In today’s cloud world – phones don’t need to be frozen out

Over the past few weeks in the UK, thanks to the ‘Beast from the East’ – with a third instalment potentially on its way – we have seen the usual grinding to a halt of the nation as snow has hit.

For business, such a simple, uncontrollable and unexpected event can be eventful, painful and even catastrophic depending on your business type and how you have planned for such occurrences. Snow has a wide sweeping effect, but also consider unfortunately in today’s times, terror attacks and the more localised effect of businesses also not able to get to work.

Whenever we experience the snow we see headlines, news reports and discussions ensuing over the cost to business. Should we not already be mitigating against this – and should a simple weather impact be able to affect work so easily in today’s world?

The costs and impact can be very simple. Take petrol station sales, down 10% the last time this happened. Building projects are stopped. Cafés, restaurants, taxi drivers and train operators receive less throughput. Likewise, there are those whose business requests go up; gas engineers, breakdown services, takeaway restaurants.

Be it you cannot get to work through being snowed in yourself, the office itself being shut, or through having to stay home to look after the kids as their school is shut, the outcome is the same – you are not at your desk and, for many roles, therefore not able to perform your duties.

For a customer service, call centre, support or sales environment, this can have a severe impact on your clients and your own productivity. For businesses the effect is costly, as if you have not empowered your workers to ‘be able’ to work, you cannot put the impact onto your employees – the law prevents this.

Assuming that, as you’re impacted, so may be your clients, is a false sense of security. Not all regions may be affected; your customers may still choose or need to call. If they now have downtime due to the weather, they may choose to make that call they have been putting off sorting an issue or order out. Therefore, it can be argued that you may incur spikes of need at a time when your team is weakened to respond.

In today’s world, the technology to empower true business continuity, fast and affordably, is in reach of us all. Mobile phones, laptops and tablet devices all enable workers to be mobile and have that virtual office and are within financial reach of even the smallest company. Indeed, you will likely find your employees already have their own tech, often better than what you are providing to them.

The missing component today is often the fundamental of your own business phone system. How easily and quickly, when caught short by the weather, can you, as an employer, switch users to fully remote working? Can you have their desk phone calls routed to their mobile, a soft-phone or web-phone, and all routing, call queues, wallboards and reporting of calls working as normal? You should be able to remotely switch on a DR policy that makes this happen. Wouldn’t it also make sense to have users able to make outbound calls that come as if working at their desk?

Imagine the snow hits; you make a decision that all or some employees need to work but be remote today. You want all working as normal despite their physical location. Wouldn’t it be ideal if all the user had to do was to login to their CRM or service desk system on any PC, and be immediately on their desk phone right there from the browser session.

Today, this is easy, simple for the user, and something you can deploy quickly to even the largest of teams. Once the snow thaws, you move onto day to day business, seeing the issue as passed and not planning to take any further action – until it happens again and you wished you had.

Weather patterns are getting worse, terror attacks unfortunately are growing, and we can expect increased disruptions over the coming years. Don’t let your customers and staff be left out in the snow. In today’s cloud technology world, there is no need. The solution to this is practical, affordable and here today. Don’t be giving excuses or apologies – be the one giving service.