Calling has remained a central aspect of work. A wired, landline telephone and handset remain a method for contacting people within your organisation or receiving phone calls at your office desk. However, viability and convenience have come into question in recent years. What is the point of hybrid work if one of your communication tools remains on your desk, siloed from other applications?
When knowledge workers switch between ten apps twenty-five times a day, you need to reduce the amount of app switching as much as possible. You can start by bringing all workplace communication, including calls, into one platform, such as Microsoft Teams.
1. Calling from anywhere for the hybrid workforce
A person working between home and the office needs one solution they can leverage in both locations. Microsoft Teams Phone runs on a cloud-based infrastructure that allows people to make calls from their desk phone, mobile, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Their availability no longer relies on their location but on their presence status in Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams Phone offers one place to make calls, with one login across devices. When you hang up a call from the Teams app on your mobile phone, you can find the person’s contact details and call again from your laptop. For those working while on the move, you can transfer calls from your mobile device to your desk phone or computer once you arrive at work.
If international calling is essential to your organisation, you can use a Microsoft Teams Calling plan to make cloud-based calls worldwide, rather than relying on landline or satellite systems.
2. Reduce your telephony costs
If you have a traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) system set up in your business, you would know that it is a pricy endeavour with cabling, telephony provider plans and handsets attached to desks.
Microsoft Teams Phone processes calls via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), freeing your organisation from cabling. Of course, if you already have such a PSTN set up and want to continue leveraging it, Microsoft Teams Phone includes options for using your existing telephony infrastructure alongside Teams.
The monthly costs for Microsoft Teams will depend on your current Microsoft 365 licence. You have voice calling included in your basic plan, but this is the same format as a video call with the video turned off. Domestic and international calling plans will need an additional subscription cost in addition to your Microsoft 365 licence.
In addition to optimising telephony costs, you can reduce your spending on business applications overall. For example, if you have subscriptions for separate messaging, video calling and voice calling platforms, then you are likely spending more per month than if you paid only one subscription fee to a platform with all of the capabilities needed.
3. Smoothen collaboration with in-app calls
Microsoft Teams Phone sands the rough edges off digital collaboration. Think about the following scenario in which you call a colleague to chat with them about a deliverable. They ask if you can add another person to the call, but they are unavailable when you call their phone. Your colleague then requests you share the document with them, and you need to find their details in the messaging system of another application.
I am sure you agree that it is frustrating to have a discussion this way.
Now, imagine the chat differently. You call your colleague, and when they ask you to patch someone else into the call, you check the person’s presence status and note that they are unavailable, so you do not have to waste time calling. When your colleague asks for a link to the document, you send it to them from the same application, removing the struggle of searching for them on a different messaging platform.
4. Cloud auto attendants and call routing
Microsoft Teams Phone includes cloud auto attendants, which manage calls for the business and individuals when no one is available to answer the phone.
The cloud auto attendant delivers a menu system for the caller to navigate. When calling your business, they would hear something like this: ‘To enquire about an order, press 1. To make a payment, press 2. For all other enquiries, press 3.’ If they call an unavailable person, the auto attendant might direct the caller to someone else or send them to voicemail. You can set different auto attendants for outside of business hours. The cloud auto attendant is there to work the phones when your team cannot.
Microsoft Teams Phone also includes call routing options for directing and transferring callers:
- Call sharing enables you to nominate one or more people to answer calls on your behalf if unavailable. You could allow simultaneous ringing, meaning multiple people will receive the call alert when it comes through.
- Call transfer has remained a classic feature of traditional phone systems, and you can leverage it in two ways with Microsoft Teams Phone. A blind transfer reroutes the call without selecting the recipient and speaking to them first. A consultative transfer is where the user speaks to the person taking over the call before transferring it.
- Call queues manage the workflow for any person or function where they receive more calls than they can handle. If someone places a call, but the line is busy, the caller will hear an automated greeting and hold music will play while they wait in the queue until the next available person can answer the phone. You can set wait time limits, and if the caller is on hold for longer than the specified amount of time, you can choose whether the call reroutes to voicemail, another person, or an auto attendant.
5. Integration with your Direct Routing solution
What if you already have a robust telephony system in your organisation? Jumping from your current infrastructure to Microsoft Teams Phone might be too big an overhaul as you port existing business numbers and move your team to an entirely new platform.
Direct Routing in Microsoft Teams Phone allows you to keep your existing infrastructure and leverage the features available in Microsoft Teams.
Direct Routing enables you to connect your on-premises or cloud-based telephony infrastructure to Microsoft Teams, so you can continue leveraging your existing phone system alongside Microsoft Teams’ capabilities. In addition, it gives you more control over settings for calling features and allows the flexibility of using third-party voice providers as part of your solution.
Start your Microsoft Teams Phone journey with soma
We are an ICT provider specialising in advisory and consulting, managed services, IT infrastructure solutions, networking and connectivity, collaboration and productivity, business intelligence and cyber security. Our experts deliver projects that enable your team to collaborate and communicate no matter where they work.
soma does more than deploy Microsoft Teams Phone; our focus remains on your communication needs, and we design the platform in line with what your business and end-users require. We align expectations by conversing with the key leaders in the project, gathering preferences and requirements, going through call flows and designing the solution. Our team considers how users worked previously, what Microsoft Teams Phone delivers and how to get the most from the platform. We maintain this collaboration throughout the project to ensure your needs and our approach remain aligned.