Feb. 13, 2009 | By

We’re all in the Communications Business

At last week’s IT Expo in Miami, John Frederiksen, General Manager of Microsoft’s Response Point gave the keynote address.  Response Point is Microsoft’s small business phone system software also known as an IP PBX for small to medium-sized businesses.

Using one of the most over-used phrases since “is that your final answer?” Frederiksen noted that “in this economy” companies are particularly interested in saving time and money while increasing productivity and growing one’s business.  With these goals in mind, these businesses need to resolve issues such as prioritizing the myriad messages received in order to avoid communications overload and make sense of inputs.

To meet these challenges, they are turning to unified communications, which bring its own challenges related to device and network suitability, price/value and availability. There are many unified communications solutions available including a great one from our client, Objectworld. While any of the above could be fodder for a blog, I’d like to focus on communication that goes beyond features and functions.

In the telecom industry, we also hear the phrase, “SMBs are in whatever business they’re in—manufacturing, professional services, finance, etc.—and not in the business of running phone systems or communications.” They may not have an IT department and dedicated staff that can do moves, adds, changes and so forth.

True, but isn’t communications part of  every business? No company lives in a vacuum, but must communicate among employees and with customers and suppliers. What is the message your company is conveying? Are staff easily accessible to customers? How difficult is it to reach people on the phone? Do people answer their phones or do the majority of calls land in voice mail necessitating time lost to return phone calls? Is the problem the phone system, the employees or the corporate culture?

At the conference, I spoke on customer service and the importance of treating customers as though they are king and not an intrusion. If customers cannot reach your company, they’ll go elsewhere-plain and simple. If your company is not making a good impression, customers will go elsewhere. Communication extends beyond mobile phones, emails, IP PBX and unified services. It extends beyond press releases and contributed articles. Bottom line—never think that your company is not in the business of communication whether it’s the phone system, outbound marketing or call centers.

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