Mobile Phones in Business
No matter what type of business you run, it is almost certain that telephone communication plays a vital role in communication with customers and business partners.
The mobile phone has become a part of everyday life for millions of people across the world. People now consider the ability to communicate by phone across the country (and even the world) as ordinary.
Despite this, many businesses are still missing out on the huge potential benefits of using mobiles phones as a part of their business.
Here is a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using a mobile phone in business, and what you should consider when choosing whether to use a mobile phone…
Why buy a Mobile – The Advantages
The biggest advantage of having a business mobile phone is that it becomes much easier to contact you. Instead of being told “I’m sorry, Mr Smith is away from the office.” A colleague or customer can be put straight through to your mobile phone. Even if they can only speak to you briefly, it is better than turning them away with no contact.
Being available by mobile phone allows employees to contact you. In the event of a critical problem, it can be communicated to you and a decision taken, without you having to be in the office.
If your staff are given mobile phones as part of their work, then they become instantly more accessible. This is particularly so for employees that travel to customers, different departments or offices, and will not always be available from their normal location.
Mobile phones can allow a whole network of employees or offices to communicate with each other no matter where they are. Even if each employee has their own land telephone number, when they are away from that location they normally become unreachable. Effective use of mobile phones can help improve both employer to employee, and employee to employee communications.
Mobile phones are now so common that many people expect you to have one. Instead of hanging up when told you are not there to answer a call, many people will now ask for a mobile number as a matter of course. This is especially so if your job takes you out of the office for considerable amounts of the week, people will expect to have another number to contact you on.
This is much more so for business to business dealings. A customer will not normally expect to be able to communicate personally on a mobile with an employee. However, a manager at a purchasing or supplying business will usually want to be able to keep in contact with a senior employee at all times.
A mobile phone gives you more time to communicate. An important conversation can take place anywhere (e.g. on a train), which puts less restrictions on time.
If you travel for 3 hours of every working day, then normally you would lose those 3 hours of communication, a mobile phone allows you to get those hours back. This means you can get through necessary phone calls quicker, and can provide better response times to customer or associate enquiries.
A mobile phone allows you to confirm and check details quickly. If you went to an important meeting, and forgot a piece of important information (I’m not saying you will, but it does happen!) then usually you would be stuck without it.
However, one call or text message to an employee during the journey could allow you to get that information right up to the last minute without anybody else ever knowing.
A mobile means you can also check on the office while away from it. There is no need to worry about returning to find that a major development is behind schedule. With a mobile phone employees can keep you up to date on sales or projects, and you can manage and delegate at any time.
5. Bookings and Appointments
Using a mobile phone has two advantages in the process of making and keeping bookings and appointments.
Firstly, the ability to allow instant checking of appointments, you can communicate with an employee, or with the person you intend to meet at any time to confirm, clarify, or alter meeting details (e.g. location, time). This means that if a meeting needs to be changed at the last minute, all parties involved can be informed quickly, even if on their way there.
Secondly, with the rapidly increasing technology of mobile phones, many have the ability to act as a fully functional organiser. This is particularly on the phone models aimed at business users. You can set reminders and notes in the same way as a paper organiser.
6. Email messages
There is no need to go without email messages on the move. It is now possible to be informed by phone call or text message of all (or specifically selected) new emails, and some packages also allow you access to all your emails via the WAP and GPRS (mobile internet) connections of newer phones.
Some network packages even allow notification of faxes. This then allows you to forward the message to the nearest fax number and receive it.
A good mobile package means that you can be informed about all important communications while you are away, so even when miles from the office, your ability to communicate with customers employees and associates is not significantly diminished.
7. Re-Direction and Answer Services
A mobile phone can act as a good extension of a land phone. Instead of callers to your land phone then having to try your mobile number, they can be forwarded almost instantly if you are not there.
For extra cost, the mobile phones can be used as part of an existing switchboard. This allows callers to be put straight through to you from the office switchboard or reception without the inconvenience of dialling two numbers.
When out on business matters, you may not have the time to answer all your calls. You can pay for someone else answer for you by using a personalised answer service.
When you request the service or are unable to take a call, it will be answered by a person at the network provider (or answer Service Company) using a greeting that you request. After a call is taken, a text message is sent to you detailing the call. If certain calls are important, they can be forwarded on to you while others leave a message.
8. Dual Lines
One of the main concerns about giving employees mobile phones is that they will use them for personal calls and run up massive bills. However, banning personal use of the phones altogether can create a negative attitude, and shows a lack of trust towards employees.
One solution is to use a dual line. Some network operators allow businesses to run mobile phones with two lines, one for business use and one for personal use. Employees can use the phone for personal calls, but pay for those calls themselves.
This has two advantages. The employee does not feel mistrusted, and can make personal calls when necessary; and the employer can feel safer that they will not be paying excessive bills for non-business calls.
Most new phones are able to work in a number of countries, which means that even when you are abroad on business trips you can still be instantly accessible.
However, the only problem with this is the huge costs. You are charged for incoming calls, as well as outgoing calls, and the charges often run into £2-3 per minute for calling, and around £1 per minute for receiving.
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