally, simple reporting tools let you see how your employees use the service, including how much usage is for business vs personal.
5) Protects valuable data. Sensitive company data and business contacts often reside on employee-owned mobile devices. With a cloud solution, customer contacts and other critical information reside in the cloud—only the app is on the device. Likewise, if an employee leaves the company, you can block access to customer contacts and other valuable data simply by disconnecting the device from the cloud system. Better still, the data remains available in the cloud, where you can access it.
So if your business communications system hasn’t moved into the mobile era, perhaps it’s time to move to the cloud.
Originally published Nov 21, 2016, updated Jul 27, 2021