Business communication is and will continue to be based on direct human interaction. The massive switch to online video conferencing has confirmed this during the COVID-19 situation. Voice is also a critical communication tool that is often taken for granted or not properly planned for. When recalibrating your technology plan it is important to understand how to plan for both voice and video.
Voice is a service, not a phone number
When a new team member starts a new role the first thing they receive is an email address, and typically a phone number on a business card. The problem is, the Millennial and younger generations don’t want a phone number, they want a voice service to use that is as flexible as their mobile voice services.
Voice should be delivered as an app that can be run on any device with minimal network overhead. Two services that do this well are RingCentral and Microsoft phone systems (Teams). You install the app on your mobile device, and voila, you can start making and receiving voice calls in seconds. The ability to change your voice settings should also be handled via the application. No more figuring out what your voicemail PIN is to change your greeting or call handling.
Text messaging goes under the voice umbrella
Your voice service should also allow for text messaging. As anyone with a child under 20 can attest, the quickest way to get a response is to sent a text, not make a phone call. The voice and text communication should happen via the same service endpoint, because often a text will lead to a call and vice versa. This should be seamless.
If you provide text messaging you will also ensure that corporate information and conversations remain separate from personal ones, which is important for many employees. People use their personal mobile numbers because of convenience, not because they want to!
Video should always be an option with voice
Video should not be reserved just for conference calls, but should be an option with any voice call. Your voice services should provide seamless video integration without the need for additional steps. Those with iPhones can attest that Facetime is a great example of video communication in the personal world, as it visually connects you to another person in seconds.
Video is NOT cross-platform yet, but the platform you choose to use should have it directly integrated. Both RingCentral and Microsoft Teams do this well and have a large installed base. The chances of these platforms being used at other businesses is quite high, since you can always "schedule" the call so that the other party can simply "answer" via the needed web app. Skype and FaceTime are both good examples of this in the consumer world, the business world will catch up quickly.