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How to ensure your business is prepared for the unknown

The COVID-19 global pandemic is affecting every aspect of our lives, from how we work to how we conduct our daily routines at home or with our families. At Alfonica, we believe that people are adaptable and want to fulfil their roles as best they can, but often it is our connectivity systems that prove inflexible and unable to cope with rapidly developing changes.

Fortunately, telephony systems already exist to support businesses dealing with such an unforeseen issue and can provide simple solutions to manage a change in working circumstances. For many companies, a strong and reliable communications arrangement, forms the base of their business continuity plan and are therefore able to prevent an otherwise inevitable decrease in customer service, profitability, or general operations.

Adaptable Telephony

Communication is so essential in all parts of life, but in this situation, it is the communication systems that show who is best prepared for such an unprecedented emergency such as COVID-19. Many companies are nonetheless using outdated PBX systems supported by ISDN (digital) lines, as the basis of their telephony. Such companies are no doubt finding it more challenging than others, to manage with the recent changes to working behaviour triggered by the nationwide lockdown.

During this time, Alfonica is proud to have assisted many businesses like these. One example is of an international newspaper with offices in both London and New York. Their London office, being dependent on a PBX system, could divert all incoming calls but only to a single phone number. So, whether the incoming caller dialled the central phone number or a direct dial (DDI), the caller would be diverted to the same single end recipient, who in many cases was unable to provide proper assistance. This was clearly unprofessional and left this particular business feeling that they needed something changed quickly.

Flexible Solutions

After an initial discussion and agreement, Alfonica upgraded this company to be a proud owner, of a state-of-the-art hosted (VoIP) solution with high specification handsets. Despite the lockdown, an engineer was dispatched to the client’s headquarters and performed the necessary onsite work, obviously whilst keeping within the government guidelines of the lockdown.

The installation was completed on a Friday and on the Sunday morning, Alfonica’s support technicians began to program the client’s team members’ laptops, smartphones and other devices to install our bespoke software. This allowed users to make and receive calls as if they were in the office, whilst they were in fact, remote working.

As well as this, we also advised implementing a new greeting menu (IVR), which ensured the business call flow and routing was efficient and customised to the client’s unique requirements. The implementation of this new hosted system, meant that some team members were able to take their physical desk phones out of the office and connect it to their home internet, others connected via their PC or smartphone app whilst still allowing those that needed to, to work within the office, showing complete flexibility for working. As a result, the client’s business was able to operate as usual (or as close to this as possible) and deliver their usual news articles and updates to their client base, as well as crucial COVID-19 information too.

Looking to the Future

There is no question that this deadly disease has opened our eyes and will change a hundred different ways, to how we as a country function moving forward. One thing is for certain, we as people are able to adapt and as business owners, learn from this situation to improve our business continuity plans.

The above is just one example of the many hurdles that businesses have endeavored to overcome so far this year. The positive news is, your telecommunications requirements needn’t feel so reactive or hurried.

If your company’s telephony services are currently facilitated using a PBX phone system with ISDN lines, then you may not be aware that BT Openreach is already phasing out the ISDN framework and will continue to reduce this over the next few years and may leave your existing system with no real functionality by the start of 2025. This means that you should be considering an update to your current phone system, if you have not done so already.

Growing from this experience has shown the opportunities available to businesses like yours, that wish to update their telephony system to provide the resilience, scalability and longevity, enabling your team members maximum mobility and flexibility and consequently benefit your overall business.

Aside from the remote desk phone example above, hosted systems can provide additional tools such as conference rooms, screen sharing and video conferencing – all innovative methods to keep the communication flowing between colleagues, clients and partners alike, helping to ensure that your company thrives not only under pressure but under ordinary circumstances too.

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