Recently, most of the northeastern United States was hit with a blizzard of catastrophic proportions. In the lead-up to the storm, various city and state governments took significant measures to ensure the safety of the public. The blizzard bore down harshly on New Englandand according to Weather.com, parts of Massachusetts were left with 2 feet of snow. Needless to say, this was the kind of storm that led to major closures of businesses, schools and even embargoes on air travel. To make matters worse, Punxsutawney Phil, Mr. Groundhog to most, saw his shadow Monday morning and predicted six more weeks of winter!
The impact of a major storm can be intense and wide-reaching, and it can hold particularly weighty consequences for small and medium-sized businesses. According to one report, the typical small business would lose nearly $3,000 if it went down unexpectedly for a single day. That's $3,000 right down the drain - it can't be recovered. But what if your small organization never had to experience unplanned downtime due to weather? Fortunately, that's a possibility if you deploy a strong small business phone system. Here's how such a system can ensure that work gets done - even if people are too snowed in to make it to the office:
- Problem: Employees not in the same place. Answer: Conference calls! The first problem that a major storm creates is that it will snow the office in. If you run the kind of enterprise that relies on an outmoded phone system, then travel-prohibiting snow creates a dire situation. But with a UC system at your disposal, that won't be an issue. That's because UC users enjoy access to video conferencing technology, which means that the temporary closure of an office doesn't have to cost you a day of face-to-face time. By leveraging video conferencing, you can ensure that any meeting scheduled in the office is still conducted - albeit virtually.
- Problem: Customer calls will be unattended to. Answer: Personalized call routing! If a snow storm prevents you from going into the office, then it's not only in-store customers you'll be missing out on, but also any number of patrons - and prospective shoppers - who call in over the phone. If your phone system isn't up to snuff, then those calls will just have to wait until the business reopens. But by that time, the callers may very well have decided to take their business elsewhere. With a UC resource, however, your company can harness personalized call routing, a service that enables incoming calls to be routed to specific devices. Therefore, if Jeff from sales is stuck at home, he'll still be able to answer a call from a high-stakes client because that call will go directly to his smartphone.
- Problem: Employees will just slack off all day. Answer: Built-in presence! OK, so you've got your UC strategy and you're all set to run the office even on a snow day - but even if all business factors are accounted for, won't your employees just treat their day at home like a snow day? Nope! With built-in presence and chat, you can ensure that all employees are active on the company system and are engaged with the work they're supposed to be doing. But there's not that much cause for concern anyway. After all, many studies have shown that working from home is actually linked to an increase in worker productivity. Don't believe us? Just ask The Harvard Business Review.