For many office workers the mobile phone is becoming their default form of business communication, despite having access to a desktop phone that is just going unutilised.
So who is favouring mobile use in the office and why?
Predominately sales people it would seem. Those who aren't necessarily always office based, or who spend more time out of the office or away from their desk than at it are defaulting to easy and familiar mobile communication. What's more, the majority of these workers simply have company mobile phones and therefore the facility to use them whenever.
But what are the reasons for preferring the mobile phone than the office desktop phone?
Simplicity, ease and consistency seem to be the main drivers. Everybody who needs to get hold of mobile employees knows their mobile number, and everybody they need to get hold of is in their mobile phone book, favourites list or recently dialled numbers. People in roles such as sales can't guarantee to customers and prospects that they're always at their desk but they can pretty much guarantee that they'll have their mobile on them and therefore that's the number people should ring. Thus the mobile becomes the device of choice.
So what are the draw backs favouring a mobile device?
The line quality and the costs immediately spring to mind. Audibility on mobiles continues to improve but it still delivers no way near the same quality as a traditional fix line. The costs associated with using a mobile device are coming down; however, it still remains a far more expensive alternative to the traditional desktop. Don't be fooled, inclusive minutes does not mean FREE. Using mobiles in the office can be an unnecessary waste of corporate money!
So, what effect does mobile phone use in the office have on service?
I'm sure customers don't mind whether they are calling a mobile number or a direct line as long as they get through to the correct person and their enquiry is dealt with satisfactorily. But how often can customers get through to sales people on mobiles? Surely, a good sales person will be out in front of customers selling or on the phone drumming up new business? So how often are they available on their mobile phones? In between meetings only it would seem! How is this delivering good service? And what effect does this have on sales? You can't really rely on customers calling up to complain because they won't, they'll simply call a competitor.
What is the alternative?
Yes! Utilising a Unified Communication solution that combines desktop and mobile phones could provide the answer to this problem. Customers call one number and the call is answered on the user's preferred device depending on their location. If the employee is in a meeting or on the phone, the call can be answered by their colleague. They can then deal with the sales enquiry instead, ensuring that the customer can reach someone and does not become disgruntled or disengaged. Furthermore, because all calls are routed via the telephone system, it is possible to monitor call traffic. Companies can use a call logger allowing the number of missed or engaged calls to be identified and action taken if needed.
For some, mobile has already become the way they do business but that doesn't mean it is the most effective means of business communication - especially in the office environment. It is up to organisations to assess the options available to them and their business in terms of what is best from a customer perspective and how this can be implemented effectively.